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3.41  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Jack Hopkins, an ill-fated real-estate agent with an unhappy past, doesn’t like what he does for a living. Luckily, though, he has two new job offers: Darlene Hunt wants to pay him ten million dollars to kill her husband, and her husband wants to hire him to kill Darlene Hunt. Before he can figure out who to work for, though, or how a private island off the coast of Mexico ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by McSweeney's (first published March 30th 2010)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  192 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kaufman's backstory is interesting enough (first published in his 90s, co-creator of mr. magoo, oscar-nominated screenwriter), and 'misadventure' (his last novel) was even moreso. picked this up off blind recommendation and was very impressed. at times this reminded me of denis johnson's 'nobody move,' maybe just because it's the last neo-noir-ish thing i've read. this is better than johnson's book -- the plot is more alive and breathes with characters that are comic and believable without ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Misadventure is a book full of extremely unlikable characters. It's a murder mystery set in Hollywood.

Basically a real estate agent starts having sex with a client who turns out to be the wife of a rival real estate agent. She wants her husband murdered, and our hero decides to do it. But wait! He has a big deal possibly with the man to be murdered, who is also up to shady dealings in Mexico, and he wants his wife killed - which our hero also decides to say yes to.

He has a girlfriend and they
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the Oscar-nominated screenplay writer of "Take The High Road!" and "Bad Day at Black Rock," Misadventure by Millard Kaufman, his final novel, weaves the noir tale of an LA real-estate agent who finds himself mixed up in dead bodies, private islands, and sex. Forced to navigate Chandler-esque twists and turns, the protagonist quickly finds himself in over his head. Overall, I found the story from the nonagenarian author to be entertaining enough, a good addition to the noir oeuvre. Truth be ...more
Oliver Ho
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable noir novel, which reminded me of similar dark, California-set tales, like Altman's Long Goodbye, Lebowski, Chandler. The plot moves along quickly, taking weird turns, which turn out to be as complicated and strange as you'd expect, with people behaving badly and oddly along the way. The hero has all the necessary strengths and weaknesses of any main character in a story like this: an ex-marine with anger issues, but smart enough when it counts. I liked reading this novel, and I'm ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kaufman, as in Bowl of Cherries, is hilarious. This noir is entertaining enough and, considering the man was on his deathbed as this went through the editing stages, is pretty good however it does not live up to the promise of Bowl of Cherries. The characters are appropriately outrageous and the protagonist manages to garner some sympathy from the reader but at the end all I could think was "that's it?" which, in my experience, isn't always the best reaction to a novel. Then again, noir was ...more
Apr 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fict
I realize that this shouldn't affect my reading of the book itself, but here's my main complaint: the cover of the book should be used to introduce some aspect of the book either directly or through an interesting image as metaphor. At no point, should the cover knowingly decieve; however, for this book, the cover is factually inaccurate and detracts from the experience of the book.

The characters and plot itself are enjoyable and entertaining, but ultimately this isn't a book that is going to
ABC Group
Solid Noir from Millard Kaufman. I didn't really have any knowledge of him prior to this novel and I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. The plot was well thought out and the web of characters are is weaved in a manner that sheds light on the peculiar nature of each person.

Kaufman is a damn wordy writer. I meant this in good way. His choice of syntax is elegant but often had me reaching for a dictionary. He reminds me of Chabon in some ways.

I liked this book a good bit. The ending was
Oct 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: damnfun
McSweeney's sent this to me. It is touted as being one part "Chinatown," one part Coen Brothers film.

...having finished now, I can say that that was pretty accurate:). I wasn't a big fan of the protagonist (less so as the story went on...), but I very much like how the book is written, and I found the story pretty captivating. Read it in just a few days. Time well-spent, despite the man at the center of it:). (Sorry, dude. Please don't hit me.)
A P.I. is not the lead in this noir, a real estate agent is, which still makes sense in the structure of a noir. To review fully is to reveal, so I'm mum, other than to say it works well and keeps the reader on their toes. Kaufman uses the language of a noir but keeps it set in modern day, which adds a fun twist to the feeling of prose.
"Misadventure" was very much a story in which every character is unlikeable. I found it difficult to find sympathy for any of the characters, which went well with the open-ended sense of foreboding for their lives after the misadventure. As for a mystery or crime novel, I wouldn't say the plot line was too suspenseful, but the writing style was compelling.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gift
I got this from a RedditGifts exchange and it came highly recommended by the giver. I loved Kaufman's dialogue and writing style- the snark reminded me a tiny bit of Robert B. Parker, one of my all-time favorite authors.

It felt like it ended pretty abruptly, though, and it was an interesting read but nothing exemplary.
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Augh. I am really not sure what to write. I could not put it down. Yet the whole time I wanted the main character to die. Not my kind of story, but it was really well written. As for me I wanted to punch the character in the face then he showed his better self. Then, of course he became an arse hole again.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was willing to turn a blind eye to the misogynistic undertones for the sake of the story, but he lost me completely when the protagonist rapes a 14 year old child and shrugs it off because she "wanted" it. This book is just so wrong on so many levels.
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book to read about a series of love triangles and murders that take place in Southern CA - the characters are somewhat silly, as is the plot, but Kaufman is a clever master of metaphor, humoring the reader all the way to the end. An interesting take on the noir genre.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fast-paced and improbable like a commercial Hollywood movie. Lightly entertaining without being engaging, this book doesn’t excite any enthusiasm or stir emotions. Just a temporary pastime you grow tired of as you are getting to the last page.
Mike Randall
A 3.5 for sure. Fun and fast in a John Brandon-meets-Gonzo way, but it can be a little predictable.
Eddie Harrison
Nov 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this actually wins the award for worst book i've ever read in my life
May 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-fiction
Good fun. Good SoCal noir.
Apr 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good story by an author who is an American Hero and BTW invented Mr. Magoo. A very "male" type of tale but good nonetheless. Picked it up because of McSweeney's book club.
Matt Bucher
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly underrated. Very enjoyable. Loved it.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent noir set in modern day LA. Can't say that it was anything super special. I thought the denouement was a little underwhelming, but generally a fun little potboiler.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, gritty noir that drags towards the ending. Not a bad read.
Steven Pattison
Mar 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder for hire, cheating spouses, cyanide poisoning and goat farms - this book has everything a slick pulp fiction noir novel should have. Very reminiscent of James M. Cain, I highly recommend it.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kaufman had a wondeful way with words, but it's hard to totally sign off on a book whose protagonist/narrator is an amoral, despicable asshole.
Shawn Hazen
Good solid noir. Sort of odd in that it was set in the present day and was written by a 90+ year old guy. So there was some linguistic anachronisms and such. But that was part of its charm, I guess.
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Josh Frank
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Mar 31, 2013
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Feb 21, 2012
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Millard Kaufman was an American Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and novelist.
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