Customer Review

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lone voice (so far!), 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: Twisted Wing (Paperback)
I'm afraid I have to disagree with all the other reviews here. Yes, the central idea is fantastic - but what about the writing?

The first half of the book, in particular, is terrible. I found it impossible to `see' the action happening, and to get into the world of the story, because the author failed to paint a picture of anything - settings, characters, situations etc. I'm not someone who likes a lot of description - I just need to be able to visualise things. For example, a crucial crime scene is described as a room up a staircase in Ariel College - `a room bustling with people' - and that's it. In my mind's eye I imagined some sort of common room, but later discovered it was a bedroom.

There was a lot of this kind of confusion. I assumed that the body Denison and Weathers looked at in the first chapter was that of Amanda because the investigators kept asking people about their relationships with her - but I later realised that Amanda died years earlier.

This bit of text illustrates the general confusion created by the bad writing throughout the book:

`...Parrish was sitting on the last step of the victim's staircase.'
`So either he saw the killer...' said Denison.
`... or he is the killer,' finished Ames.
`Not necessarily,' protested Halloran... `The rooms on the south side of the building have windows out into the street.'
`Or,' said Weathers. `The killer could have hidden...'

At first I wondered what relevance the windows had to this character maybe being the killer. Then I realised that the `Not necessarily' speech by Halloran is a real howler of a non-sequitur. To correct this, the remarks by Denison and Ames need to be switched (`So either he is the killer...'/ `...or he saw the killer')

The characters are one-dimensional and I didn't care about any of them. The writing often descends into clichés (e.g. the room that was `bustling with people'; colour `draining away' from faces) and there is absolutely no sense of menace until right at the end. I felt the author really got into her stride only in the last few chapters - and even then, the writing wasn't great.

I did enjoy the little bits of psychology that pepper the book, and the twists in the plot, but otherwise it was a chore to read. Presumably the publisher was `hooked' by the premise and so was able to overlook the flaws in the writing, but as a reader I need to be pulled into the story's world if I am to enjoy it, and I can't think of another book I've read recently that failed so spectacularly to do this.

Sorry to go on, but in view of the overwhelmingly positive reviews here (which persuaded me to buy the book in the first place) I felt I had to explain my measly one star!
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Mar 2010 22:30:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Mar 2010 22:31:21 GMT
I agree......no characterisation or descriptions at all. I couldn't differentiate between the three characters in the first few chapters and feel like giving up. They're like cardboard cutouts. I shall attempt it again tonight but I'm not optimistic.

Posted on 9 Mar 2010 17:49:25 GMT
I agree totally. I stood in the book shop and read the first 8 pages, wow I thought this book looks great - how wrong I was that was the most exciting part, I found it so boring and mixed up that i actually fell asleep. I read alot because I dont like tv much and rarely have I had the misfortune to make such a bad choice. I have to say I am amazed it has such a high rating on here.

Posted on 25 Mar 2010 14:24:56 GMT
Reader 11 says:
I am watching with interest to see if more negative reviews will eventually appear. Thanks for these comments - for a while I wondered if I'd read a different book from everyone else!

Posted on 2 Apr 2010 00:02:37 BDT
Em says:
`...Parrish was sitting on the last step of the victim's staircase.'
`So either he saw the killer...' said Denison.
`... or he is the killer,' finished Ames.
`Not necessarily,' protested Halloran... `The rooms on the south side of the building have windows out into the street.'
`Or,' said Weathers. `The killer could have hidden...'
There's no non-sequitur here. This is a fast-moving conversation, rendered naturalistically. You can either regard Halloran's remark as a response to Denison's comment, but one which by the time he gets it out has been overtaken by Ames cutting in, or you can regard it as a response to the too simple analysis offered by Denison and Ames (that Parrish has to be the killer if he claims no one came past him). Not so, Halloran points out: the killer could have escaped through a window on the other side of the building. Then Weathers comes in with yet another possibility: the killer hid. Either way, nothing confusing, not bad writing.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2010 12:05:43 BDT
Reader 11 says:
Hi Tom. I still think it can be classed as a non-sequitur as it doesn't follow the previous statement (i.e. that by Ames). Maybe you're right and the author did intend your second interpretation - that Halloran's speech is a response to both the previous speeches - but if so I think the passage should have been rewritten to make this clear. To me, writing that isn't clear is bad.
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