Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Who Was the Winner of Your Reading Derby This Week?

    Ended up hosting a reading derby this past week--with two books instead of seventeen. Started reading one book by a favorite author but ended up skimming it more than reading because the book emphasized action rather than character development. Maybe that's one problem for long running series--readers become more interested more in what's happening to the people in the book rather than sis-boom-bah action scenes running one after the other--and they fizzle? At least it was for me. [I did finish and enjoy the book, but it was an also ran.]

   The winner was Kay Hooper's  A Deadly Web , part of her new Bishop Files series. The story's a nice, tight thriller with Bishop trying to find out why psychics are going missing. The plot pits him against a deadly web of psychics preying upon psychics. I get a little tired of conspiracy theories in real life, but where would genre fiction be without them?

   I don't think the people in peril plot line ever gets tiresome once a writer sets up a likable set of characters. In A Deadly Web, you have an attractive main character who needs saving from a fate worse than death, which is more nefarious than the cliche. Since the book fits in the romance-suspense-thriller category, there's a caring male to anchor the MC, a character who is working with another psychic group than Bishop's to save psychics. Even the members of the cabal of villains are interesting and well drawn .

   Problem. Too much talking. Hooper weighed this book down with too much character and not enough action. Worse, the ending seems to dangle without a real resolution. Another way of putting it, the characters didn't seem to grow from their experiences. Granted Hooper needs some loopholes to hook readers for the next book in the series. But to me, the book felt 3/4s baked. Only the end sank rather than the middle.

   The multiple changes in viewpoint also bothered me. Even the secondary characters got their place in the sun. Often felt like Hooper was head-hopping. Thrillers need to get into the perps' minds to create suspense, but this story seemed to be spending as much time on the villains as the heroes. If I counted the pages, I'm sure this wasn't true, but it still felt like it.

   That said, let's talk about the pluses. Hooper's a master at creating a spine-crawling sense of dread in the reader. She sets up a menacing situation and then squeezes it dry. And, Hooper knows how to convey psychic sensibilities so they seem possible even to non-believers.

Recommend in spite of reservations. The book kept me reading well beyond my bed time so I guess it means the book is better than most. But the book definitely isn't Hooper's best.


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Did you hear my scream: "Finally, *#(&%"?

    GoDaddy's advanced tech support finally fixed my webbuilder so it stayed fixed. The new excerpt of my working draft of On the Run is now up. Now I have to start thinking about longlines. All of this is subject to change of course because Pillar may surprise me against with an insight I never dreamed of when I started the story. For once my reviewers might be happy. The story is threatening to be longer than my other self-published pieces, thus taking care of my biggest criticism in my reviews. My stories should be longer.

   Did get a nice review for The Ghostcrow at TMBA Corbett. I always find it interesting when others find my fantasy realistic. Oh, you have to scroll down through all the book promo stuff to get to the review since it's part of a blog tour.

Now all I have to do is get writing on my new stuff.
Does that sound familiar?
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