Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I feel like I just went on a long trip, and not the kind that involves transportation. If you’re into that in literary form, this is absolutely the book for you.

Book Cover for Ace of Shades by Theodore Lee featuring a dark background and a red lit man wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette with Theodore Lee and Ace of Shades across the cover in yellow font.
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USA Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/ACE-SHADES-Theodore-Lee/dp/B09HKHD7TP
UK Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/401PfPH

About the Book

Genres: Mystery, Thriller and Suspense, Metaphysical/Psychological Fiction

The eyes are the window to the soul.

Ace Shades wears sunglasses at all times, even at night. He doesn’t remember the color of his eyes nor the last time he took his sunglasses off (hence the moniker: “Shades”).

His girlfriend’s a piano, his friends aren’t all there, and the world, according to how he sees it, is a dark and unfriendly place.

But things are changing within the detective.

Perhaps it’s the case.

Perhaps it’s something else.

But the closer that he gets to the truth, the more that he can see the cracks within his own existence.

And he’s close to discovering it: The truth hidden long ago, keeping his world held together.

There’s more to the story.
There’s always more to the story.

In a small, rural town in Tennessee, self-proclaimed detective Ace Shades investigates a series of ongoing murders, somehow related to his dark, mysterious past—a past so dark and mysterious that even he doesn’t remember any of it. With the help of his colleagues, who are just as unstable, unpredictable, and unreliable as he is, they begin to uncover a conspiracy, involving a threat unlike any other before it—or at least any other threat they had faced before, assuming that they had faced any other threat at all.

My Thoughts

This book was trippy as heck. The author – who actually wrote himself into the book frequently breaking the fourth wall – was not afraid to pull any punches and I was here for it. This was a hilarious piece of satire and an interesting exploration of mental health. We explored an interesting world through the eyes of several unreliable narrators, the likes of which I’ve never seen, and in the end are left not really knowing what was real and what was not. You have some inklings, but no certainties. Was it a lovely piece of urban fantasy/gritty urban detective murder mystery or was it the ravings of a man experiencing a serious mental illness. I’m not sure we’ll ever know. Maybe we do know. How can we know?

Being a Southern girl, I appreciate that this is set in the Southern United States, and I’m going to be honest I’m not sure it would work anywhere else. But maybe lots of other people could claim that about their own areas. But there’s a certain gothic, Southern mansion feel to it that feels very Southern. Though the inclusion of Amish people is a bit strange for a story set in Tennessee, but it’s not the strangest thing by far in this book, so I can forgive it quite easily. Apparently, another book is coming out pretty soon, and I’ll absolutely be reading that. I couldn’t put this one down, and I need to know what happens in the next one. Will there be aliens? Will there be sea monsters? Will there be resurrections and dragons? Who knows? There could literally be anything.

In case you haven’t noticed, relationships between characters are a big thing for me. I really enjoyed the relationship building the author did between these various detectives. The friendships and brotherhood he built was very endearing. I enjoyed learning about all of the detectives and I look forward to seeing them again. The whole sunglasses quirk with our main character was interesting and wonderful thread to follow throughout the story. Additionally, the naming convention was funny and cute.

When I saw the description and the cover, I couldn’t pass up reading this book. I enjoy a good satire, and I’m sad that so many people don’t get them. You can always tell by the reviews who doesn’t get them. And I really enjoyed this one. It couldn’t take itself seriously for a minute really. Every time you turned around, the author was trying to outdo himself. It was just one ridiculous thing after another. I have never done drugs – except for when doctors have given them to me for pain, like the one time they gave me morphine for a back infection – but like this reminded me of that experience. Like who needs drugs. I feel like this is the sort of book you can read like five times and still pick up on different, new things each time.

I am so grateful to the author and Love Books Tours included me on this tour, and it did not impact my review.

Who’s It For?

This book is for people who enjoy a good satire. This is not your typical murder mystery detective book. It does not get you from point A to point C with a couple of slight red herrings and a little detour through a romance with various levels of spiciness. This is a trippy, wild story from start to finish. If you’re into satire, stories of brotherhood, apocalyptic fiction, and psychological thrillers, this is a great story for you.

Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Death, Fear, Suicidal Ideation, Alcoholism, Adult Situations, Adult Language

Be sure to check out what the other hosts thought about the book as well!

About the Author

Writer, musician, and reclusive nomad: Theodore Lee enjoys his days philosophizing about existence, morality, and what he will eat next.

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