Doohickey by Pete Hautman
A Novel

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Nick Fashon is having a bad day. He's just found out his estranged grandfather has died mysteriously in the Arizona desert. Then he meets his potential father-in-law, who turns out to be an ex-cop with a screw loose and a penchant for bean dip. To top it off, he returns home to find his successful clothing shop has just burned to the ground and taken his upstairs apartment with it.

Love & Fashion was Nick Fashon and Vince Love's thriving clothing store until it went up in flames -- the work of an arsonist, police say. Suddenly Nick is homeless and disillusioned, and both the insurance investigators and the police want a word with him. Where can he turn for help? He's wearing out his welcome with his archaeologist girlfriend, Gretchen, who's developing her own suspicions about him. His business partner and best friend, Vince, isn't much help either, as Nick discovers more and more disturbing clues that point to Vince as the one who set the blaze.

Things begin to look up when Nick finds out his eccentric late grandfather has left him an unusual inheritance: a thriving pet-coffin business and a barn full of peculiar inventions, including one particularly interesting doohickey called the HandyMate. The HandyMate is the ultimate kitchen gadget -- a simple tool that can cut, core, chop, slice, and potentially transform the domestic world. Full of entrepreneurial zeal, Nick is determined to see one in every kitchen drawer in America.

But Nick isn't the only one planning to strike it rich with the HandyMate. Yola Fuentes, Nick's grandfather's irresistibly sexy business partner, is so determined to get the HandyMate that she makes Nick an offer he can't refuse. And Robo Fuentes, her jealous ex-husband, has a bullet with Nick's name on it if he takes her up on that offer. Nick quickly finds himself caught in a situation where a twisted thing of plastic might end up costing him his girlfriend, his self-respect -- and his life.

With the help of a cast of colorful characters, master storyteller Pete Hautman delivers a stylish and funny mystery with more twists and turns than the HandyMate itself.

About Pete Hautman

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Pete Hautman is the author of many books for young adults and adults, including the National Book Award winner Godless and The Big Crunch, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award. About The Cydonian Pyramid, he says, "I could never resist a tough, spunky, conflicted heroine. Following Lahlia through the diskos was an incredible journey. She still scares me a little." Pete Hautman splits his time between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Published May 8, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 288 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Doohickey

Kirkus Reviews

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Bent on bringing the enchanted chunk of plastic to market, Nick swiftly finds that although the HandyMate’s seized other fancies too—especially that of Caleb’s girlfriend Yola Fuente, the restaurateur who, claiming half ownership in the thingamabob, is determined to introduce it on her cooking pr...

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Publishers Weekly

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In addition, his partner Vince owes money to a scary man called Robo who, after cracking several of Vince's ribs, threatens to kill him for an encore.

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Star Tribune

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Nick decides that his best chance to start over lies with one of his grandfather's doohickeys, the HandyMate, a gizmo that "chops, scrapes, peels, cores, measures, grates, and pounds."

Oct 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Doohickey : A Novel

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