Jack Donegal is an engineer, toy inventor and the head of his own toy company but not a detective until he stumbles into a strange situation. While on a business trip, he stops to purchase a 1914 teddy bear at an estate auction. While still on the auction grounds, armed thugs, who mistake him for a Dalton Starks, seem to think he’s in possession of something they want. Although police rescue him from his first encounter with criminals, Jack and Andy Westin, his marketing manager, roommate and friend, begin to think there’s something special about this teddy bear to make it interesting to criminals. They engage in a cat and mouse hunt with various members of the criminal world, but who are the cats and who are the mice? With the help of their combined wits and various technical gadgetry including toy parts and prototypes, Jack and Andy help bring several criminals to justice. With two personalities like those of Jack and Andy, there is bound to be some silliness along the way in this comedy mystery.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Susan Joy Clark’s private investigator mystery novel, Action Men with Silly Putty: A Jack Donegal Mystery, Book 1, will delight readers who enjoy a bit of humor mixed in with their sleuthing and pleasantly surprise those readers such as myself who are usually unaware of — or worse — unappreciative of comedic touches in their reading material. I had a grand time following Andy, and his iconic boss, Jack, as they gallivanted around the Bay Area and Southern California and played at being detectives. Andy is the consummate narrator who, while being completely authentic and original in his own right, agreeably reminded me at times of Nero Wolfe’s able and wisecracking sidekick, Archie Goodwin. Clark’s story is breezy, fun and fast-paced, and her plot is inspired. Jack and Andy are two of the most intriguing private eyes I’ve come across in quite some time, and I can’t wait until their creator conjures up another irresistible conundrum for them to play with. Action Men with Silly Putty: A Jack Donegal Mystery, Book 1, is most highly recommended.
Reviewed by Melissa Tanaka for Readers’ Favorite
The first person point of view makes it very easy for readers to become engaged in the story, quickly slipping into the mind of Andy as he helps his boss and best friend untangle the web of mysteries that surrounds the bear and the criminals that are pursuing it. Although Andy is much more relatable a character, Jack is an enigma to witness, whether he is pulling random tidbits of information from the depths of his brain or quickly splicing together various contraptions in order to save the day. The witty banter between the two men and their lack of experience in sleuthing endears them to the reader, and by the end of the first chapter, you can’t help but root for them. They James Bond their way out of several situations, resulting in hilarity and various degrees of success.
Action Men with Silly Putty is a dream come true for mystery fans, mixing comedy and suspense along with classic gadgets such as hidden cameras, recording devices, vibration sensors and everything else a spy could possibly need. I absolutely loved this book!
Andy Westin, marketing manager for Out of the Box Toys, is impressed by the beautiful, exotic woman who sits beside him on the plane, so impressed that he finds himself agreeing to act as her magician’s assistant in an upcoming show. His buddy, Jack Donegal, toy inventor and sometimes sleuth, is convinced the Great Zarelda is involved in some illegal side activities and persuades Andy to take up the challenge as a part-time magician’s assistant while doing an amateur undercover criminal investigation of Zarelda. With Jack supplying the gadgetry and support and Andy doing most of the legwork, the two get into some wacky adventures and danger while working to solve a crime.
Joseph C. Loibissio gives it five stars on Amazon.
He says, “Great sequel to Action Men with Silly Putty. It was fun to jump back into the familiar characters and some settings from the first book. Lots of intense action, suspense and, as always, laugh out loud moments.”