I found this book lurking in the corner of a disused upstairs bedroom and, being a fan of mystery/suspense, it looked interesting enough at first glanI found this book lurking in the corner of a disused upstairs bedroom and, being a fan of mystery/suspense, it looked interesting enough at first glance that I immediately curled up with it to read. Unfortunately, I found See Jane Run to be disappointing at best.
The story starts out with great potential--a woman suddenly finds herself in the middle of downtown Boston, alone and with no idea of who she is, wearing a bloody dress and a coat with $10,000 stuffed in the pockets. It could have been the start to a great story full of mystery and intrigue and shocking plot twists, but after the first couple of chapters, the story instead quickly devolves into a predictable and unimaginative plotline.
Aside from the main character herself, I found the characterisations to be bland and more than a little cliche. Not only that, but the quintessential Helping Hand character--who most mystery authors introduce toward the beginning of the story and ends up playing a pivotal role during the denouement--makes only a token appearance before disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again.
My foremost and greatest complaint about this book, however, is that the dialogue feels rather forced; it reads more like the main body of the narrative itself than anything I would actually expect to hear come out of someone's mouth. For example, the author describes Paula, the housekeeper-cum-jailor, as being not altogether very bright, yet insists on having her say such things as: "When she persisted..." Most people--especially people of sub-average intelligence--would never use words like persisted in a normal, everyday conversation.
All in all, I found See Jane Run to be altogether disappointing, but interesting enough on the whole to make for an okay read on a rainy day....more
I tried three separate times to finish reading Dark Rivers, but unfortunately, it simply couldn't hold my interest. At firstThis book is made of fail.
I tried three separate times to finish reading Dark Rivers, but unfortunately, it simply couldn't hold my interest. At first, it seemed to have all the ear-marks of a fun, fast-paced, suspensful read. A man with a dark secret; a mysterious woman on the run from a secret, amoral government agency; a sociopathic serial killer cum secret government agent hot on their trail--all in all, this book could have been good. Hell, with its incorporation of high technology and conspiracy theorist undertones, it could have even been great.
Dark Rivers, however, failed to meet even my lowest expectations. Between Koontz' stunted and oft-awkward prose combined with (or perhaps stemming from) poor word choice, and his long-winded, drawn-out descriptions of events, reading this book became a chore after the first fifty or so pages. Not only did it feel at times like he was simply writing to fill up space, drawing out each event or description as much as possible rather than reworking the material to create a longer, more intensive plotline, his insistence on dragging out the final revelation regarding the protagonist's "dark secret" was quite frankly irritating. I found it especially irritating because Koontz employed liberal use of pseudo-stylistic flashbacks in order to relate this terrible secret to the reader, yet he eventually revealed said secret within the normal course of the narrative, making the final, protracted flashback sequences somewhat superfluous and unnecessary.
I could go on, but I think those few points are sufficient to explain my loathing of this book.
So, in conclusion, Dark Rivers isn't worth the paper it's printed on, or the time it takes to read it. I would recommend it only to avid Koontz fans who will read anything he churns out, regardless of whether it's actually good, and also to aspiring authors who wish to learn what NOT to do, because this book stands as a prime example of why "churners" do a disservice to the art of writing....more
Dear Mr. Brown: Exposition, you're doing it wrong.
...And everything else too, actually.
Seriously, what even is this? I don't. I can't even. Words, I dDear Mr. Brown: Exposition, you're doing it wrong.
...And everything else too, actually.
Seriously, what even is this? I don't. I can't even. Words, I don't have them. There simply does not exist any adequate method through which to describe how truly, unequivocally, awe-inspiringly fucking awful this shit really is, unless it's by measuring the wailing and gnashing of teeth I did while reading it.
This has got to be the single worst book I've ever read in my entire life, except for Angels Demons, and the only reason I consider The Da Vinci Code marginally better is because it was shorter, thus subjecting me to several hundred pages less of its utter godawfulness. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing redeeming this steaming pile of pseudo-literary excrement. NOTHING. It's trite, it's formulaic, it's predictable, the plot progression is laughable, the writing itself is so ridiculously bad I nearly wept, the characterizations are wooden, the dialogue is bland and often unbelievable (NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT, DAN, WHAT THE FUCK), and quite frankly, it's a little bit insulting how all these super hard secret clues are pretty painfully obvious to anyone who isn't, you know, A COMPLETE AND UTTER MORON. It's pretty much like Dan Brown assumed anyone who read his book would only be as smart as his characters, which means, basically, he thinks we're all fucking retarded.
Which, okay, yeah. I can actually see that. I mean, only EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET was raving about this book back in the day. What the actual fuck, you guys? Did I, like, wake up in some wacky alternate universe where nobody has any fucking taste? This book isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and it sure as hell isn't worth all the attention paid to it. Controversial? Please. There's nothing particularly shocking or revelatory in this book, certainly nothing that couldn't be better learned by studying history, and the only thing Brown did, anyway, was take some of the juicier facts and throw them into a tired old storyline with some religion, then mix it all together with a lot of wild speculation to create his premise. BECAUSE NOBODY HAS EVER DONE THAT BEFORE. NO ONE HAS EVER TAKEN ACTUAL HISTORICAL EVENTS AND RECOGNIZABLE ELEMENTS OF OUR SOCIETY AND USED THEM IN A FICTIONAL STORY ABOUT FICTIONAL PEOPLE DOING FICTIONAL SHIT. HOW AVANT GARDE.
In summation: a team of brain-diseased Rhesus monkeys armed with typewriters could bang out something of higher literary quality than this shit.
This is what happens when your art is controlled by people who care nothing about art and everything about turning a quick profit.
I mean, seriously, yThis is what happens when your art is controlled by people who care nothing about art and everything about turning a quick profit.
I mean, seriously, you guys? This is what's making the bestseller list these days? This? You guys. Seriously. Ignoring for the moment that this is the worst sort of pop fic garbage with absolutely no substance to speak of, there is so much wrong with this book that I could write a fucking masters thesis on it. But I don't have that kind of time right now, so let's narrow it down to the most basic and overarching, which is that Dan Brown is a fucking hack whose subpar writing skills are eclipsed only by his complete inability to grasp the art of exposition.
So, basically, what Brown has created here is a sprawling 700+ page tale about two barely functional retards, and their supporting cast of highly-trained yet criminally inept fellow retards, running half-cocked around Rome on a harrowing adventure or some shit, whatever, and accosting random tertiary characters with whom to engage in long, drawn-out, largely unnecessary expository conversations. Which is to say, it's pretty much exactly like The Da Vinci Code, except the geography is different and Prepackaged Female Sidekick has a different name. Oh, and The Da Vinci Code obviously had a slightly better editor looking after it, or else the editor for Angels & Demons was asleep on the job or something, Jesus Christ. And I'm pretty pissed about it, too, because a decent editor could have saved us all from at least several hundred pages of this worthless tripe.
Also, I could have been spared at least 150 pages of this crap if Robert Langdon knew how to fucking google, which I'm also pretty pissed about. I mean, not everyone is computer savvy, I know that, but goddamn it, this is the 21st century. There is NO EXCUSE for not having googlefu in the 21st century, motherfuckers, okay? YOU ARE WASTING MY LIFE.
Okay, so, long story short: this book sucks. It pisses me off. Dan Brown should die in a fire. The end....more
Blah, blah, whatever. This seems like The Da Vinci Code all over again, except the writing is marginally better. That's not saying much, though, consiBlah, blah, whatever. This seems like The Da Vinci Code all over again, except the writing is marginally better. That's not saying much, though, considering just how hard that book sucked. The Last Templar doesn't quite meet DVC levels of suckery; it had potential, I thought, but the writing turned out to be too technical, for lack of a better way to put it. Basically, Khoury seems to labor under the notion that his readers won't be able to understand the story unless his writing is absolutely, perfectly textbook precise, which not only bogs down the flow with a lot of superfluous words, but ruins any attempt at style or character voices that might have been carried by the narrative. As a result, the book didn't hold my interest and I ended up abandoning it after the first couple chapters....more
I'm pretty sure I've read this one. I read at least one of Grisham's novels, and I think it was this one, but I can't be sure. All I can remember is tI'm pretty sure I've read this one. I read at least one of Grisham's novels, and I think it was this one, but I can't be sure. All I can remember is that it bothered me that Grisham seemed incapable of using possessive pronouns; he kept describing things like, "the hair was long," instead of, "her hair was long." It drove me fucking bugshit. Other than that, I cannot remember my opinion regarding this book, if it was even this one at all, so I'll have to pick it up at the library someday and refresh my memory....more
There were a lot of things about this book that really annoyed me. Namely, the pervading attitude towards women. There was so much undisguised misogynThere were a lot of things about this book that really annoyed me. Namely, the pervading attitude towards women. There was so much undisguised misogyny in these scant 290 pages that I was several times overwhelmed by the distinct urge to toss the book in the oven and turn that fucker on broil. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that it was a library book, so if I charbroiled it, I'd have to pay for the damn thing, which: a) I'm broke; and b) I refuse to pay a single cent for something so undeniably anti-feminist. It's the principle of the thing.
But anyway, at some point I happened to glance at the copyright page, and it all made a little more sense. I'm not saying that the overarching attitude regarding women wasn't still annoying and repugnant to me, because it was. Very. I'm just saying that I found it a little easier to stomach when keeping in mind that the book was published in 1975. Those were the days, huh? The next old person who tries to tell me shit was better back in their day is gonna find out what it feels like to get crescent-kicked in the head, because seriously. Women's Lib for the fucking win.
I could sit here picking apart all the various inconsistencies I noticed--like the fact that Nancy's husband would never in a million years have been allowed in the interrogation room with what's-his-face, or that pesky business about Double Jeopardy, and so on--but I'm not interested in devoting that kind of time and effort to analyzing a book like this. And frankly, I don't think anyone would care anyway. I doubt anyone reads this type of book for its realism and stunning legal accuracy.
I will say, though, that I found Clark's writing style a little too...just too, you know? Not purple, exactly, but definitely overdone. I'm not sure if this is one of her early works, but it certainly reminds me of the first fumbling efforts of amateur writers, back when they still think everything has to be just so, and precise, and "I have an English degree, can you tell? And look how many big words I know!" Sometimes simple is better. Your character doesn't have to "unconsciously approve of the room in which he found himself to be standing"; he can just like the fucking room, okay? Stop overthinking. You're killing your narrative, and worse, you're killing the people trying to read your narrative.
And I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I hate third person omniscient. HATE. Pick a protagonist, damn it. I do not need to know the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of every single goddamn character introduced into the story. In fact, the less I know the better, because it builds greater suspense, and it leaves room for interpretation. Not that interpretation and in-depth analysis is really the goal of a book like this, but I'm just sayin'. Less is more.
All that aside, this wasn't actually a bad book in terms of the story itself. It was probably better and more shocking way back in the Wayback, but it still strikes a nerve. And there were definitely nail-biter moments, particularly during that awful little bath tub scene. After that, I was pretty much desperate for them to find the kids in time.
So, all in all, not the best book I've ever read, but not the worst either. If you're into that sort of thing, and if you can stomach the blatant misogynist overtones, it might be worth a read. Not bad for a day at the beach, when you want something that's not too taxing, or to help pass a rainy Sunday afternoon.
(P.S. I feel it's important to mention that, though it's handled rather delicately, parts of this book may be triggering for survivors of sexual abuse. This is no great work of literature; it's really not worth reading if it's going to upset you.)...more
This book was cute. It wasn't cutesy, thank god, just cute. And it was much better than I honestly expected it to be. Maybe I'm a book snob--okay, no,This book was cute. It wasn't cutesy, thank god, just cute. And it was much better than I honestly expected it to be. Maybe I'm a book snob--okay, no, there's no maybe about that--but in my experience, this kind of book isn't exactly the best of style and subtance, which is why I typically avoid them. There are too many books, too little time, and I don't have nearly enough patience to waste what little time I have on reading books that are essentially empty and, in the end, impart nothing to the reader.
However, I found The Camelot Caper in the backseat of my aunt's car one day and started reading it, for lack of anything better to do at the time. (The back of one's aunt's car is not, after all, a very exciting place to be.) So then, of course, I had to keep reading to find out why this broad was being chased about England. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author is actually a decent writer. Not amazing, by any means, but decent. She writes clearly and concisely; she's brief and subtle in the right places, while in others she paints very vivid images without being too verbose, too elaborate, or god forbid, purple.
I was a little disappointed with the ending. The premise just really fell apart, in my opinion, and I had a hard time believing that either side would simply let things go that easily. I feel like maybe Peters had an idea what she wanted to do with this book, but didn't put very much thought into it beforehand, then just tried to wrap up the loose ends as well as she could at the end. However, I enjoyed all the dry, sarcastic repartee so much, and the book is so full of little humorous bits and general snarkiness, that it more than made up for the plot holes. For me, at least. And while there was, in fact, an element of romance, it was very understated and did not gross me out at all. A-plus, Peters.
All in all, an enjoyable read for when you want something quick and light, maybe on a rainy day or when you're sick in bed....more