Fall Rotten

Fall Rotten

— Think Fast. Talk Faster. — A vault full of French fascist gold just waits to be taken. It’s the early days of 1940 and Paris has settled into the new normal — a war where no one’s bothered to show up. As uncertainty permeates the darkened City of Light, a secretive organization works to concentrate the wealth and power of France with a select few. For them, Hitler is...

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Title:Fall Rotten
Author:Eric Serrell
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Fall Rotten Reviews

  • Searching in the Forest

    I’m torn over how many stars to rate this book. It’s better than 4, but it’s not really a 5. But being the first to review, I’m giving it a 5 for now as a recommendation to others to read this book. It’s not life-altering literature, but it is purely entertaining. A fun, lighthearted airport read that was well worth my time.

    Read faster than I expected and caused me to laugh out loud on a number of occasions. (Sorry, guy in sweater with the beard sitting next to me on that one flight.) This was a

    I’m torn over how many stars to rate this book. It’s better than 4, but it’s not really a 5. But being the first to review, I’m giving it a 5 for now as a recommendation to others to read this book. It’s not life-altering literature, but it is purely entertaining. A fun, lighthearted airport read that was well worth my time.

    Read faster than I expected and caused me to laugh out loud on a number of occasions. (Sorry, guy in sweater with the beard sitting next to me on that one flight.) This was a pre-release paperback given to me by a friend who somehow manages to get all of these advance copies. She suggested I read it and I’m glad I did.

    The dialogue is fast, furious, & funny and the ending makes me hopeful that the author may continue with these characters, because I loved them all.

    One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It made me smile, which is all I really want from just about any novel I read.

  • Willow Moon Greymoor

    Uniquely charming historical novel!

    Getting lost in the pages of this book is comparable to time traveling to1940s Paris via a time machine. The sights, sounds, and cadence of the era are reflected through each word and scene that writer Eric Serrell brilliantly penned with historically accurate descriptions that guide the reader from the first page until the last.

    In this story, there is more than one protagonist—it’s more like three equally hefty personalities that created the “Le Boot Hill Gang

    Uniquely charming historical novel!

    Getting lost in the pages of this book is comparable to time traveling to1940s Paris via a time machine. The sights, sounds, and cadence of the era are reflected through each word and scene that writer Eric Serrell brilliantly penned with historically accurate descriptions that guide the reader from the first page until the last.

    In this story, there is more than one protagonist—it’s more like three equally hefty personalities that created the “Le Boot Hill Gang” of mangy characters in pursuit of gold and escaping their lives of poverty. The trio formed under the most unusual circumstances and co-conspired a plan to confiscate a major gold heist in Paris. I won’t give the resolve of this scenario, you’ll have to read it for yourself, and I sincerely hope that you do.

    This book is a great read for anyone in the need of something interesting, and not-too heavy to take your mind off the cares of everyday life. I certainly will be suggesting this book for those individuals that need a break from the modern world and a window opened to the daydreams of a by-gone-era.

  • Andrew

    Entertaining heist novel with a healthy dash of comedy and black humor mixed in to spice things up. Recommended

  • Jodi

    Fall Rotten is a little bit "The Italian Job", a little bit "Inglorious Basterds", and an awful lot of fun. In 1940 France, everyone is waiting for the Germans to start invading in earnest. This includes a small, multi-national group of attractive, eccentric con artists known as le Boot Hill Gang, or les Boots. Les Boots have heard about a French fascist with a large vault full of gold, and they'd like to get into it while everyone is distracted and unsettled. The shares of the vault start

    Fall Rotten is a little bit "The Italian Job", a little bit "Inglorious Basterds", and an awful lot of fun. In 1940 France, everyone is waiting for the Germans to start invading in earnest. This includes a small, multi-national group of attractive, eccentric con artists known as le Boot Hill Gang, or les Boots. Les Boots have heard about a French fascist with a large vault full of gold, and they'd like to get into it while everyone is distracted and unsettled. The shares of the vault start getting smaller and les Boots' apartment starts getting more crowded as they recruit help.

    The first quarter of the novel drags a little bit with exposition and introduction. However, this is necessary. Once the action starts, it really starts! The stakes are high in Fall Rotten as the threat posed by the Germans--and French fascist sympathizers--becomes more serious. However, Serrell laces it heavily with sex, wit, and black humor.

    Eric Serrell makes it easy to root for les Boots. They seem to be having more fun than anyone else at this difficult time, they genuinely love each other, and at least they aren't fascists. Irish Maggie, French-Irish Luc, and American "cowboy" Expat have survived many a scrape together, preferring to use their looks, courage, and intelligence on schemes than legitimate work. Each member of their ragtag band of recruits has a talent and a reason to join in on the fun. Serrell does a fantastic job of sketching other characters and describing the world they live and work in.

    I can easily envision Fall Rotten as a movie. In fact, I began to cast it in my head. Read it and feel a little smug when the trailer comes out. Hmmm, can Christina Hendricks do an Irish accent...?

    Thanks to NetGalley for providing a preview copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Billie Kelgren

    Boot Hill Gang are a trio of con artists in 1930s Paris. (Though two-thirds of the trio refuse to call themselves by that name.) There’s former U.S. Marshal (according to him) “Expat” Patrick; Irish woman Maggie; and Maggie’s French cousin, Luc, with whom she’s been carrying on a somewhat incestuous affair since they were both teens, when Luc and his mother fled to Ireland during the previous war. Of the three, Expat is the overly enthusiastic and optimist schemer; Maggie, the most skilled at

    Boot Hill Gang are a trio of con artists in 1930s Paris. (Though two-thirds of the trio refuse to call themselves by that name.) There’s former U.S. Marshal (according to him) “Expat” Patrick; Irish woman Maggie; and Maggie’s French cousin, Luc, with whom she’s been carrying on a somewhat incestuous affair since they were both teens, when Luc and his mother fled to Ireland during the previous war. Of the three, Expat is the overly enthusiastic and optimist schemer; Maggie, the most skilled at passing herself off as someone she’s not; and Luc, the cautious and sensible one who tries to keep the other two in check while at the same time being tugged back & forth between Expat and Maggie as though he is their plaything.

    It’s the start of 1940 and the city of Paris is experiencing the strange situation of being at war with Germany (declared back in September along with Britain). Nothing seems to be happening, so Parisians are slowly going back to their normal way of life. The prisons are being cleared to fill the ranks along the front lines during a general mobilization, and Luc is released for this reason but he’s quickly swept into hiding by Expat when the American hears about a rumored vault full of gold. Though they’ve never tried a vault heist before, there’s nothing Expat’s not willing to try at least once. Plus, Expat’s life had stagnated while Luc was away and he’s hoping that such a challenge will get them back to the way things used to be between them.

    They need specialized skills, but with the local pool of criminal artists drained off by the mobilization,

    Boots find themselves having to choose from international orphans. They find Reggie, a British forger who’s trying to hide from fascists terrorists out to kill him; Helle, a former Danish aristocrat who learned how to pick locks and spin dials while training as a violin soloist; and Emil, the son of a former German Jesuit, who hates seeing what’s happening in his country and left to run guns across the border as a skilled heavy haul driver.

    Boots discover that they’re going up against Saint Pierre Joubert, a powerful French industrialist and member of a French right-wing nationalist organization with plans to undermine the French government and economy and step in to take control with help from the Nazis to the east. Joubert, however, is mistrustful of strangers, so

    Boots have to wheedle their way into his home by way of his two adult children, Petra & Peter, with Maggie and Luc posing as Lady & Mucky, siblings of a West Virginia coal empire, and Expat later coming on as Chet Oswald, California cattle baron and exceedingly confident wine producer.

    Once inside, it becomes a case of Maggie trying to win Joubert over with her considerable charms while they search for the whereabouts of this massive vault. The story races towards the night when

    Boots attempt to steal the boxes of gold right out from everyone’s noses during a dinner party given in honor of Nazi guests.

    Things, of course, do not go according to plan and

    Boots fight to keep matters moving forward as they are presented with one seemingly unsurmountable obstacle after another.

    The quality of the writing is top-notch throughout, particularly with the author having to manage with multiple languages and accents, and it gives a good sense of life in Paris during those months when the city was waiting to see what would happen next.

    What might throw some people off, though, is the

    of writing. It is a lot of dialog, going fast and faster, and at first it seems off-putting, but once I read in author

    ’s bio about his love for the fast-talking screwball comedies that were at the height of popularity at the time of this story, I understood what was going on here. At least, I think the author has written a novel taking place in 1940 in the

    of those popular movies at the time. Once you hit upon that, it doesn’t come across as so strange.

    So I gave up on trying to follow exactly who was saying what at any one time. There are cues when it really matters, but by reading it straight through without concern, I started to pick up on the rhythm of the dialog and realized how it was being used to paint pictures of what was going on underneath everything you heard.

    A great case in point happens during a dinner conversation between André and Josefa, two other important characters in the story. He is the corrupt police investigator who’s been on

    Boots tail for some time, waiting for the moment when taking them out might suit his more pragmatic purposes. He’s also a famous hero from the last war that everyone wants a part of, but it makes him uncomfortable for a good reason which is made clear in the end. He and Josefa, a Catalan refuge from the Spanish Civil War, are put together to share dinner in a restaurant full of officers always on the lookout for communists, considered a scourge in Paris at the time. There’s hesitation in the way they speak with one other, their words broken by dialog tags (had to look that up) and small actions. But as the cautious flirting and budding trust continues, all those other words disappear in the scene and it’s just pure dialog between the two. No “he said, she said.” Just the words they’re saying to one another as it feels as if the rest of the world has melted away from around them. They focus just on one another and we on them. Kind of reminds me of the scene in West Side Story (Not

    aging myself here. It was a favorite of my parents.) when Tony & Maria see one another for the first time across the party and the other dancers and music all fade away for a bit. Then, as in the movie, the moment of two connecting is interrupted by the outside word. This time, it’s by Expat instead of rival street gangs.

    There are many scenes, not

    like this, but ones where the author uses the cadence of the dialog to manipulate the mood or scenery. Once you see it, it becomes quite extraordinary the effort that went into this fast thinking, faster talking style. Just let it wash over you and, as a strange side effect, you’ll find that the book reads much faster. I was surprised (and somewhat sad) that I finished this in under a week. I’m surprised that it’s actually over 400 pages long.

    Also, you’ll find that scenes that took place much earlier in the book will come back much later in a final third that does a very good job of bringing everything together. The finale is rousingly patriotic, funny, lonely, and hopeful all at the same time. The real bad guys get what’s coming while each member of this ensemble cast is given their moment to shine.

    The style might seem off-putting at first, but those who stick it out will really enjoy how it ends.

    And I think this is the longest review I've written about anything.

    (I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

  • Susan  Alpert

    FALL ROTTEN by Eric Serrell is an amusing novel about a gold heist committed by a group called Le Boot Hill Gang. The novel is set in 1940 Paris before the German invasion. Mr. Serrell comes from a family that was in the Foreign Service, and it shows in his great ear for international dialect and in his worldly humor.

    For example, one of the main characters is called Ex Pat because he is an American named Patrick.

    Another character comments about the approaching Nazis invasion by saying, “Either

    FALL ROTTEN by Eric Serrell is an amusing novel about a gold heist committed by a group called Le Boot Hill Gang. The novel is set in 1940 Paris before the German invasion. Mr. Serrell comes from a family that was in the Foreign Service, and it shows in his great ear for international dialect and in his worldly humor.

    For example, one of the main characters is called Ex Pat because he is an American named Patrick.

    Another character comments about the approaching Nazis invasion by saying, “Either they’re getting ready to invade, or they were misinformed about a change in venue for the Summer Olympics.”

    The first half of the novel suffers from having too many characters with different points-of-view, making it hard to navigate. Some of the confusion comes from characters impersonating other characters. The second part of the novel seems smoother. It maintains a sense of humor while becoming more focus on the Nazi threat.

    Heist stories are already complicated because if they weren’t, we all would be safe crackers in our spare time.

  • Rebekaneongirlyahoo.com

    2.5 stars.

    This tale is about a group of people in Paris who are planning a heist and some of the cops after them, primarily a former war-hero named Andre. The ringleaders are Patrick (a.k.a. Expat) a former U.S. Marshal and his friend Luc who is half Irish and half French. They team up with Luc’s Irish cousin Maggie, a lock-pick named Halle, a young Welsh forger named Reggie, and a German mechanic (Emil) to steal gold from a French official who is collaborating with Nazis.

    It was initially

    2.5 stars.

    This tale is about a group of people in Paris who are planning a heist and some of the cops after them, primarily a former war-hero named Andre. The ringleaders are Patrick (a.k.a. Expat) a former U.S. Marshal and his friend Luc who is half Irish and half French. They team up with Luc’s Irish cousin Maggie, a lock-pick named Halle, a young Welsh forger named Reggie, and a German mechanic (Emil) to steal gold from a French official who is collaborating with Nazis.

    It was initially difficult to understand who the main players were and what their relationship to one another was. After all, the point of view seemed to jump around a lot in the first quarter of the book and the characters are introduced in a seemingly random fashion. Several of the characters also have nicknames and other aliases that get thrown around with no explanation.

    There are also some generally irrelevant characters in the mix that confused the action further, such as Zelda Fitzgerald and her friends. These individuals didn’t add much to the story as they sort of existed on the fridges of everything that was going on. But they had chapters dedicated to their activities all the same.

    Adding to the confusion was the constant mix of different languages (French, Spanish, German, Dutch, etc.) that are spoken in any given scene. This includes Expat’s occasional comments that are made in a dialogue that would presumably be hard for anyone other than an American reader to figure out. Furthermore, the dialogue is unnecessarily and overly risque at times, particularly in any of the scenes involving Maggie or Petra.

    In short, this book had an interesting premise and some interesting characters, but was ultimately not as good as it could have been.

  • Janall

    Thanks to NetGalley for an advance digital copy in exchange for a honest review.

    While I love the concept of a Paris heist during WW2, this book was a “can’t finish” for me. After 10 days of struggling, and forcing myself to pick it back up, got about 30% through it, and just couldn’t bring myself to care what happened and finish.

    On the plus side, the 1940s dialogue and wry humor were fun to read- like a Kathryn Hepburn and Cary Grant movie:

    Example: “Glad to see people haven’t given up

    Thanks to NetGalley for an advance digital copy in exchange for a honest review.

    While I love the concept of a Paris heist during WW2, this book was a “can’t finish” for me. After 10 days of struggling, and forcing myself to pick it back up, got about 30% through it, and just couldn’t bring myself to care what happened and finish.

    On the plus side, the 1940s dialogue and wry humor were fun to read- like a Kathryn Hepburn and Cary Grant movie:

    Example: “Glad to see people haven’t given up completely on Christmas.” Her mid-Atlantic accent was tinged with only the vaguest hint of her native brogue. “Well, they invited everyone to the war, but no one showed up.”

    “I don’t know what to get you.”

    “You just gave me the one thing I was hoping for.”

    “How sweet. That’s just what you said after I ordained you your manhood.”

    “I also wanted skates. Never got those, though.”

    However, the language does get tiring, and there are a lot of characters to keep track of and because of their “profession” (scam artists), they often use false identities, ( example one of them is pretending to be Zelda Fitzgerald, also called Maggie and Red, and another one is called Expat, Patrick and Pat alternately. ) These name changes make the story confusing to follow.

  • Rick Mitchell

    Too cute by half. At some point, you have to tell the damn story and cut out the cute too clever jive. I couldn't get through it. Every character had multiple names and multiple parts. No attempt was made to assist the reader in sorting them out or even to plot the plot. It seemed to me like a creative writing project where the student tried too hard.

  • Julie (HufflepuffGirl90)

    Thank you so much to NetGalley for a free advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    The idea for this novel was fantastic and had me very intrigued. A heist job in the 1940’s? Yes please!

    Unfortunately, I found this book very hard to read and in the end had to bail and not finish it. The language was entertaining, but hard to follow. Each character went by 2-3 different names with almost no pattern to it. I had a hard time figuring out who was where at what time.

    The quirky

    Thank you so much to NetGalley for a free advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    The idea for this novel was fantastic and had me very intrigued. A heist job in the 1940’s? Yes please!

    Unfortunately, I found this book very hard to read and in the end had to bail and not finish it. The language was entertaining, but hard to follow. Each character went by 2-3 different names with almost no pattern to it. I had a hard time figuring out who was where at what time.

    The quirky language and fast pace of the conversations was both welcome and horrifying. I found myself having to reread many portions of the pages in order to vaguely comprehend what was going on.

    I will endeavour to finish this book at a later date, but for now, it’s a “did not finish”, much to my dismay.

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