By Michael Bennett
Attempting to introduce balance into 2011’s reading, I decided to do a quick thriller to tune out for a few days and catch up a bit on my backlog. I am so very sad that I did. This book was pathetic. Warning, I didn’t finish this book and so it hardly counts as book 7. Still, I did get halfway thru and devoted 3 days to reading it so I decided to count it anyways. It was, seriously terrible. Before reviewing the book, let me introduce you to two types of genres that I love.
The first is Mindcandy. Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt stories are an example of this type of story. The plot line is wildly unrealistic, the characters are deliciously cheesy, the villains are appropriately villainous, and the guy always gets the girl and/or good always triumphs over evil. I love it! It is as Mindcandy should be and I very much enjoy it. Just as I don’t expect a McDonald’s cheeseburger to delicately introduce me to the wonders of fine dining, but enjoy it very much nonetheless…that’s how I feel about Mindcandy books.
On the other end of that spectrum there are fabulous thrillers that are so horrifying to read and so well written that you just. can’t. put. them. down. And night after night you lose increasing hours of sleep trying to get to the end hoping and praying that everything turns out all right. ‘Hannible’ is an excellent example of this type of book.
I like both genres, though the latter is a bit more suited to plane-rides and vacations as I can quickly become obsessed with them.
This ridiculous book fell way before the Mindcandy spectrum attempting to meet the qualifications of the ‘Fabulous Thriller’ category. The result was dismally-written dialogue with a copycat plot line and seriously brutal murder scenes that took all pleasure out of reading the rest of the book.
I draw certain lines in books. I don’t like reading about a certain variety of scenes, and top on that list are when kids get hurt/abused/killed, even if it is just fiction. The world can be cruel enough to kids without exploiting them in storylines as well. I despise books that utilize that kind of emotion to illustrate just how bad a character is. It’s ridiculous. A well-written author need not stoop to that level as a well-written book simply doesn’t need it. The scenes are tense and the reader’s vivid imagination is fully utilized. THAT is art in writing. Michael Bennett clearly doesn’t have that kind of skill. He killed off a 4-year old girl halfway thru the book, committing a cardinal sin of writing.
So I shut it down. Nope, didn’t finish the book. Don’t want to. At halfway thru, someone else would have had to take over the writing in order to finish it off in any sort of decent matter but to be honest, I just wasn’t interested enough to persevere. So don’t read this book. Avoid it and apply your time to a Crichton book you haven’t read yet or even a Cussler book you haven’t read (he cranks out 1-2 a year so you have plenty to choose from).
I’m heading back into the world of science for another book or two, reading ‘The Elegant Universe’ by Brian Greene. More to follow shortly…