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The Enigmatologist

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  69 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Twenty-something, John Abernathy is disillusioned. His job as a private investigator is unfulfilling, and he can’t find work in his chosen field, Enigmatology, the study and design of puzzles. He is about to quit when the National Enquirer calls. A woman in Las Vegas, New Mexico sent them a photo of someone who’s supposed to have died 35 years ago—Elvis Aaron Presley. And ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published April 30th 2016 by Devil's Tower/Ravenswood Publishing
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Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an electronic ARC of this book.

I initially thought I'd give this book a 5-star rating, but I eventually decided against it. Let me explain why. This is one of the coolest contemporary novels I've read this year, in that it's funny, quirky, and has several fantastic characters that have made me read and read, and I would've probably finished the book in one to two days, but... When I was about 70% into the novel, everything started getting cheesier and ch
How to give this review without recap or spoilers? For clues, see publisher's blurb. The whole tale is an insanely funny, rolicking groaner full of puns, snarks, memorabilia, and that life-sized velvet painting of Elvis naked! Set primarily in Las Vegas, New Mexico, it is right near Roswell and the Area 51 crowd. If the name and place names don't have you snorting your coffee, the incidents will. There really is a fine plot, and it is well written with believable, interesting characters, and all ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Brilliant--Elvi, ETs and Tabloid Trash. Wish I'd written this.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Thanks to Librarything for a free ecopy of The Enigmatologist.
It all starts with John Abernathy, an enigmatologist turned private eye, on assignment in Las Vegas, New Mexico to verify an Elvis sighting. The Enigmatologist is a fun, light read with action, adventure, mystery, aliens, Elvis sightings, romance, and lots of humour. What a wild ride!
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Enigmatologist: Ben Adams

Many people were enamored with the sound and songs of Elvis Aaron Presley from the first time he took center stage. His performances were unique, his sound was different and he became more than just an icon to the public but a symbol of change in the music business. Throughout his career many found him mysterious, some thought that he might have unusual powers and others just wanted to be like him or him. Imagine hundreds of people lining up to see if they could try
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Gentle humor and some nice ideas early on. Conspiracies, Elvis sightings and American folk lore. By about half way the revelations started to be less intriguing and I could see where the plot was heading. Towards the end I couldn't really root for the hero I cant say why without spoilers. The book eventually petered out with no real climax.

How should I rate a book if I liked the first half but the second half left me disappointed? Should the good moments count for something or should the ultimat
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tired of the same old private investigative assignments which always ultimately bring unhappiness and divorce for the client, John Abernathy is relieved when the National Enquirer calls, offering a hefty sum if he can prove that a recent photograph provided to them is of the real Elvis Presley. Not dissuaded by the fact that the previous investigator was murdered, John sets off to Las Vegas and looks into the matter, knowing that he can design a few crossword puzzles in his spare time during the ...more
Jessica Bronder
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
John Abernathy graduated with a degree in enigmatology, specifically the creation and design of crossword puzzles. Unfortunately there really are no practical jobs in his field so he has taken a job as a private investigator and is very unhappy. But when he approached to go to Las Vegas and authenticate a picture of Elvis, things start getting pretty wild.

Elvis is really an Elvis impersonator by the name of Al Leadbelly. John’s investigation leads him to Al’s destroyed house along with the firs
Mike Maguire
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Enigmatologist is the funniest book I’ve read in a long time, thanks to a cavalcade of characters who perfectly embody the mythical American southwest of Elvis, trailer parks, flying saucers, and the requisite Air Force goons.

What really sold me on this book is that the story is more than just a comedic vehicle – it works really nicely as mystery adventure. The plot itself, while as outlandish as you'd expect, is itself a work of enigmatology, with all its crazy moving pieces coming together
Underground Book Reviews
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This humorous mix-up of Elvis and aliens conspiracy theories has great characters who, despite coming straight from central casting, are perfect in their roles. If you’re looking for realism or a straight-man somewhere in here, you won’t find it. Also, readers who are offended by off-colored or risqué humor might want to pass–graphic (and funny) descriptions of John’s detective work chasing cheating husbands and some Elvis artwork might be more than they can handle. But, if bawdy humor and over- ...more
Olivia Holah
Aug 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book. I really did. I couldn't wait to read it. I read the goodreads reviews saying it was hilarious. It was not funny. Basically, for me it was poorly written and hard to follow. Sometimes the author didn't specify enough in the dialogue to keep me wondering who said what. Overall, this book let me down.
Carol Waller
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: uncategorizable
I tried and tried and tried. But I just could not finish it. I gave up 70% of the way in.
Clabe Polk
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
An action novel with "out of this world" characters.

Many fans may say that Elvis was “out of this world”; some would even say that his impersonators are “out of this world.” Would either, neither or both be correct? John Abernathy, the enigmatologist knows.

John didn’t always know. He was just a twenty-three year old graduate puzzle designer biding his time doing boring work as a junior private investigator for his grandfather’s friend. Sick of taking pictures of cheating husbands and wives, he w
Erin Eldridge
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a long time since I read a book that made me break out in a grin and laugh out loud. The Enigmatologist was sheer delight from start to finish. I loved the main character, John's, classic anti-heroism, the subtle satire of all the gumshoe detective tropes, and the great tongue-in-cheek lines like, "Everyone has a favourite armpit". It's a very funny, very clever book that works brilliantly on several levels, not the least of which is a darned good mystery.
John Abernathy just wants to write
Keith Edward
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Adams has crafted a novel that transcends many genres, blending and pushing the boundaries of them. The Enigmatologist is certainly humorous, but also draws on Sci-Fi, crime, and drama genres for influences. I was continuously guessing at the next plot twist throughout. The main character is not your picturesque hero and he is far more relatable for it. Adams does a bang-up job at creating a diverse and enjoyable cast of characters. If you're looking for a good laugh and an intriguing tale that ...more
Daniel Linsteadt
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by a friend, so I dove in without reading the summary. Turns out that was a good thing. I was humming along with this good old fashion detective story anticipating an amazing puzzle to be solved. For me, there’s nothing better than having clues to work through while the plot builds. Instead, the story shifted in an unexpected direction, but that’s cool. The story will be lighter than I first thought. To my surprise, the story then took a ninety degree turn and bec ...more
Philip McClimon
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's No Mystery

The cover is the first clue that you are in for a quirky ride. This is a strange little tale with cosmic proportions. A strange trip in a recreational vehicle that I was glad I took. Viva LA Enigmatologist!
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Blegh!!! Bad ideas, stilted & boring writing, and not captivating at all.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The very beginning of The Enigmatologist has much potential, with oddball characters and a quirky and satirical writing style. John Abernathy is a wannabe puzzle designer who is trapped in a monotonous job as a junior private investigator working for a family friend. The initial plot -- that John's firm was hired by The National Inquirer to investigate the authenticity of a photo purporting to be Elvis and to track down the killer of a young (even younger than John) intern who was originally giv ...more
Ian Strang
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
John Abernathy is an amateur enigmatologist, someone who studies and designs word puzzles, and a part time private eye who is hired by the National Enquirer to look for a woman who claims to have photographic evidence that Elvis is alive, even though the rest of the world believes that he died thirty-five years earlier. The job takes him to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he encounters a cast of characters straight out of a David lynch movie. An Elvis impersonator, aliens, a United States Air Force ...more
Clay Johnson
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is a delightful weirdness to this. It's a bit like one of those bands that make concept albums utilizing all of the over the top synthness and sci-fi elements of the worst 80s music and manage to squeeze it all into a package that-- if it's your cup of tea-- is fist pumping fun (if it's not your cup of tea, of course, it'll be the cheesiest thing ever). This book takes a turn about three quarters of the way through that some might find a bit much, but it was just my cup of tea.

Adams manage
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am pleasantly surprised!! This book had me hooked from the beginning. The thing I loved most about this book was the fact I was confused until nearly three quarters of the way through it. I really enjoyed not being sure of what was going on until the author wanted you to know. It is very rare I get to experience something written like this and I can spend most of the book mentally exploring the possibilities. Is there a second book to this story? I want to know how everything goes down with th ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If the star award was simply for originality there would be no need to write anymore because the storyline was simply brilliant. I have to admit to being a closet Elvis fan so a lot of the Elvis references went down particularly well in the context of the story. Add in conspiracies and Aliens and you get a novel that could easily be turned into a laugh a minute film.
rated it really liked it
May 07, 2018
Kitty Austin
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2016
Heather L. Stoner
rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2018
rated it it was ok
Aug 26, 2016
Joanne Willoughby
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2016
Barry K. Lee
rated it it was amazing
Oct 17, 2016
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Ben Adams is a San Francisco Bay Area writer. His work has appeared in Everyday Weirdness. His one man show Rockabilly Sasquatch recently ended its historic forty-two year run at the McKinley Theater on Broadway in Prineville, Oregon, a feat made even more remarkable by that fact that Adams was born sixteen years after it opened. His show spawned the hit movie Rockabilly Sasquatch Goes to Mars, an ...more