Hello everyone. Today, I have three book reviews for you. Interestingly enough, the famous author–traditionally published–was a huge let-down for me, while the two indie books I’m also reviewing here were fun to read. So, despite oft-repeated negative hype, I have to say, the Indies are winning! In order of lowest to highest ratings, here we go for James Patterson, D L Finn, and Beem Weeks.
Criss Cross by James Patterson
Many thanks to NeGalley and Random House for an ARC of this book.
The terrible formatting on this advanced review copy made reading incredibly difficult. So many paragraphs lacked spaces completely, so that all the words ran into one another for line after line, meaning IfirsthadtodecipherwhatthewordswerebeforeIcould read the actual story. (I’m sure my example shows the point!) Annoying, frustrating, and utterly ridiculous. What’s the point of sending out advanced review copies if the reviewers can’t actually read the book?
Okay, rant over on the lack of formatting. Now onto the book itself …
This being a James Patterson novel, I had high hopes. Those hopes were to be dashed upon the rocks of let-down and boredom. It was an okay read, but not one that gripped me or pulled me in or entertained. The plot was predictable. The characters are card-board cut outs and replicas of one another. I didn’t feel any connection to any of them and, thus, couldn’t care less what happened to them. One of the comments in the ‘praise’ section at the front of the book claims that Mr Patterson is the gold standard by which all others are judged. All I can say is, I hope that bar gets raised again and soon. Otherwise we’re all in trouble.
It gets two stars from me.
Red Eyes in the Darkness by D L Finn
This is a lovely quick read. The story opens in the middle of events after a relative has been killed by the ‘It’ with red eyes. An elderly couple are suspected by the police. We enter this spooky tale with the predator in their house. The narrative moves at a good pace, and I finished this in one sitting. I would have preferred a less passive resolution which involved the couple more, however.
A great book to pick up and entertain you when you don’t have the time to open a full-length novel. It gets a solid 3.5 stars from me, rounded up to four for rating purposes. It was good, and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.
Strange Hwy by Beem Weeks
Each and every story hit the mark, and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
The author, Beem Weeks, has a knack of evoking emotions and making you feel for his characters in few words, and his attention to detail is awe inspiring.The stories are varied in the topics they cover and range from death by overdose and the grieving yet relieved mother, child abuse, struggling due to lack of money, guilt at causing a loved one’s death, and on and on.This book of short stories will stay with me for a long time, and it gets a solid five stars from me. I shall be looking out for more great reads from this author.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.