Well written & clear, the book suffers a little from dated-ness. There are a number of tense issues; things Shlichter talks about in the present t...moreWell written & clear, the book suffers a little from dated-ness. There are a number of tense issues; things Shlichter talks about in the present tense that either probably or definitely don't exist today. One reviewer said that the stuff detailing music business things like recoupable debt was not fun, and I thought so too, at first; but then I decided I liked the his sort of nebbishy attitude about the business and the process. If I were gonna be famous I'd be popping tums like crazy too. But really, in music, 1998 seems like a thousand years ago. The book doesn't help us view it through that lens, which makes the reader wonder whether they should bother since it seems likely that things have changed. (less)
Full disclosure: I only read this because I can't get enough Dylan O'Brien and I know he's wrapped filming on this.
The plot and pacing of this book d...moreFull disclosure: I only read this because I can't get enough Dylan O'Brien and I know he's wrapped filming on this.
The plot and pacing of this book deserve kudos. I liked the mystery, the absurdness of the situation, and the characters' human reactions to it. But the dialogue is painfully awkward. The "dialect" and slang are forced. (The actors will be really killing it if they can pull all that off.)
We have a lot of grey area between YA lit and regular old grown up genre fiction, but this is not in that grey area; and I can't blame it on Dashner being green, he's written a LOT of books. The writing is just not great.
I'm giving the three stars because the concept is so interesting. But I have to note one thing: if you're going to write a novel with a token female who's there to serve no other purpose than to be a motivator for the male hero, you need to wake up and remember it's 2013. Maybe there's some kind of reason for XX chromosome people to be so excluded, but I'm not sticking around to find out what it is. (less)
As a nurse, I was surprised the week of the NPR Fresh Air story to find all of a sudden that everyone I knew was asking me about this book about the n...moreAs a nurse, I was surprised the week of the NPR Fresh Air story to find all of a sudden that everyone I knew was asking me about this book about the nurse who murdered people. Already being a true crime fan, I had to go out and get this immediately. I was not entirely disappointed, although I felt the book had a few flaws.
The first half of the book chronicling Cullen's career prior to law enforcement getting involved has a weird cadence to it that was a little ragged. The notes were frustratingly frequent and often contained information that could have easily been part of the narrative; so flipping back and forth to them was irritating. Half the time it was information I really wanted, so I felt like I couldn't ignore them and just straight read.
But once the police detectives get involved, the book really takes off, and the narrative is more smooth, perhaps because the author had more primary source material. After that it's a real page turner, and took the book from 3 to 4 stars.
People might read the blurb about this book and wonder how in the heck this guy could get away with this for so long. To someone in the field, it's a rich unstated commentary about the dearth of experienced specialized nursing staff and about the development of health care safety technology and law. And, of course, about Cullen's unchecked, untreated mental illness. But this book has a "just the facts" quality to it that doesn't delve into all that. Believe me, the facts are enough to carry the book; but the more thoughtful reader might come away thinking "I have a few more questions about that."
For those who've finished the book in particular, I wonder: Why all the lotion???
The book also manages to have a little coda on the end about one of Cullen's efforts after his incarceration that I felt was well-written food for thought. Stick with it through the end, it's worth the read.(less)