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  • Fresh and fun take on the LA-crime noir genre!

    Through the eyes of a hair stylist with psychic abilities, we are led into the world of crime, high society, higher ed, sleazy private investigators, hair salons, and experience LA in a new light. The lead character Danica Luman is relatable, compelling, and enjoyably sarcastic and makes for a great companion as the plot unfolds and tension builds. Mottaz blends pop culture satire, loads of humor, a nice amount of tension, quirky, lived-in characters, and an original twisty spin on the unlikely detective who is compelled to jump in over her head and solve a case. impressive debut. Highly recommended.

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  • A great read for humor/murder/barber lovers alike!

    Judging this book by its title, which yes, I’ve heard is not something you shouldn’t do, or something along those lines, I assumed I was in for an irreverent and comically infused murder mystery. What I got was just that …and so much more! I am not one for spoilers so you will find none here, but I do want to give you a sense of the story. The protagonist, a strong, young woman named Danica, a hairdresser by trade, who’s own buzz cut hair style would not give confidence to anyone sitting in her salon chair as to her ability to cut someone else’s locks, is not only relatable, but down-right lovable. Right off her description I knew there was much more to the character than her profession. (And can’t we correlate the same anti-judgement we are supposed to apply to the question about the books title or cover to a human character, real or fictionalized, I ask you?) And, of course, my intuition was confirmed when we learn of Danica’s ability to see glimpses into people’s minds just by touching their heads. The fact that she uses her “power” as a means to simply be able to see each client’s true idea of what they want their hair to look like just adds to the humorous intrigue. Until, that is, she accidentally stumbles upon a vision of a murder! Spoiler! Sorry! Although “murder” is in the title. Oh, and then this vision leads her to realize that her true calling might be becoming a private detective! Maybe! Dang it! That’s it! No more spoilers! The plot of the story has some really nice twists and turns, enough to keep the reader locked in. But the rhythm and cadence of the writing is particularly sharp and mesmerizing. Mr. Mottaz has a knack for turns of phrases. He clearly has a background in comedy, but in this book, his grasp of language and storytelling come though seamlessly and without any glaring effort. This creates a brilliant mood of intrigue and irreverence, of compelling comedic composition, of gifted grammatical guffawing, or any other phrase of alliterated accolades (sorry) you can think of. He also has a love and a solid grasp on the geography of the city of LA in a way that puts the reader inside the story, especially the reader who has ever spent time there. You can feel that he has a genuine love for the quirkiness of the city, and the characters in the story reflect that love as well. And the fact that Danica is not from Los Angeles but is a transplant just like most of the people who live there was not lost on me. I also appreciated how lean this book is. There is no fat on it. At times, as an avid reader of long books, I almost wanted more backstory. But this isn’t a knock on the book. It’s actually a complement, as I know I’m often in the minority on this desire. What I realized as I read was that I didn’t need the fat. I was given everything that I needed in a tight and efficient word count, and I see that as purposeful. After all, this is a mystery and it needs nothing but the facts, ma’am. Or sir. Or they/them. My point on this is that I was so involved in the characters that it left me wanting more, yes, but that’s a good thing. I just now hope that we will get a few other “Danica” books and more will be revealed in time. Not everything needs to be The Stand, self! Alas, I’ve said too much! TMHOTMOBA is a page turner. Almost literally. The book itself at times seems to turn the page for you just by the sheer fact that you will be so engrossed in the story that you may not have remembered that you, in fact, were the one to turn the pages. I highly recommend this book for your summer, winter, spring or fall reading lists. And give it as a gift! Because it certainly feels like one.

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  • A thrilling mystery as sharp as they come.

    Truly an awesome read, with twists and twirls that will keep me coming back to every future installment of the Psychic Barber series. Come for the mystery, but stay for the winning character at its heart: Danica Luman. Mottaz has created a gem of a detective - seen here on her first case, having to "fake it to make it." Though a grounded mystery book, Danica has a very specific (sometimes hilarious... sometimes tragic) gift: She can channel thoughts with just a touch. A great power when figuring out haircut dreams -- but a chaotic one when uncovering a murder. Though the book has a body count, Mottaz' style has a playful charm and is refreshingly unique - don't dive into this unless you're the kind of reader (like me) that wants their authors to occasionally use words like "foomff" and make references to Madonna in 'Dick Tracy.' Set in 2008 Van Nuys, it's rich with authentic locals and locales that create a true Los Angeles crime story: private investigators, USC kid reporters, wannabe actresses. Vivid flashbacks reveal much about Danica's past, but the story also expertly weaves her personal life into the intrigue. Her career and relationships have to take a back seat as the mystery consumes her life - but that's exciting wish fulfillment to readers like us who love a great investigation, all surrounding a gumshoe that sometimes has to rely on toy glasses as a disguise and hiding onions in glove compartments to survive and save the day. It's weird and wonderful. Relatable and cool. Do it!

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  • Terrific Mystery Novel

    I love a good mystery novel. In my opinion, a good mystery must have two things to make it great. The first is a compelling hero that we enjoy following and learning about. The second is an intriguing mystery that is difficult for the reader to solve, but not impossible if they are paying attention. This book accomplishes both of those criteria in a tremendous way. Our hero, Danica, is thrust into this story because of her “unusual” power. She has no training as a detective, but her desire to help fuels her journey throughout the book. The author does a wonderful job painting the picture of Los Angeles as well as letting us “get to know” Danica as she tries to unravel what is going on. The clues are given to us in small bites. Makes the reader curious, but never frustrated. Once the solution is given, it seems so obvious and made me want to read the book again. The real gem of the story is Danica. She is a well-rounded character that I enjoyed learning about as the mystery unfolds. Can’t wait for the next book in the series

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  • Very fun read

    This was a fun book to read. I enjoyed staying up late reading about the psychic barber and her first case. I'm looking forward to more of these funny mysteries.

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