Sunday, March 30, 2014

some near-misses. and some other books.

Emmanuel by Lilian White.  (Possible subtitle: "Created.  Tortured.  Murdered."  This appears on the cover but not on the title page.
This writing is so terrible: the concepts are all over the place, not organized at all; the dialogue is unnatural and the narration is jumpy and uneven; the punctuation needs a ton of clean-up, including no correct commas to be seen and way overuse of exclamation points.  The characters aren't realistic and don't react realistically to situations.  The time jumps are too big to allow for good plotting.  There isn't one redeeming thing about this book.

The Obexlanders: And the Assassination of JFK by TES. 
First, on the description submitted with the book, the title is descriped as "the penultimate in conspiracy theories."  If the author is using "penultimate" correctly, why does he not tell us what the true ultimate title is?  If the author is using "penultimate" incorrectly, it makes him look stupid.
The writing is very elementary-- there is little variation in sentence structure, concepts are repeated too much, there are copious punctuation problems, and the writer relies too heavily on sayings and cliches. 

Beyond the Bridge: A Dermot Sparhawk Novel by Tom MacDonald.  This is a good story with good writing in most ways.  The thing that's keeping this title out of the top ten for me is the main character's alcoholism-- it's written too strong, hammered on instead instead of being quietly woven into the story and character.  It's jarring and awkward instead of a character trait.  Otherwise excellent.

Lonely in the Heart of the World by Mini Meltz.  The second-person writing is weird and not working out, partially because the "you" is given too many details and is in fact not me at all. 
The writing is painfully stretching for metaphors.
There are some pretty big verb tense problems.
These characters don't have personalities, don't even have names. This story is vague and told from far away, without emotion.  The reader cannot connect.

Fatal Decree and Found, both by H. Terrell Griffin.  These are fairly good books and the notes below apply to both.  If anything, the author has a firmly established style that is consistent across both works. 
This fairly good writing-- interesting and largely error-free-- but the author struggles to weave in facts and to set the scene.  This makes the writing seem jumpy paragraph-to-paragraph and at times approaches being incredibly awkward in places, such as when he interrupts the story to give physical descriptions of people as they enter.  :(  Sentence-to-sentence the writing is pretty smooth.  This is smoothed out a fair bit by Found, but there are still jarring jump-to-description paragraphs, someone's physical characteristics and short bio in a couple of paragraphs, then we're back to the story.  This is largely what keeps it from being in the top ten for me.
The first chapters of each are great, grabbing and engaging.  They are written in third person.  Then the narrator comes in in the second/third chapter, and this is in first person.  It seems that the main character is not the narrator, and the narrator is more a chronicler.  This is an interesting method and not necessarily bad, but because the narrator is not present with the main character all the time, there is some back and forth between voices.  I think third person throughout, focusing on the main character, would have been stronger.
The main character's feminism is, first, what I categorize as an "older version" of feminism and doesn't fit with her age, and second, is too obvious and not very well incorporated with the story.  Is feminism is appropriate for the intended audience (older male readers) but isn't going to make too many friends among a younger audience.
this the author's impression of professional women?  I imagine the force and focus of the character's f

In both, the dialogue is very good, very natural-sounding, which is a real strength since there is so much of it-- it really carries the plot in placed.  But Fatal Decree more so than in Found, the organization of the dialogue leaves something to be desired; there is quite a bit of repetition of details in conversations.

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