Kumquat by Jeff Strand

Five stars and worth every one of them!

Retro Review

KumQuat by Jeff Strand
Comedy/Road Trip/Zany Romance
249 Pages
From the "wickedly funny" Jeff Strand (says Publishers Weekly) comes a comedy about love, death, hot dogs, TV, and obscure fruit. 

Thirty-five-year-old introvert Todd Bryan hasn't really done much with his life, and he's okay with that. Until, at a painfully bad film festival, he meets Amy Husk. She's attractive. She's funny. She's quirky. And...she has an inoperable brain aneurysm and not much time to live. She may not even make it to the long-awaited final episode of EXIT RED, the Greatest. Show. Ever. 

She convinces him that they should do something crazy and frivolous. And suddenly Todd, a guy who doesn't do spontaneity, is on an insane road trip from Florida to Rhode Island with a woman he barely knows, just to visit a really cool hot dog place. 

Many things will go wrong. But, hey, many things will go right, too. There's a hook-handed hitchhiker and some property destruction. Maybe some sex. A kumquat will probably be relevant at some point, although not during the sex (if there is any). 

A laugh-out-loud comedy, a touching love story, and a cross-country adventure, KUMQUAT is a story about making the most out of the time you've got. 

If that doesn't interest you, there's also a gummi bear tractor.

My Thoughts

I’ve only read three books by Jeff Strand and. In case you were dying to know, they were Casket for Sale: Only Used Once (best book title ever), Dweller and Stalking You Now. I’d love to read more but there’s that godforsaken tbr pile that won’t stop breeding when I leave the room. Those stories were all horror or horror-ish and all had a dash or more of the same oddball, quirky humor that I’ve come to expect from this author. I heard from some of my GR friends that this story was pretty much a comedic road-trip romance so I had to claim a copy. I like romances but I am picky with them. Some say I’m just a grouch. They might be right. Either way, I know I’ve read more than my share of crappy, sappy and boring as hell romances but this wasn’t one of those. Now I’ll give you 10 reasons why you might want to read this because I can be sweet once or twice a month despite rumors, and a kid or two, who may say otherwise.

10. It ends exactly when it should.

9. It wasn’t sappy or crappy or ever boring.

8. It surprised me. Crazy, seemingly random, things happen but it all ties together in the end. I love when an author is able to do that.

7. It was genuinely funny in a snarky, nutty sort of way. Todd and Amy are on a 22 hour road trip to buy a hotdog that may be awesome or may make them beg for a quick death.

“Any woman who would want to go on a road trip with me this soon after meeting me must have dismemberment on her mind.”

6. There are no stupid misunderstandings. They call each other out before that ever happens.

5. Both characters use snark naturally. They are like two cute little misfit peas in a pod, perfect for each other from the moment they first open their mouths. It’s easy to see why they get along from their conversations. See here:

“No, wait, what's the funniest thing you've ever seen?" I ask.

"Oh. Sorry. Once, when I was with my parents at a magic show, I accidentally walked in on two clowns having sex."


“No, they were doing it humorously."


"Every time he thrust, he honked his nose."


"I swear to God. I am not making this up. He was taking her from behind, and he honked his big red nose every time he thrust. Honest truth.”

4. It was touching. This surprised me but it shouldn’t have seeing as I read Dweller. The monster book that will make most anyone get all bleary eyed over a man eating beast! Unless, of course, you are truly heartless.

3. They have sexy times that don’t make me cringe (I love some of your stuff but I am looking at you Dean Koontz).

2. The characters are terrific and aren’t perfection personified. They are strangers when things start. Just two lonely, goofy, geeky types who meet at a Con, bond over some bad films and impulsively decide to take a road trip together. I’m tired of reading about beautiful, wealthy people falling in love. Give me two socially awkward misfits or two Bigfoots for that matter, and hell you can even throw in a troll or two and I’ll buy that. (Note to anyone still reading: there are no sexy Bigfoots or trolls here but I loved it anyway.)

And the #1 reason I adored this book: THEY TALK TO EACH OTHER! They talk and talk and talk and I never felt the urge to tell them to shut the heck up already. They are open and honest and sarcastically funny throughout the entire story. They become friends and things grow naturally from there. There are no lame-ass insta-love hijinks happening here.

It’s silly, sweet and fun with some seriously dark undertones which I won’t spoil. If you enjoy oddball humor give it a go.


  1. I seriously have to read this book. A zany road trip and characters that have honest conversations with each other? Count me in!! Thanks for reviewing this. I need more books like this one in my life. :D

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's definitely different and that's what I loved so much about it.

  2. This sounds like a great book! Love the quote :)

    1. Strand has a very strange sense of humor and I love it ;)


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