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January 31, 2018

To continue in the same thread as Description – When Do You Zone Out, I ran across the perfect example. The day I started that article, I also started what I thought was a science fiction thriller. It turned out to be a literary speculative slog of a character study.

It not only described the room, but rambled on and on and on and on and on about each character, and then went on to ramble about the philosophy behind the science of the plot. A red flag should’ve been that the author has a PHD. I’ve run across this before with another “thriller” writer. In this other case, his books ramble so much, I could barely get through them, though at least there’s a bit more action than this five-hundred page tome. The only reason I finished this one was because I paid for it.


Though I should say right up front, I’m no fan of literary fiction, for those of you that are, this book might’ve been right up your alley. It was page after page after page of internal feelings of each character. Mixed in were detailed descriptions of each location and on top of that, the philosophy behind what they were doing.

This amounted to very long chapters, long paragraphs, and almost no action.

To make things worse, the author followed no particular point of view, though it was at least third-person, past-tense. However, when the POV was in one character’s head, as soon as another character showed up, the author popped right into their head and then back to the other character without changing scenes or chapters.

The point is that while I dragged through page after page of inner thoughts and feelings of a character, I kept waiting for something to happen. I was actually paging ahead, looking for something…some kind of break to see if anything was going on.


The premise of the book was interesting. I’ll give the author that. There was also a good bit of technical discussion thrown in. However, it was, like the character thoughts, buried in page after page after page of rambling exposition. Need I say more?


I think, or at least thought this was supposed to be a thriller.


Though there were several very tense scenes, or what should’ve been tense scenes, guess what happened? At the worst possible time, the author stopped the action to go off on a ramble with character. Yup, right when things might’ve picked up and he could’ve generated some decent tension and thrills, he brought all that to a screeching halt to go off on another character study with thoughts, feelings and emotions. The result was that every…and I mean EVERY thrilling scene became a total dud.


This book could’ve easily been two hundred and fifty instead of five hundred plus pages. Then, given the ending, while semi-satisfying, could’ve been salvaged to make this a decent thriller.

I almost put the book down several times. Throughout, I drifted…a lot. However, I also forced myself to pay attention, especially in the first half in case I missed some key plot point, which I didn’t. The main reason I never put it down, was, like I said before, because I paid for it and wanted to get my money’s worth.

Well, I got it in words.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

You shouldn’t torture your readers. You shouldn’t make your readers suffer to get to the end.

Do you think I’m just too biased? Uh, I don’t think so, given the reviews I saw before I posted my own two-star on Amazon. The author garnered plenty of five star reviews, of course, because there are those that love the literary side of things. However, the majority of those that like thrillers and getting to the point sure voiced their displeasure and it showed in the one and two star reviews. Mine among them.

If only somewhere on the cover, the description included “literary” I could’ve saved my money and this never would’ve happened. There are plenty of tomes out there that do exactly that. Right there on the cover is the word “literary.” That’s my kryptonite. I know to avoid that book at all costs. If that were somewhere on this book, either in the blurb or in the endorsements, I could’ve saved some bucks I would’ve used better for something I’d have enjoyed.

A little truth in advertising never hurts.

Happy writing!

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