Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Report #32 - Beneath A Weeping Sky


Zafiro had me at page one, up until now.

It's not really his fault; the book is written very well and there is a greater ease to his writing.  You can see that he is growing as an author - he's telling a story much more than in previous books where it felt like he was explaining the story.  By the end of the book he's allowing his characters to make a joke without telling us that he's making a joke.

It took me weeks to read the novel.  I just kept putting it down and leaving it for days at a time because it suffered from two major flaws.

Flaw #1 - it was too damn long.  This thing weighs in at 460 pages!  I am of the mind that if you can't tell a story (especially a cop story) in 300 pages or less you're not trying, or your editor took the week off, or you're just trying to up your page count.  Either way I found myself wishing the author would just get to the point.  Even the denouement went on for over 30 pages!

I know that fiction readers like a longer books, it makes them feel like they are getting a better deal on the purchase price of the book.  But for me, the opposite is true; the thinner the book the more "potent" the story.  Why mess around and fill the book with fluff?  Tell me the story, don't tell me how the house was furnished - I don't care!

Flaw #2 - the story was about a serial rapist.  No different than a serial killer - the story is about a crazy guy.  I don't get crazy and I don't care about crazy.  Why?  Because they're C-R-A-Z-Y.  It's boring.  I'd much rather read about a sane person doing terrible things for a reason.  Nut-jobs with mommy issues are just not that interesting to me.  

To me.

Was it well written? Absolutely
Was it interesting?  Not to me but loads of people love this stuff.

What would have made it better?  250 pages less.

Had the book been shorter, much shorter, the story would not have dragged on and I would have been able to suspend my disinterest of crazy people.  I would have liked it a whole lot more.

Sorry Frank.

NOTE - Zafiro has three collections of short stories that I will purchase as ebooks.  I am by no means down on Zafiro just this novel.  It was a short story that drew me to his work in the first place.  I'm looking forward to reading more of his short work.

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