Thursday, June 22, 2023

Book Review: Mrs. Plansky's Revenge

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn’t changed her killer tennis game one bit. One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges—after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven’t gotten a simple “thank you” for a gift sent weeks ago. Not that she's counting.

By morning, Mrs. Plansky has lost everything. Law enforcement announces that Loretta's life savings have vanished, and that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist. First humiliated, then furious, Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim. In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too.

Mrs. Plansky's Revenge is the first book in a new series by Spencer Quinn. Prior to its July 25, 2023, release, Tor Books provided an early galley for review.

This was a new author for me; I had not read any books under this penname or his birth name Peter Abrahams. It took me a little bit to get into the rhythm of his writing rhythms. I found myself wondering about some of the narrative choices in the first few chapters (like why have Loretta go all the way back home only to get a call to leave again, or the fact that she is identified constantly calls her Mrs. Plansky in the narrations rather than Loretta - it seemed awkward).

Oddly enough, I found myself instantly interested in the part of the storyline involving Dinu, the young scammer-in-training. I connected to this character initially more than I did the entire Plansky clan (whom I found to be occasionally annoying and a bit naive).

The story line flows down some paths that had my eyebrows raised (as in questioning the jumps through hoops that it took to get the main premise in place), but then just over halfway through in chapter 20 something very interesting occurs (no spoilers). This was enough to keep me reading to see how everything would play out. In the end, for me it was just an okay story.

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