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When the Shit Hits the Van

(The Neon Owl #1)

by
4.26  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Jinx is a record-collecting, middle-aged minimalist whose dreams of becoming a detective are waylaid by love and laziness. But when he inherits his late aunt’s rundown motel, The Neon Owl, his passion for investigative work reignites while he searches for answers as to who keeps shitting in the bushes. His findings lead to a full-blown murder mystery where he and new-found ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 12th 2020 by Independently Published
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  94 ratings  ·  38 reviews


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Sadie Hartmann
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Review originally published at Cemetery Dance https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/...
Showing up for a Chad Lutzke story is a resignation of emotional preservation. You come to engage with the words on the page with your heart fully exposed and a willingness to let Lutzke do as he wishes. More often than not, the book will end on a note that breaks your heartstrings and leaves the reader with a nasty bookish hangover.
The Neon Owl is a bit of a departure from the usual agreement and I loved it! T
...more
Chad
Jan 23, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Coming February 2020!
Well Read Beard
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chad's my cuppa tea. There are a few authors I feel that way about.

This is one of those stories that basically comes down to an intersection of characters. A small world of a story that feels bigger than the page count or the setting should allow. The backdrop is a vintage neon washed sunset strip motel. The motel has been remade into apartments. Each apartment holds its own character and thus its own story. This feels generic to say, but it has that Tarantinoish feel. This mismatched group of c
...more
Edward Lorn
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this one two months ago but forgot to post. Video review will be uploaded as soon as I'm caught up. In the meantime...

The humor and quirky characters were well done, as is always the case with Chad's work, but I dropped a star for the plot, which didn't interest me at all. Didn't know Luna well enough to care what had happened to her. I felt more for the guy who lived in the bushes than I did Jinx's aunt. Also, I've never been a fan of comedic noir, much like some people don't like horror c
...more
Armand Rosamilia
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great story from the author, and it further expands his writing choices and genres, which is amazing.

A great start to this humorous crime thriller series, with memorable characters (including The Neon Owl itself) and a murder mystery that will leave you guessing until the end. Can't wait for the next installment!
...more
Kim Napolitano
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of reading this book in early development on Chad Lutzke Patreon page, I was hooked from the start! Now it’s all polished up and even better! Jinx inherits a motel in L.A. all the residents are long term renters and devastated by the death of Aunt “Luna” Ruth! Jinx arrives to take over the The Neon Owl that sits across the street from a seedy strip joint and begins to meet the colorful characters of the Owl. One resident, Roddy, alerts him to a serial pooper messing up the gro ...more
Steve
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been a big fan of Chad Lutzke's horror books ever since I read Skullface Boy, so when I heard he was doing a murder mystery, I was intrigued to say the least. Don't get me wrong, horror and murder are dark topics, but that doesn't necessarily mean because one is good at writing in one genre doesn't mean they can write the other. I'm here to say, Chad Lutzke can do both. Not only that, he does it with ease.

When the Shit Hits the Van is (hopefully) the first of many books in a series Lutzke c
...more
Tracy Robinson
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review to come (venue TBA): Had a great time with this one!
Paul Ataua
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m a Chad Lutze fan, and was quite interested in reading what is a change in genre for the writer, from horror to murder mystery. The story brings together a group of quirky characters in a light and non-too serious crime solving venture. Unfortunately, I don’t sit well with quirky, and although it did have some amusing moments, the fecal depositing (and throwing) driven humor just fell flat for me. I guess this is the beginning of a lengthy series of Jinx and Roddy. I liked both of those chara ...more
Brennan LaFaro
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a change of pace if you think you know what to expect from picking up a book by Chad Lutzke. Typically you’re in for a tough read that gets you invested in the characters and then puts them through trials, tribulations, and emotional turmoil.

The Neon Owl: When the Shit Hits the Van keeps the top notch character development but applies it to a private investigator-type setting. Jinx is instantly likable when thrust into his brand new role of motel owner, and the maintenance man, Rod
...more
Matt (TeamRedmon)
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jinx inherits an apartment building in LA when his aunt Luna dies. When he arrives he meets the residents of the building. In addition to getting to know the building and its denizens, he's immediately confronted with a mystery pooper that's defecating in the parking lot. He teams up with the building's one-legged handyman, Roddy, to stake out the parking lot to catch the pooper. Jinx has always wanted to be a detective and dives into the poop mystery with gusto. Then, people show up dead and th ...more
Kevin Jones
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE NEON OWL was a solid murder-mystery and fun read. The black humor and scatalogical reference also kept it from being as dark and twisted as my normal crime fare. I ultimately thought that the breezy, episodic feel of the story fit well with the LA vibe the author was cultivating. Overall, a very enjoyable read.
Zakk Madness
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a sucker for Lutzke’s brand of genuine human characters and storytelling, whatever genre robe it may be wearing. I had a blast with this book and sincerely hope there is another installment on its way... soon.
Serenity
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!!

Loved it!!


Dearly loved Roddy and Jinx!

I literally laughed out loud at some parts. Shit and farts... 🤣🤣

I've read several books by this author and they've all been great! A definite recommend!!
...more
Debra
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Different than other Chad Lutzke’s book, but in a good way! A crime story with interesting characters who you are immediately drawn to. It follows Jinx, who has inherited his Aunt’s motel in LA. He moves there and what he finds is not what he expects! I’m looking forward to more of these stories in the future.
Levi Walls
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Damnit Chad, I bear you no anus, you nozzy birch, because Jinx and Roddy might be two of my favorite people since Edgar and Wireman in Duma Key. High praise. Hell, right up there with Kinderman and Karras, and those two were a pretty damn good time too (until Pazuzu came along, fuckin demon 🤣) I love this book. I feel it deep down in my soul. I don’t know if Chad was putting a little of himself in Jinx, but if so we’re brothers of the heart. I felt like he was writing about me. Being the kind of ...more
Kim Napolitano
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading this book in early development on Chad Lutzke Patreon page, I was hooked from the start! Now it’s all polished up and even better! Jinx inherits a motel in L.A. all the residents are long term renters and devastated by the death of Aunt “Luna” Ruth! Jinx arrives to take over the The Neon Owl that sits across the street from a seedy strip joint and begins to meet the color characters of the Owl. One resident, Roddy, alerts him to a serial pooper messing up the ground ...more
Wayne Fenlon
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You really can't go wrong with Chad's books, even, if like this one, it's a departure from horror, because Chad just draws you in, and there's never a dull moment. Not only is his writing lean, it's the whole package: the characters, the voice, the ideas, everything.
I breezed my way through this.
Sometimes I wish his stories were longer, but then I think, would they work quite so well?
I don't think they would, even if I have wished it in the past.
Anyway, he's hit the nail on the head this time.
Th
...more
Scott
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This one felt like a cosy mystery for slackers and an intriguing start to what looks to be a series. Jinx inherits The Neon Owl apartment complex from his Aunt Ruth a.k.a. Luna and falls into an investigation on who is shitting in the bushes every night. By happenstance this turns into a murder mystery as Jinx and one-legged Owl handyman Roddy look to find the culprit using their own amateur investigative techniques.

There's plenty of grisly things that go down, but it felt somehow cleaner than a
...more
Josh reading
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another solid gold read by Chad Lutzke, I loved it! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Chad is an author whose books are automatic purchases for me. If there is a new Lutzke book released, I’m there! Chad has a way of writing complex characters who are often placed in very intriguing circumstances. With the Neon Owl vol 1, Chad has tried his hand at the Crime genre, and what fun it is! Jinx moves down to LA to run his deceased aunt’s property, the Neon Owl. Murder, mystery and in some ca ...more
Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)
I love Chad Lutzke's writing style, and even though this book was a departure from what I'm used to, it wasn't any less good. The relationship between Jinx and Roddy as they work together to solve a mystery in their motel is perfection. It reminded me of the relationship between the protagonists in Duma Key by Stephen King, which I also adored.
.
Note: I listened to this book on Audible and the voice acting was top notch. It portrayed all the characters little quirks really well. I'm definitely g
...more
Danielle
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chad Lutzke has created a fun new world inhabited by a full cast of quirky characters. When Jinx's Aunt Ruth dies, she leaves him her LA motel The Neon Owl. There Jinx finds an ensemble of wacky, down-on-their-luck residents, and an intriguing mystery.
Chad Lutzke has a way of penning interesting, loveable individuals. While this novella didn't tug at my heartstrings as some of his others have, it did keep me turning pages, and more than once put a smile on my face.
I am very interested in finding
...more
Kristyn
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This was a little different than Chad Lutzke's other books. It was a quick, fun little noirish read. It's kind of like a cozy mystery for adults that cuss. I look forward to reading more about Jinx and Roddy! ...more
Blake Blanco
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Review coming soon!
Lee-ann
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ok, let me just tell you how much I loved this book! Seriously. Loved it 😁. I know Chad was a bit nervous as to how his horror fans would receive this one, but I for one embraced it with open arms and a huge shit eating grin on my face 😆. I have read a handful of other stories by Chad, all of them amazing, all of them leaving me wiping tears from my eyes. Chad is the type of writer that makes you FEEL and that’s part of what makes him a good writer. What makes this story different from his other ...more
MK-reads
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm already waiting on Book 2. ...more
J.B.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: listened
This was a cozy story that hit the spot nicely. There were convenient plot points, but this isn't meant to be a sweeping novel of depth and intrigue, just a good bit of escapism. So I didn't hold it against the story.

It wasn't hilarious, nor all that funny to be honest. There were a couple of moments that gave me a smile, and I'm not gonna complain about that. Because who doesn't like that, am I right? But nothing that happened in it surprised me. And I was hoping for a certain thing to happen,
...more
Andrew
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
An extremely well-executed and funny little murder mystery, with an ending I didn't see coming until it was there- a rare feat. Definitely looking forward to the next installment, and where Jinx and Roddy's adventures will take them. ...more
Aiden Merchant
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chad Lutzke runs in the horror circle, but he's proven multiple times that he also excels in crime and drama. His new series, The Neon Owl, starts with When the Shit Hits the Van, an easily accessible and enjoyable story that brings to mind Elmore Leonard. With plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, mystery, and wonderful narrative, When the Shit Hits the Van immediately puts The Neon Owl in high regard.

Other than an ending that wrapped too quickly for my tastes, I loved this story and its characters.
...more
Holly Garcia
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently discovered the work of Chad Lutzke and couldn't be happier to explore all of his works. While I prefer his horror writing, this book was definitely well-written and maintains the great characterizations that seem typical of Lutzke's work. Since it was a pretty quick read, I'll probably read the next installment in the series but my passion for his horror works will still reign over the Neon Owl. On that note, if anyone reading this has not yet read "Of Foster Homes and Flies", you sho ...more
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Chad has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He's had dozens of short stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU, THE PALE WHITE, THE NEON OWL and OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. Lutzke's work has been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, ...more

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