Amanda's Reviews > Hell's Corner

Hell's Corner by David Baldacci
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May 16, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, borrowed
Read on May 14, 2011

Actual rating: 2.5

Despite the fact this book is the 5th book in a series, it stands on its own quite well. There was some character building that I obvious missed by not reading previous books, but it was not detrimental to the plot line. What I did struggle with, however, was the short chapters. This wasn’t James Patterson short chapters where there is often a new chapter every couple pages, but there are 103 chapters in 438 pages. If I were to channel Tara on this, I think I would term it “Short Chapter Syndrome.” Short chapters splinter my attention and makes it harder for me to keep reading. The end of chapters should propel readers forward, making it irresistible to turn the page and keep reading. Short chapters have the opposite effect on me – rather than being drawn into the story, I get bored and set the book down for a few minutes before continuing.

When I’m not drawn into a story, I start getting more critical because I am less emotionally involved. David Baldacci’s writing style was great, but I experienced a few hiccups along the way. The use of exclamation marks by Oliver Stone, the legendary ex-spy, is an example. If you’ve been trained to keep a cool head, barking out your surprise over something just doesn’t make sense to me. The plot itself was intriguing and actually probably one of the better parts of the book. I liked Oliver Stone, but his character felt distant and like he held things back from us, the reader. This could certainly be intentional, but one could also see by his actions that he was perhaps not as distant as it first may seem. On this point, I wonder if not reading previous books is the culprit here – would I connect with Oliver Stone more if this wasn’t my first Camel Club book? I don’t have an answer for that.

This high stakes game, meeting with the president, the involvement of high ranking government officials, so much death… it was hard to swallow as possible. That this was a fictional novel was always at the back of my mind, which is silly, because I’ve swallowed less likely books as plausible. Again, this could just be the degree that I was drawn into the book. It’s the author’s job to draw their readers into the world he or she has created. What draws in readers will differ. For me, I wasn’t engaged. But I have no doubt that many people out there would love this book.

See my review in its entirety here: http://onabookbender.com/2011/05/18/r...
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