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The Chairman's Toys

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Vancouver, British Columbia - land of psychotically expensive real estate, high-grade cannabis, and Jake Constable. A man adrift.

After Jake quits the drug business, his realtor/ex-wife, Nina, gets him a job as a house sitter for her wealthy clients. Jake celebrates by throwing a party in the mansion he was hired to look after. Unfortunately, the guest list gets out of hand
Paperback, 344 pages
Published July 3rd 2018 by Poisoned Pen Press
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The review for this book will not be appearing in Mystery Scene after all so here's what I had to say about it in full:

Jake Constable is a former drug dealer, a seeming ne'er do well with a sarcastic sense of humor trying to go straight. Working for his ex-wife Nina as a housesitter in Vancouver for her wealthy real estate clients seems like a cushy gig. He stays in fancy homes and life doesn't seem to be all that stressful.

When his friend Richard talks him into throwing a forbidden party at his
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book does have the slap stick humor of black comedy. Which, if you have not read a black humor book, than you will either love or hate it. Black humor is more crude and in your face. In this case, it works well for this storyline. The characters were eccentric which helped to keep the story interesting.

For example, the story starts out with Jake hosting a party at a house he is house sitting at. Things go wrong with a dead body in the bathroom and the house owner a big name in China with M
Eliott Behar
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book, written in an insightful, sharp, and very distinctive new voice. Reed has a style that's always one or two steps ahead and that invites you to catch up with him, packing a ton of observation (and quick wit) into every sentence. You'll likely find yourself, as I did, going back over sentences to unpack them again. Quite a debut...I'm excited to see what's next. ...more Mystery & Thriller
Jake Constable is a 40-something, older but wiser former millionaire cannabis grower gone straight. Thanks to his former wife, a successful Vancouver realtor with links to offshore billionaires who find the booming housing industry on the British Columbia peninsula to be a prime money-laundering repository, he now house sits empty mansions and condos --- checking locks and alarm systems, fluffing pillows, sorting mail. It’s profitable but boring.

It’s so boring, in fact, that he decides to throw
Ruthie Jones
The Chairman’s Toys by Graham Reed is absolutely hilarious. It takes special skill to keep snappy prose from becoming gimmicky, and this author definitely has that special skill. Jake is certainly not the stereotypical good guy who reveals his redeeming qualities by the end of the book. Jake races across the pages with the “I will do whatever it takes to save my own skin” attitude from the very first line to that last line that had me shaking my head and laughing out loud.

All the characters are
Jun 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Graham Reed's debut novel, The Chairman's Toys, was the winner of the notable Freddie Award for

Writing Excellence from Mystery Writers of America at Florida's Sleuthfest. Set in Vancouver, this is the type of caper that will appeal to fans of Tim Dorsey. The antihero, Jake Constable, tells the story of what can go wrong when a drug dealer tries to reform.

After his grandfather died, Jake grew marijuana on his farm, and partnered with a distributor he calls "the Norwegian". Although he had to buy
Steven Karalash
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Bronder
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jake Constable used to grow and sell cannabis with a partner called the Norwegian in Vancouver. But he has decided to go legal and currently works housesitting for the rich clients of his ex-wife. But at the most recent house he decides to have a party that gets way out of hand. The client comes home early to discover the mess and a dead body in the bathroom.

But this is just the start of Jake’s troubles. His friends find themselves kidnapped, the Chinese government wants him, and the Norwegian i
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this quirky mystery as it wandered through the dark side of Vancouver, BC. Jake is definitely a deeply flawed hero but one I liked. He is the epitome of so many today, unsure how to live a productive life. Having given up growing marijuana, he checks on the houses of wealthy but absent owners. He can't even get that right. He is loyal to his friends, however, even if he keeps getting them into trouble. It was a bit humorous how Jake bumbled his way through to solving a murder.

I appreci
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it

Jake Constable has given up his drug dealing ways and is trying to keep on the straight and narrow. Well, perhaps somewhat curvy and wide. He's been house sitting for the wealthy in Vancouver and gets talked into throwing a party at one of the fantastic mansions. The party gets out of hand, drugs are freely flowing, and the homeowner returns unexpectedly. Oh, and there's a dead body in the bathroom. Although the homeowner pretty much lets him off the hook, Jake
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Growing up in small town USA, I enjoy a unique place to explore -- even if it's only inside a book! This book takes you on a journey full of excitement and oddities. Jake is one of those characters you can't help but like. Sure, he's made mistakes but he's trying to go on the straight and narrow. His ex-wife sets him up with a boring, no nonsense job of house-sitting. Old habits die hard and a party to spice things up is a must-have. Much to his chagrin, the small get-together turns into an all- ...more
Mark Hudson
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable read. It puts an eclectic and quirky band of characters together in a roller-coastery trip through the underside of Vancouver, set off by an ill-advised and unauthorized house party in the mansion of a Chinese underwear magnate. Jake Constable is a super-likeable hero, who spends the book stumbling from corpse discovery to break-in to maritime kidnapping with a scotch- and tequila-mediated calm. The book welds a unique and funny kind of cynical, almost fatalist wit to scenes of ...more
Benjamin Berger
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yes, this book is funny and compelling. And yes, the tale is fast paced and lively, steering the reader far clear of the cliché and pottedness that afflicts so much of the genre. What impressed me most was the keen intelligence and command of the fun of language that shone through this debut novel. You’ll smile at author’s masterful turns of phrase while you delight in the wonderfully, deeply flawed cast of characters that Reed introduces us to. A dark comedy for the thinking person and an impre ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This would make a good movie. Jake's just messed up again, but this time it's on a big scale. His ex-wife is mad at him (nothing new) because he threw a party in a house he was watching for one of her clients but that's the least of his problems. Some of this is way out there - there are Chinese government agents, narco types, vengeful men, and a murder- but hey, that's what makes it fiction. It's a funny quick read. Thanks to edelweiss for the ARC. For fans of the crazy funny crime novel genre. ...more
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Characters and description that made me see intrigue everywhere and wonder what the person in the booth next to me was up to. This is a fun read that brought me back to the genre. An impressive debut.
M. G. A.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Fast read. Interesting plot.
Vivi Alfonso
It was really hard for me to get through this book even though it was a short novel the story wasn’t all that interesting.
Stevo Brock
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November 2018, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet. ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read the audio book. Hilarious.
rated it it was ok
Aug 02, 2018
Melissa Cheresnick
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2019
Bruce Beck
rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2018
Mikhail Rapoport Jr.
rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2018
Heath Henwood
Jake Constable is a drifter, currently as a house sitter for wealthy clients in Vancouver. During a out of control party, Jake discovers a dead guy in the bathroom, and a world of troubles begin.

Suddenly more enemies than friends, Jake must do some quick talking and side stepping to come out alive.

An easy read, that does not stretch the brain to follow. The characters and plot are not developed to any depth, leaving a fun and easy book to read.
Robert Muller
rated it liked it
Aug 08, 2018
Stephanie McCartney
rated it really liked it
Dec 12, 2020
Donna Ziegler
rated it liked it
Oct 13, 2018
Elizabeth Mabrey
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2018
Alison Luke
rated it it was amazing
Jun 30, 2018
Christoph Haase
rated it liked it
Jan 27, 2020
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Graham Reed is an award-winning author of crime fiction. He lives on a small island in the Salish Sea with his wife and two kids.

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