New mystery novel “Sunny Side Up” is a traditional whodunit with Millennial snark and a working class amateur sleuth
Daniel Stallings, the author of the new mystery novel Sunny Side Up, loves the traditional murder mystery — he cites his inspirations as the great Golden Age mystery novelists such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Raymond Chandler, and Rex Stout. Stallings doesn’t just write classic mysteries; he lives them. Well, sort of. His theater company Master Mystery Productions stages interactive mystery parties.
So it’s natural that Stallings’ debut novel Sunny Side Up should take a classic murder mystery premise and bring it into the modern era, with glamour, intrigue, and wit — plus a working-class amateur sleuth.
Sunny Side Up introduces the new mystery hero Liam “Li” Johnson, underemployed Millennial. For Li, a job as a cruise ship waiter was supposed to be a way to get over his father’s death and earn enough money to go back to college. Instead, Li is struggling to maintain his sanity while coping with the demands of a sadistic maître d’ and a boatload of entitled rich jerk passengers.
Li just wants to keep his head down and survive his job from hell, but when he finds a passenger sunburned to a crisp on the Sunbathing Deck, something about the scene just doesn’t add up. Li starts asking uncomfortable questions … and gets some forceful pushback, including a whispering campaign suggesting that Li himself may have had something to do with the victim’s death.
Before he knows it, Li is on the track of a murder … and if Li doesn’t find the real killer soon, or he might just get framed for the crime — or worse, lose his crappy job.
A brand-new classic in the amateur detective genre, Sunny Side Up is a traditional murder mystery for the 21st century, with a glamorous setting, a gallery of suspects, clues that will keep readers guessing to the last page, and a delightful new hero in Li Johnson, the millennial minimum wage manhunter, who brings sleuthing to the service economy.