I am about a third of the way through “Skin in the Game” by Tomas Byrne, but I’m not sure I will be able to finish it.
At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Dr. Kate Farrow, a psychologist who has been assigned to obtain information from a patient named Jack Pierce. She has been told the job involves national security, and Jack is hiding secrets that need to be discovered. Her purpose is to discover those secrets.
However, the book begins to get bogged down in several problems from page one of chapter one.
The first problem is dialog. In most of the dialog, the author doesn’t indicate who is talking, either by having the speaker address who he’s speaking to by name, or referencing who is talking. I spent most of my time trying to determine who was speaking. I soon found myself jumping ahead to see if I could find a landmark.
The second problem is the details of the plot. The author has taken a parallel approach, using two brothers, Sam and Joe, to move the novel along. Why is that a problem? Joe is actually Jack, which isn’t a problem. However, the time line of Joe and Jack appear to be parallel. Joe doesn’t do flashbacks of his life as Jack; the author makes it appear things happening to Jack are occurring at the same time as the things happening to Joe. Very confusing.
The final problem is the author’s use of personal pronouns instead of proper names. He, she, her, his might be used in three or four paragraphs without referencing who he or she was. Add the lack of proper names to dialog without referencing the speakers name and the result is total confusion.
I think the author has an achievable goal in mind, with an interesting plot, but the mechanics of achieving that goal make the whole project impossible to finalize. He has two parallel novels happening in one book. Perhaps creating two books, a serial, would solve the double layered novel problem. At best, I can award only 2 stars for this endeavor.