Meet Dahlia Moss, who is not a detective, okay? She just happens to be around crimes and murders and arrests a lot. Dahlia is the protagonist of a fresh, funny, utterly geeky mystery series by Max Wirestone.
In the first book, The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, Dahlia’s existence is distinctly at an ebb. She has too many failed job interviews, not enough friends, and is smarting from a recent breakup. Enter Jonah Long, a rich guy who approaches Dahlia at a party hosted by her zany roommate Charice. For some reason that Dahlia can’t figure out he wants to hire Dahlia (and PAY her! In advance!) to recover a stolen object known as The Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing. Dahlia is so desperate for the cash that she accepts the commission, even though, as usual, she is sure she has no idea what she is doing.
Eventually it comes out that Jonah is a devoted gamer who is obsessed with with an online fantasy world video game, you know, the kind with wizards and and trolls and quests and treasure, called Zoth, and the Spear is an artifact from the game. Video game geekery abounds here, everyone! The slang and the acronyms and the cosplay and everything! And the story stays accessible and entertaining even if you are not a gamer (and I am not myself a gamer. How would I find the time to read?). But I am excited by quirky characters and odd obsessions, and thus really enjoyed the plot. Then the crime moves from virtual reality into actual reality and somehow that works really well.
I particularly enjoyed Dahlia’s voice, because the story is told in first person and I think Dahlia is hilarious. She is smart and irreverent and there were many laugh-out-loud moments in all three books for me. Dahlia is a new amateur sleuth chum for clumsy, geeky women everywhere. And that includes me!
There are now three books in the series: