Friday, April 29, 2011

The Part-Time Thief and Other Appraisal Stories by Susan R. Stoltz

Published by CreateSpace
Reviewed for Review the Book

Rodents and rattlesnakes and rogues. Not enough? How about gangsters and charging bison? This little book of stories, taken from the author's days as a real estate appraiser, shows just how dangerous some of these jobs can be. After all, you are in a vulnerable and lonely position in the true cases mentioned above and throughout episodes in Susan R. Stoltz's memoir. Probably an eye-opener to many, but I will tell you from my husband's experiences as a real estate salesman in the 1960s and prior to his retirement that this is just the tip of the iceberg! Susan writes her episodes as short chapters and in her own voice, making this book personal.

As you will find in the book, there is definitely risk, but there is humor as well, and the very real sadness of seeing how some people live. I enjoyed the book as written, but I couldn't help thinking that there must have been several other instances that did not appear in the book for whatever reason. I could see this written in a format much like the acclaimed British author James Herriot's farm veterinarian books. Having also worked on a farm, I realize there are many more opportunities for doing those animal books, though. Nevertheless, I was left wishing for more, and felt even if the stories had to be tweaked slightly, this book could have been more fleshed out, it definitely showed promise in that direction.*

But of course, this is Susan's own memoir and fascinating as is, written in stark, factual, as-it-happened realism. This author was held at gunpoint in one home, attacked by wild animals, even faced an apparently lonely senior cross-dresser while keeping her cool. This type of job is a lonely one and laughter is good when it comes your way. Terror isn't. I am amazed at the courage she maintained in her terror. I believe her quiet sense of "get the job done" and hilarious sense of understatement at times was helpful in this respect. A nice quick, lively read.

This is a prime example of how seriously some people take their work, what different types of jobs can bring, both good and bad, and how one woman stood her ground. Susan R. Stoltz is one author I would like to sit down and chat with.

*I note on her website that Susan does have a second Appraisal Stories book out.

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