Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
Okay let’s just say for a moment that someone can write really well – well beyond your average “good writer.” And they have the imagination, patience, and craftsmanship to create characterization, atmosphere, plot, and a unique kind of Mojo that makes the story and its elements Their Own. This person has a preferred genre and decides to pursue writing in said genre. A book publisher takes them on, they acquire an agent, and begin to get published, then noticed – even if in a small way.
This person is every young writer’s dream. Does that make his or her books good?
A few posts back in the blog I did one of these little reviews on Mr. Smith’s book “The Killing Kind”. It might be kind of a strange commentary, but if you read it right you can tell that I really, really liked it. (But it is not for you.) Afterwards I tried read “Soul Taker,” and could not finish it. Didn’t even bother to try and write about it.
That brings me to “The Freakshow”.
Bryan Smith can write really well – well beyond your average “good writer.” And they have the imagination, patience, and craftsmanship to create characterization, atmosphere, plot, and a unique kind of Mojo that makes the story and its elements Their Own.
For the first quarter of the book I really admired that. As the first half came around I started to get somewhat bored, but still intrigued. Then came the repugnant gross-out scenes – that I expected from this writer – but I didn’t give a fuck about the characters. I hardly knew who they were. Josh, John, Harley, Craig, Cammy, Trevor, Timmy, Shelia – I don’t fucking know! Half those names aren’t even in the book.
I skimmed the last quarter – which, to some, and to some extent myself included, may make this piece of writing irrelevant – but still found nothing interesting. Seemed like boring Brian Keene.
Whatever got you going to write “The Killing Kind,” Mr. Smith, do more of it. (Unless of course your friends and family and doctors have been begging you to stop for years.) Your characters were great, the action was unstoppable. And no matter how dark and sick and degraded it got I couldn’t put it down. As I’ve put down many of Ed Lee’s novel’s, for reasons that are similar but don’t belong in this post.
(If I hadn’t read “The Killing Kind” I’m sure I’d be less ambiguous and more favorable about “The Freakshow”.)
So if Bryan Smith is ever reading this, as I’m sure won’t happen, I would ask to please contact me. He is a really great writer and I, as a long aspiring writer, would like to learn a thing or two about him and from him; and also what went into each novel that made me – personally – feel how I do about them.
Another book soon…
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