Stuff Dreams Are Made Of
Oceanview Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Nikki Pringle for Reader Views (8/08)
James Lessor is convinced that his white box truck can be turned into a cash cow. All he has to do is convert it into a mobile kitchen and he can use it to make and sell food at a revival being held at OletaRiverPark. With the promise of thousands of dollars for a few days work, he is able to convince his best friend and roommate, Skip Moore, to come along for the ride. The men set off for Reverend Preston Cashdollar’s weekend revival at the Park just off of the Intracoastal Waterway near Miami. Cashdollar is a well-known gospel preacher who uses 2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion,” as his main message and main means of donations. Thousands of people turn out at his revivals around the country and this verse convinces the masses to give hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to the reverend’s organization.
James is all about being rich with as little effort on his part as possible, and Skip seems to be all about going along with whatever James wants to do. After seeing the outpouring of donations being given at each revival meeting, James thinks Cashdollar must be on to something and wants to learn all he can about this savvy business establishment fronting as a religious organization. After their first night cooking up meals for hundreds of the people that have come to hear Cashdollar preach, they have earned a few thousand dollars as well as an invitation to join some of the “full-timers” for beer and poker.
Things go south quickly, as they always seem to have a habit of doing when James and Skip are around. Money is stolen, the truck is vandalized, and rumors of murders and suspicious drug overdoses at Cashdollar’s past revivals peak James and Skip’s interest and threaten their lives. They are warned, in not so subtle ways, to mind their own business, unhitch their truck, and hit the road, but these guys never back down from a challenge and their interest in Cashdollar, his employees, and the murder and mayhem swirling around them seems to cloud any good judgment they may have. Can James and Skip just leave well enough alone, take the money they have earned, and not look back? Will they be able to dig their way out of the mess they are going to get themselves into if they keep poking around like amateur sleuths?
“Stuff Dreams Are Made Of” by Don Bruns is an improbable tale. The characters are well-written as funny and likeable guys, but what they don’t seem to have is an ounce of sense. This is a mystery novel, but I wouldn’t categorize it as an edge-of-your-seat thriller. It is more of a “Mutt and Jeff” kind of tale, with one character looking to get rich quick with a hair-brained scam, and the other character as a somewhat unwilling participant in the hijinks. I kept thinking that there was no way people would expose themselves to the situations presented in Don Bruns’ novel if this were the real world, but it isn’t. This is a fictional adventure, and it kept my attention and made me laugh in spite of the trouble James and Skip seemed to find even when they weren’t looking.