By: Don Bruns
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: September 2008
Reviewed by: Will Gabbett
Review Date: May 2009
Best friends Skip and James are packing up the ‘ol white box truck and setting out to find their fortune. James has found the perfect scheme to make lots of money. He’s outfitted the truck with a small kitchen and the two sweet, but somewhat bumbling, companions will sell food at Reverend Preston Cashdollar’s traveling tent revival. The revival will be in town for three nights and with up to 2,000 people attending each night, James assures Skip that they can’t miss, “…we could make a fortune.”
Skip agrees to participate and soon the two have set up their truck at Cashdollar’s revival. When the meeting ends, swarms of customers push their way to the truck to purchase overpriced hamburgers and brats. The business is a huge success and after the first night’s rush is over, the friends head over to another vendor’s truck for a friendly game of poker.
Life seems to have turned around for Skip and James until they start asking questions. First, Skip is curious if the rumor that Cabrina Washington, a 17-year-old murder victim, was really the girlfriend of the good reverend. Then there is the mysterious death of a fellow vendor, the death of a US senator and the shooting of a popular conservative radio host – all of whom had some connection to Cashdollar. The questions are asked during after-hours poker games to the full-timers (vendors who travel with Cashdollar and appear to be at his beck and call). Not long afterwards, the boys’ luck changes. Their earnings are stolen, they return to their truck to find all four tires slashed, and they receive a threatening note. Instead of running, Skip and James dig in their heels and search for clues.
Stuff Dreams Are Made Of is a fun romp into the world of “holy rollers” who preach salvation through the Almighty Dollar. The writing is crisp, the pace of the story brisk, and the personalities of Skip and James well-developed. For those who like lots of twists and turns in their ‘whodunit’ novels, this story delivers several, including FBI taps, betrayals, and the lengths people will go to make money. Although some of the escapades stretch the imagination a bit (can these people really be that slow?), the reader is likely to develop a fondness for the main characters. Will they get to the bottom of Cashdollar’s empire and solve the murders? More importantly, will Skip and James escape with their lives?
Quill says: A bit improbable but a lot of fun to read.