Heart of Junk

S. & S. Jan. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781982106669. $26. F
DEBUT The Heart of America Antique Mall in Wichita, KS, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Its last hope is the imminent visit of Mark and Grant, hosts of the reality antiques TV show Pickin’ Fortunes. However, the recent disappearance of local child beauty pageant star Lindy Bobo threatens to overshadow the planned filming. The mall’s co-owner, Keith Stoller, desperate for coverage, joins the search for Lindy spearheaded by mall vendor Veronica Samples. But Heart of America and the case of the missing contestant are more entwined than anyone realizes. Geddes’s debut novel (after short-story collection I Am a Magical Teenage Princess) goes behind the scenes of the retail antique/collectible business. Unfortunately, it isn’t a very favorable look.
VERDICT Readers hoping for a Carl Hiaasen–esque view of the antiquing world will be disappointed. The characters are drawn with too heavy a hand; most of them are borderline hoarders who are more interested in their stuff than they are in forming or maintaining basic human connections.

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