Saturday, April 19, 2014

I Give Up

It's not often I say those words. For the most part, once I pick up a book, I vow to wade through it so I can post some kind of review. I just couldn't do it anymore with this one. I've come close to it with The Last of the Mohicans. The flowery, verbose content makes following the thread of the story a little tedious but at least there's a easily discernible thread. This book I gave up on, I'm already a quarter of the way through the book and I still have no inkling where the story is going.

The first chapter is a great hook. This guy is running for his life chased by some people he's certain are going to kill him. He is outrunning them, but no one can run forever, so he's considering options. The second chapter moves to the guys doing the chasing. I don't have a problem with multiple POVs, but this story would have been better if it had backed up two or three chapters worth, because the back story starts getting kind of heavy here.

I've mentioned it before, the 'as you know' lead-in to some dialog is a sure give-away to too much back story. So these guys are chasing along a deserted beach in the middle of the night, and when they stop for a breather. THIS is when their leader decides to brief the rest of them on who they are chasing. It's hinted at that they all worked together, but that's no guarantee that they knew each other very well, and maybe it was only the leader their quarry worked with, but such a briefing should have happened before the chase. Now you have some high-end office dudes and ex-CIA chasing after an ex-fire-jumper with a black belt who loves to run.

Next we are introduced to the wife. She has to pack up the kids and go on vacation and then meet up with her husband in Mexico. Understandable, she is in the know, but here is where we get even loads more back story. We learn about her husband, a fellow fire-jumper who recently died, and the friend who will be house sitting while they're gone.

I'm sorry, is there a point to telling me all about this firefighter who died and the house-sitter who is about as footloose as an autumn leaf in a high wind? On the flight south, the wife makes the mistake of assessing her wonderful boys. Here we are supposed to see two brothers acting like typical boys on a plane. One got the window seat and one is bummed because he didn't, it wouldn't be so bad if that was the extent of it, but there's lots more where that came from.

And our runner? He's going through the want-adds looking for a car he can buy free and clear with cash, one discussion at a time.

I just can't see where this story is going. I am drowning in back-story and struggling to follow the thread of the plot. So, I gave up. There are more interesting books out there.

I hope your books don't lose your readers like this.

I switched to a book that could do with a visit to an editor, but it's not bad. The chapters are hopping around some, but I think there's a point to that. It's got my curiosity going anyway. Watch for a review from me.



William Kendall said...

It's rare that I give up on a book, but it happens. The last time was The Casual Vacancy, which just came across as unrelentingly depressing that I tossed it aside after a hundred pages.

Your reasons for this one seem valid.

Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

Anna L. Walls said...

Welcome aboard, Skyline :D

Willow Drake said...

I know how frustrating it is to give up on a book. I used to read through everything no matter good or bad, because I refused to give up until the last page. These days I sometimes have trouble getting through a really good book. Can't wait to start your next one.