I have decided to review the books I am reading as part of my focus to learn more about writing. (The blogs posts are available on http://thebookreviewersclub.wordpress.com if you’d like to learn what started my attempt to become a better writer.)
This is the first book review of a new series, but will not be the last.
The Assassin is about a man who worked for the CIA as, what else?, an assassin. When he decided he no longer wanted to work for the CIA, he settled down, got married for the second time, and went to work in a job totally unrelated to his previous work. However, his past caught up with him. While he was vacationing with his new wife, his son was brutally murdered. As we join the book, the assassin is focused on finding the man who murdered his son.
The PROs of the Assassin:
It has good action. The hero gets into several fights, shoots a few people, and otherwise is in peril several times in the book.
Unfortunately, action is the only pro I could bestow on the book.
The CONs of the Assassin.
I read the book on both my Kindle-powered Android tablet and my Kindle-powered PC. In both cases, none of the paragraphs were indented. The only way I knew new thoughts were being presented was the length of the preceding sentence. That little gab of white space was the sole divider. It was a very difficult book to read.
I noticed three things in the Assassin that went against everything I have learned about writing.
First, there was far too much telling, and not enough showing. In numerous cases, the telling covered three or four pages, and got very boring. I consistently flipped to the next page. I was confident I would not miss anything, and I don’t think I did. The rule “Show, Don’t Tell” was missing.
Second, I was constantly looking for punctuation errors and/or missing words. Here’s an example from the book:
He turned to his daughter, “See, Zarin, Faizan graduated with honors in Computer Science.”
What did I see wrong with that sentence? Punctuation. The comma after daughter should be a period. If the author wants to use a comma, he might have written the sentence this way:
He turned to his daughter and then said, “See, Zarin, Faizan graduated with honors in Computer Science.”
Here’s a second illustration of missing words. See if you can find the missing word(s).
“Well,” Doerr said. “The FBI guy, Louder, is refusing issue the APBs and I need some help on that.”
(My answer can be found at the end of this blog.)
Why is bad punctuation and missing words important? I think, in my case, I am not reading the book for my enjoyment, but for the opportunity to discover more errors.
Third, the author consistently omitted articles (such as the or an/a). I got the impression the author was writing from a language that didn’t always say the house or the car.
Fourth, there was little character development. My suggestion for the author is to read Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint, by Nancy Kress. Not once in the novel did I feel an attachment to any of the characters.
Finally, the author created paragraphs interspersed with dialog and action. Because dialog is showing, I think it should be its own entity, not included in a paragraph describing two people sitting around the dinner table. Or, as my editor told me: Dialog starts a new paragraph unless it is a single thought related to an activity. (See dialog above.)
I can’t giver the book more than 2 out of 5 stars. It might be a good book, if the reader can overlook the problems. I looked at it, and thought back to the first book I wrote, The Pendergast Prerogatives. I see a lot of my initial efforts to be an author in this novel. I think there are many things the author could do to create a better book.
Sorry, Mr. Deb. If you see this review, I hope you don’t take it personally. There are several books available that will give you some additional details of what I have said about your novel. You have a good foundation for your novel.
My solution to the second illustration requires the addition of one word:
“Well,” Doerr said. “The FBI guy, Louder, is refusing to issue the APBs and I need some help on that.”