Title: Mr. Toppit
Author: Charles Elton
Pages: 387 (I have an ARC, so page numbers in finished copies may differ)
Source: Publisher for review
Summary (From back of book):
When Arthur Hayman, an unsuccessful screenwriter turned children's book author, is accidentally hit by a cement truck in London, his dying moments are spent with a passing American tourist, Laurie Clow, who is fated to bring posthumous fame to his obscure series, The Hayseed Chronicles, and the enigmatic and sinister Mr. Toppit who is at the center of the books. While Arthur doesn't live to reap the benefits of his books' success, his legacy falls to his widow, Martha, and their children -- the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalized as the fictional Luke Hayseed, hero of his father's books. But others want their share of the Hayseed phenomenon, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all their lives as Martha, Rachel, and Luke begin to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.
My Two Cents:
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I thought Elton's writing had a great flow to it and made this book really easy to read. I also thought he created some really solid, vivid characters, especially Laurie and Rachel. Also, he created a really interesting concept with The Hayseed Chronicles. It was so intriguing that I actually found myself often wishing that the series really existed so I could read it.
My big hang-up with this book, though, is that it just didn't seem to feel very cohesive. Sure, all the scenes orbited around Luke and the fame of his father's books, along with the downfall of his family, but it just seemed as if there were episodes thrown in for shock factor alone. The section where Luke is visiting Laurie in Los Angeles is full of these non sequiturs, and the whole portion just kind of hangs together limply. I think maybe it's because we really don't get to know Luke outside of the fact that he really dislikes all the attention paid to him because he is the iconic main character of his father's books. I couldn't tell if things that he did and said while at Laurie's house really were in or out of character for him, so they all just kind of seemed to come out of nowhere.
Generally, though, I did enjoy this book.