Synopses & Reviews
Jack Hopkins, an ill-fated real-estate agent with an unhappy past, doesn't like what he does for a living. Luckily, though, he has two new job offers: Darlene Hunt wants to pay him ten million dollars to kill her husband, and her husband wants to hire him to kill Darlene Hunt. Before he can figure out who to work for, though, or how a private island off the coast of Mexico fits into it all, the dead bodies have already started piling up.
The second novel from Millard Kaufman — nonagenarian author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and World War II Marine — Misadventure is a serpentine murder mystery set against a backdrop of LA real-estate schemes, ruby-wearing femmes fatale, and more love triangles than any one man should attempt to get into. Written with a style and flair that's reminiscent of Chinatown by way of the Coen Brothers, it's an unforgettable addition to the genre — a noir par excellence, with wit to match.
"[A] terrific California hard-boiled tale....Savvy readers will recognize and relish the Double Indemnity-like terrain of Kaufman's tale....Misadventure, which brims over with black humor and terse dialogue, gives new meaning to the Bette Davis line, 'Old age ain't for sissies.' Kaufman, who as a Marine fought at Guadalcanal and then later tackled novel writing in his twilight years, was no sissy." Maureen Corrigan, NPR
"Moving from palatial Malibu to sleazy inner-city Los Angeles and beyond, Kaufman...shows a penchant for surprising twists. The book’s outrageous situations and fast-talking dialogue keep the intrigue running high. Kaufman died last year at the age of 92, and Misadventure, following the 2007 Bowl of Cherries, is his second and final novel. Full of solid prose and comically twisted moments, it makes us wish he'd penned a few more." TimeOut New York
"Though it's only Millard Kaufman's second novel, Misadventure came after a lifetime of writing about the light and dark sides of humanity, and in it the dark side plainly has the upper hand. Fast, nasty and funny as hell, it's a brand new classic of the noir genre, and I wish the author had lived on to write ten more just like it." Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest
"From page one, Misadventure sparkles with the late writer's wit and wisdom. His prose is precise, efficient, and often surprising....A rollicking comic-noir page-turner that is equal parts Elmore Leonard and Dashiell Hammett, with bits of Glengarry Glen Ross and Lolita thrown in for good measure." Kevin Hobson, The Rumpus
contains all the quick-fire, lingo-saturated dialogue of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross with the twisting plot arcs of a Coen Brothers noir. Millard Kaufman, one of the creators of the Mr. Magoo cartoon character, weaves a story full of distinctive oddities, mystery worthy of Hitchcock, humor, and overdrawn characters (in the best way possible). Every one of the short chapters turns real estate salesman Jack Hopkins on his heel. Every player is out to get him. He can never quite figure out all the angles, but he wants to play them all. Fleet and Fleet, his current employer, run by Junior and Senior Fleet, ask Hopkins to be a temporary assistant to rival real estate tycoon Tod Hunt, so that they can complete a merger with his much larger firm. Only Hunt wants Hopkins to kill his wife, Darlene, and help him seduce a 14-year-old Mexican girl. Then things get complicated (no, it wasn't complicated yet)." Dustin Luke Nelson, Bookslut
(read the entire Bookslut review
The second novel from the critically acclaimed author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and World War II marine, Misadventure is a serpentine murder mystery written with a style and flair that's reminiscent of the best noir.
About the Author
Born in 1917, Millard Kaufman plunged into World War II on Guadalcanal as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, then made D-Day landings on Guam and Okinawa. He co-created the beloved Mr. Magoo and was twice nominated for screenwriting Oscars — in 1954 for Take the High Ground! and in 1956 for the legendary Bad Day at Black Rock. This is his final novel.