Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Reviews

Often the worst thing us writers can do is to ask a neighbor, who has never written a book review, to read our masterpiece of fiction and then post a review online for the world to read. This is like asking someone who has never baited a hook, to describe their favorite fish bait and why. Unfortunately, we get the crazy idea that since our neighbor enjoys our casserole dish the third Friday of every month, we assume that same neighbor will also devour our novel with a similar zeal.

Here is an example of why asking your neighbor to write a book review is not the same as inviting them over for dinner.

My neighbor's book review:

I fell off a ladder and broke my leg. My neighbor, Jack LaBloom, in exchange for raking my leaves, asked me to read his book and write a review. First off, I was shocked to learn Jack had written a book. How can a man, who can't write a check that won't bounce, possibly write a novel?

Anyway, here is my review of Jack's romantic suspense novel, ON THE RUN TWENTY WAYS FROM SUNDAY.

This story is about Jack and Janet. There is a warrant out for Jack's arrest. The reader has no idea if the warrant is for unpaid parking tickets or capital murder. I assumed the worst. Otherwise, I would have quit reading right then and there. There is nothing exciting about unpaid parking tickets.

Janet, has an old beat-up car and a credit card she stole from her ex-boyfriend, Bruce. Before leaving town to get away from Bruce, Janet charged a few clothes on the card at a women's petite apparel shop located on the corner of Main and Twenty-eighth street. Two days later, she purchases a burger twelve hundred hundred miles away in another state. No wonder she has to shop for clothes in a store for petite women. If she is only eats one burger every two days, it's a miracle she is alive. Anyway, she is keeping to the back roads, heading west. Apparently, her choices in men verges somewhere between bad and awful. She has it in her head all the good men must live out west.  Therefore, her plan is to drive all the way to California for a fresh start, get away from snake man, and find mister right.

Bruce, the bad guy in this story, has a tattoo of a rattlesnake that goes across his back and down both arms. The rattlers are shown on the back of his left hand and the head of the snake is depicted on the back of his right hand. Rattlesnake man is tracking Janet by monitoring her purchases on his credit card.

Well, as luck would have it, Jack and Janet both end up at one of those One Stop gasoline station/store, located way off the main highway somewhere in Texas. The reader does not know this until a dust cloud that was formed around the gas pumps clears. Janet pulls her car to a stop in front of the gasoline pump. That is when the reader gets a glimpse of Jack's truck and a sign that reads Gas up Now Last Stop for a 150 Miles.

Jack, who is a lot better looking than snake man, walks into the store to buy a bag of peanuts. I don't know why he was only buying peanuts. That was not explained in the story. My first thought was why not buy gas while you're at the only gas station around for the next hundred and fifty miles?

Jack and Janet bump into each other near the checkout counter. She stares at him, and he gazes at her. Based on a long descriptive paragraph about facial expressions, they obviously have an instant attraction for each other. Her pleasant looking facial expression does not last long, after he opens his mouth and speaks. Jack tells her that her car has a flat tire. She gets upset and appears frightened. She assumes Bruce has found her car, slashed her tire, and is waiting for her to come outside. Finally, there is some suspense on page six.

False alarm, turns out she just ran over a nail. The short-on-front-teeth old coot who owns the gas station tells Jack and Janet he had a new roof put on the store last month, and the boneheads, who did the work, left a few roofing nails in the driveway. Due to having a bad back, he has not been able to bend over to pick all of them up. This explanation made sense to me, because I wondered how a nail would suddenly appear out of nowhere and get into her car tire.

Jack gets his hands and face dirty while changing the tire on her car. She is really beginning to like him now. That dirt smudge across his forehead probably sealed the deal. After placing the flat tire in her trunk, for some reason, his truck won't start. That is something else that's not explained in the story. I wanted to know why his vehicle wouldn't start. Made no sense to me that his newer, dent-free, Ford F-150 extended cab truck wouldn't start, and her old beat-up clunker cranked right up. In my opinion, this part of the story is very unrealistic. My Ford truck has never failed to start one time since the day I bought it in 1995. Then it comes to me. If they had left in Jack's truck, snake man might never be able to catch up with them and there would be no more suspense.

All that was in the first chapter, which is as far as I've read. It's hard to keep reading after taking pain pills. At this point I'm thinking three stars, but after I wake up and read some more, who knows, it could go either way.

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