The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Max Wirestone combines geek culture, Millennial struggles, and the detective genre in The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss. It’s a fun read, with plenty of touch points for a particular generation or type of fan.
Dahlia is unemployed and living in friend Charice’s apartment. Charice tends to throw outrageous theme parties, at one of which Dahlia is hired to find the Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing, a digital reward in an MMORPG. Jonah snagged it from his gaming guild after a mission, but his former roommate then took it from him. Dahlia’s never been a detective before, but she can use the $2000 he’s offering, so she takes the gig. (She’s been interviewing for months without getting a job.)
Then Jonah is murdered, and retained by his family’s lawyer, Dahlia tries to figure out what’s going on. The resulting events include cosplay, a gaming convention, hipsters, grad students, online gaming, and weird trends.
The tone of the book is modern, a tad snarky and full of Dahlia’s monologues as she narrates events and her feelings. She describes herself as boring, but with a rebellious streak, and looking like the “quiet girl at the library”. As with most people these days, comparisons are made with pop culture references. She seemed like someone I would enjoy hanging out with, or like half of my Twitter list. I enjoyed the story, and I’d read more with Dahlia and her friends. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)