by Jasper Fforde
New York : Viking, 2002.
SpecOps operative Thursday Next is a Literatec. This generally means determining if a manuscript is a forgery or hoax, though there is the occasional run-in with a Baconian bent on proving that Shakespeare did not pen those plays he is famous for. Then, Thursday is approached by some folks from Spec-Ops 5. They want her help chasing Acheron Hades, evil criminal mastermind who has stolen the manuscript to Martin Chuzzlewit, and not out of any love for literature.
If you can put up with the ridiculousness of setting (alternate 1985 where Spec-Ops include branches in Literature, Art Theft, Vampire and Werewolf Disposal, and Chrono-Guard) for about the first sixty pages, and don't mind a strange mix of humor, science fiction, time travel and capital-L Literature, you may find that you really like this book. No, really. Give it sixty pages. If you haven't become interested despite yourself and find yourself looking for the next brief in-joke that you get because yes, I did read that book!, then this is probably not the series for you. But if you find yourself flipping pages fast, reading quickly, and chuckling at the references to high-brow and not-so-high-brow books, jokes, and well, just about everything, you may find yourself a new series to get immersed in.