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Good Girl, Bad Girl (Alex Novalis #1)

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  341 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In May of 1968, New York City is broke and on the skids, and private eye Alex Novalis is hard up for gigs. So when he's offered a case from wealthy construction mogul Gabriel Kravitz, he can't refuse. Kravitz's eighteen-year-old daughter Lydia has gone missing. Though she's presumed to be with Jerry Pedrosian, the radical middle-aged artist and known womanizer she'd been ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Thomas & Mercer
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Jul 24, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I never felt fully invested in this novel, kind of like the CEO of a blue chip, Fortune 500 Company.

I wanted to like GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL with its hard-boiled voice and soft-boiled attitude. Alex Novalis actually has a bit of heart, a brain, and a penchant for keeping his penis in his pants, even when he discovers a beautiful woman astride his bed wearing panties and little else. I’ve seen detectives attack the broad or the dame or the femme fatale with seriously less motivation, and by this poin
Aug 02, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
This novel features private eye, Alex Novalis, who has set up in private practice after being fired from the DA's ofice for possession of marijuana. It is 1968 and New York is in freefall; deeply in debt, a war zone, with rubbish piling the streets and Central Park a no-go area. Murder and drugs stalk the streets, politics are in the air and riots are breaking out. Indeed, the author paints an authentic picture of those times and of a city in crisis. However, Alex Novalis, who used to work in ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a lot. It is wordy, name-droppy, erudite, funny, and takes itself too seriously. The supporting cast all deserved a swift smack in the head, but Alex Novalis is fresh and adorable, imbued with just enough noir and just enough sass to make him a quite compelling character. The mystery is full supported by the evidence supplied, but with plenty of additional information included to complicate it all and keep it moving. I look forward to reading the next entry in the series.
Tellulah Darling
Jun 10, 2013 Tellulah Darling rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a classic film noir- style mystery set in the art world of 1960's NY. Really engaging story that I devoured in one sitting. Great twists and turns, a fun protagonist and a great world. Highly recommend it.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Jennie Shaw
Jul 20, 2013 Jennie Shaw rated it liked it
This book started off very strong and I found myself amused and impressed with the way Finch captures the film noire vibe he strove for. His phrasing, at times, is absolute perfection as it is riddled with multiple layers of meaning without being at all obvious. Some of my favourites included: "He was a tall man, about fifty years old, lean and handsome in a Henry Fonda-ish kind of way, with a full head of graying hair, and the eyes o someone who was not accustomed to taking no for an answer. He ...more
Aug 17, 2013 Patty rated it liked it
Good Girl, Bad Girl
Christopher Finch

My " in a nutshell" summary...

It's the sixties...we have a snarky private investigator and a lost girl to find!
Or does he?

My thoughts after reading this book...

I sort of have a weird relationship with this book and one that is unusual for me. I loved parts of it but almost fell asleep during other sad.

The idea of this story...its so yummy. A young girl disappears and Alex Novalis is hired to find her. She has taken up with a rather stra
Aug 30, 2013 Laurel-Rain rated it liked it
When P. I. Alex Novalis takes a case of a missing eighteen-year-old girl, Lydia Kravitz, he expects it will be a mundane matter. After all, he suspects she is with her artist boyfriend Jerry Pedrosian, a radical who is a rabble rouser.

The time is 1968 and the setting is Manhattan. "Good Girl, Bad Girl (Alex Novalis)" is narrated in the first person voice of Alex Novalis, who reveals his liberal leanings and his knowledge of the art world. However, he doesn't seem that adept at investigating, mov
Bud Mallar
Nov 04, 2014 Bud Mallar rated it liked it
Oh, I don't know.

It wasn't terrific, but it wasn't horrible either.

As a child of the sixties, I recognized the culture of the time in which the story takes place, but it wasn't supposed to be particularly about the culture. And too many art references for me to 'get'

The whodunit was spread out along several twisting paths, depending upon which character you sided with. The hero was a good guy - although I'm not sure that refusing to have sex with someone gains you points in the literary world.
Aug 27, 2013 Luna rated it really liked it
Good Girl, Bad Girl is a great story, one with a funny, extremely likable main character and a setting that never bores you. I found myself entranced by Alex Novalis’ journey through the poorest parts of New York City to mingling with the city’s wealthiest. I love that it takes us back to the late sixties and gives us that nostalgic feel. In many ways, Good Girl, Bad Girl can be labeled as a tragedy, a comedy, or a mystery. The best novels always mingle different genres in my opinion. I also lov ...more
Simon Evans
Mar 23, 2015 Simon Evans rated it liked it
Shelves: digital
This is a solid crime thriller. Set in 1968 (which is revealed eventually) it is a brisk read that does not overstay it's welcome.

This sort of book has been done to death of course and devotees of the genre will find plenty to both enjoy and gripe about. Finch is no Ed McBain but he does tell a tale well and I found myself racing through. I liked the way the central character, a private eye, goes about his cases and the novel is populated with believable people.

My gripe is the sometimes wonky pe
Oct 12, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, netgalley
1968 New York is the backdrop for this slightly uneven mystery, and the obviously well-researched historical tidbits keep the story going when the plot isn't quite up to the task.

P. I. Alex Novalis is hired by a family who is full of secrets - of course - to find their missing daughter, Lydia. Did she run off with her politically radical boyfriend, or did she meet an unfortunate demise? Everyone appears to be hiding something important, and Novalis is somewhat preoccupied with heroically not bed
Dec 25, 2015 Mary rated it liked it
I started off slowly with this book, quibbling in my head about 1960's details. I thought an apparently straight man in 1968 would not have used the term 'anal' to describe anyone's obsession with detail. Then he checked the messages on his answering machine and I didn't think regular people had those in the 60's-I didn't. But then Alex Novalis was a P.I., so maybe that's what got him an Answerphone, a device I learned was invented in the 30's or 40's for business & commercial use mostly. ...more
Sep 20, 2013 David rated it liked it
This book makes me want to find novel with scope and depth of a James Ellroy novel that is set in 1968. There just isn't enough to the book: characters that need flashback scenes, an incredible setting that needs to be captured, and a need to signpost this story with some of the events of the period. That said, it's a worthwhile read at a scant 190 pages.

The main character is a private detective who works hard not to get laid in the back of Central Park carriage, sleeps with his ex wife and refu
Sep 02, 2013 Suzie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, detective
Detective novel set in the late 60s about a missing girl. Entertaining, and as far as I can tell, the author really captured the tone of the NYC of those days. The narrative is not as tight as a truly great hard boiled detective novel (see After Dark My Sweet). It felt a lot like reading a Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe with a hard boiled ending. The main storyline and the ending did not match up tonally. The motives, while valid, seemed disconnected from the rest of the book. Two of the characters were ...more
Terri Herman-Poncé
Oct 07, 2014 Terri Herman-Poncé rated it it was amazing
Mystery...Noir...and So Much More

I happened on this book by chance, and honestly don't remember where I saw it promoted but once I read the blurb I had to buy it. Man, am I glad I did. Mystery and noir and humor, with sassy and smart characters, Good Girl Bad Girl is a fun, entertaining, well-thought out and well written read. Sucked in from page one, I read this story more quickly than I expected, and then wanted more. I'll be looking for more from this author. Highly recommended if you're into
Emma Kerry
Aug 08, 2013 Emma Kerry rated it really liked it
Set in 1960's New York, this book captures the atmosphere perfectly. Everything about this book feels authentic, from the setting through to the characters. It almost seems to have a film noire style.

Peppered with just enough history to inform, but not too much so that it gets weighed down with it, I truly enojoyed this book.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 01, 2014 Alej rated it really liked it
I have to admit I looked for a shorter novel to read to make my 80th book for 2013 fluilling my challenge!
A bit of a cheat but I enjoyed the book nonetheless. Set in a very different NYC - bankrupt and crime-ridden - from the one that exists in 2013. Seeking a missing girl and uncovering all sorts of low-lifes plays well in the NYC of the 60s. I will look for some other title by Finch to know if the descriptions and settings were not just accidentally very good.
Brenda Jett
Mar 24, 2015 Brenda Jett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Novalis: a complex 20th century protagonist

I enjoyed this introduction to a new protagonist. His tortured humanity and nonchalant heroism are both on display. I enjoyed the mid-century setting and found both of the good/bad girls to be interesting characters. I do wish the book had been a bit longer,thus allowing for even greater character exploration.
Oct 19, 2014 Martha rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
For someone who likes fast paced mystery novels this didn't work out for me. I'm not sure where it went wrong; it could be the testosterone or the 60s setting but I thought I'd enjoy it and get through it fast cause it's less than 200 pages. I didn't. It got a bit interesting in the end and the cover's pretty cool.
Oct 30, 2014 Christopher rated it liked it
Although the story is essentially unoriginal hardboiled detective genre, the purposeful reflection on late 1960s hipster NYC is really interesting & the hook for me. In particular I love the setting of a scene in the Henry Hudson Hotel, where I lived for 9 months in the 90s. If its description is accurate, it hadn't changed much in 30 years.
Sep 14, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
set in the 1960's with many references to that era and . a writing style of . detective stories at that time. I enjoyed the story and the many twists. and I "got" the style which added to t he charm. was it campy at times?? yes. but Just enough to make the novel unique. clearly others that wrote reviews did not enjoy the pop culture references and old school narrative As much. very easy read.
Trinia Guttuso
Jan 16, 2015 Trinia Guttuso rated it liked it
I enjoyed the storytelling. It was clear and easy to follow, keeping track of all characters. Yet it was very predictable. A bit anti climatic. This book was recommended because of its twists. Only one interesting "twist" or really Surprise that I could see. A nice quick read for the detective lover.
Kelly Fisher
Feb 02, 2014 Kelly Fisher rated it liked it
Sometimes a good detective novel hits the spot. I enjoyed the descriptions of NYC in the 60s. The book held my attention, but I expected more character development I think. A decent book; I liked it.
Sep 11, 2013 Glen rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, firstreads
I won this novel in a goodreads Firstreads drawing.

A rather confused novel about a pot smoking PI who stumbles into a mystery involving art and violence when he's hired to find a missing daughter of a millionaire.

Not really hard boiled, nor hip.
Dec 02, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it wasn't bad. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept you guessing until the very end. It's also a very quick read.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
May 13, 2014 Leann rated it really liked it
I don't read many noir style detective novels but the preview drove this one home for me. Alex is a hard-boiled detective who finds himself in the middle of a missing persons case. Of course, plans never go smoothly and twists and turns abound.
Nicole Jenkins
Sep 25, 2013 Nicole Jenkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This was a great book. I loved how detailed the characters were and how the author progressed the story line. This one will go on my shelf as a keeper. I won this copy for free from Good Reads First Reads Give-a-ways!
Alecia Nash fagan
Aug 22, 2013 Alecia Nash fagan rated it did not like it
They were selling this book on my kindle for $3 and I can see why. If I hadn't been stuck in training all day, I probably would have never finished. BORING!!!
Oct 09, 2013 Kendra rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, mystery
Just reviewed and posted on the blog
Cassandra Crouch
A dreary book that plays like a black & white movie in my head. Crammed full of bad similes and annoying clichés.
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Christopher Finch was born in Guernsey in the British Channel Islands, and now lives in Los Angeles. He is an artist and a photographer who has had one person shows in New York and California, and he is the author of almost thirty non-fiction books including the best sellers Rainbow: the Stormy Life of Judy Garland, The Art of Walt Disney, Jim Henson: the Works, and Norman Rockwell's America. ...more
More about Christopher Finch...

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