I’ve read a couple duds this month (one of them I will review soon, and one I couldn’t even force myself to finish). Fearful of an impending reading slump, I picked up The Frame-Up, wanting something light and quick. I often find that a good way to disrupt a reading slump is to grab a light, silly book. The Frame-Up was just the book for the job.
MG Martin is a comic book writer, and hobbyist costume designer, living in L.A. with her dog, Trogdor. She rocks brightly colored hair, red wire-rimmed glasses, a super sarcastic attitude, and is lucky enough to work for the company that publishes her all-time favorite comic, “The Hooded Falcon”. At the start of this book, MG meets a handsome detective investigating a crime fighting vigilante disguising themself as the Falcon. MG’s comic expertise soon becomes indispensable to the case.
This book is just about as light-hearted as a mystery can get, and full of nerdtastic references. I found the many references to Harry Potter (lots of funny lines about Muggles), and Lord of the Rings references especially on point; lines such as:
“This man must have come from Mordor, and I wish he’d just go back to Mount Doom and the fires that birthed him”.
I’m not sure how funny that is out of content, but it was pretty humorous mid-read. At the very least, I’m sure we can all agree it’s a solid insult. For the most part these nerdy references are widely accessible, though there may be a few that will go over some readers’ heads. That’s okay. It won’t detract from the plot.
Because this is a light book, I didn’t read it very critically. Close inspection would certainly reveal some weaknesses which would be bothersome in a more serious mystery. For example, at one point the detective brings MG along to search the estate of the original writer of “The Hooded Falcon” series, and he makes it clear that he doesn’t want her spotted by the current owner of the estate. Although they conduct the search while the current owner is away, the estate is staffed. Wouldn’t the staff take notice of a person in street clothes, with super brightly dyed hair, accompanying the search? If the detective were truly concerned about her being recognized, wouldn’t he at least have her wear a hat to cover her hair, thereby lessening the chances of her drawing attention to herself? In any case, this is not the type of book that invites a lot of scrutiny. It’s meant to entertain, and it’s easy to overlook tiny details that would make a more serious book unrealistic.
The characters are very likeable. I especially enjoyed the main character, MG. The detective is equally likeable. The typical romance that blossoms between them wasn’t overdone. Though the amateur sleuth + lead detective romance is predictable, it fit in nicely with this story. Meghan Scott Molin did a great job of writing enough humor into the story to avoid cheesiness.
Technically this book could be read as a stand-alone story, but there is an overarching storyline set to continue into the next book. The sequel, The Queen Con, is due out in early July of this year. I will definitely add the sequel to my summer reading list.
The Frame-Up was by no means one of the best books I’ve read this year, but it was fun. It found me at the exact time I needed it, and hopefully broke the reading slump that appeared to be brewing at the start of the month.
∗∗ Do you ever fall into reading slumps? What helps you out of a slump? ∗∗