- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1159 KB
- Print Length: 551 pages
- Publisher: Createspace; 6 edition (1 Jan. 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00295RII6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #503,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£14.02|
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Out of the Black Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved the opening chapter where a fall from a high building is described in such a way that time flows very slowly and yet the description of the emotions and thoughts seems to extend the whole piece. Filmically, this would be in super super slow motion.
I'm assuming our writer was writing for film but for me it didn't really work.
This is a complete stand alone tale but its nicely open at the end. I would love to see what happens next.
More like this please Lee Doty!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Buy the book and see a new writer in proto form. I think Doty is going to be good - possibly even great - once he works out a couple of kinks. At this price, you can't hardly go wrong.
My only nitpick with "Out of the Black" is the omnipresence of '80's pop cultural references. For instance, Blade Runner: The Director's Cut" is a cult classic for my generation, but perhaps of limited wider appeal. Such references make "Out of the Black" less accessible to a wider audience, and may ultimately detract from the book's ability to stand the test of time.
I suspect Lee Doty is the outcome of a secret genetic experiment combining DNA from Richard K. Morgan and Dean Koontz. If so, he's an experiment gone happily awry. Doty's work combines the best of Morgan and Koontz, and exhibits a refreshing optimism and faith in humanity lacking in either. "Out of the Black" does not fit neatly into any single genre; no doubt this makes selling books tough for Mr. Doty. But for jaded readers lucky enough to find him, the result is pure delight. I can't wait for more.
It started out really well--so well, in fact, that I was quickly inspired to jot down the beginning of a glowing review. Just the prologue was so darn fascinating I immediately had to know more: In the opening scene, a man with superhuman powers flings himself out an 82nd-floor window to his death (apparently flying is not one of his super powers) to escape mysterious enemies. And I wanted to hug Doty for quickly introducing something rather rare: a likeable female character who's NOT tall, skinny, gorgeous, rich, and a genius to boot. She's Anne Kelley, an ordinary, depressed, overweight, night-shift phlebotomist on her way home from work. The falling man lands on the ground in front of her, and in the few seconds before he dies, he manages to bite her on the neck, passing on a certain *something*-- Disease? Curse? Microchip? Spirit?-- and a mysterious mission.
The first few chapters introduced some basic premises and plot lines with a lot of promise: First, mild-mannered family counseler-turned-homicide detective Ping Bannon (another likeable character with just enough background to make him real) is called to the scene of a particularly grisly and bizarre multiple murder. Second, across the city, a popular street drug called Harmony is creating really nasty effects in a growing percentage of its users, who have become known not-so-affectionately as Harms. Their violent, drug-fueled delirium makes PCP junkies look tame. They're being brought into local ERs in droves, and things look to be getting worse...
I really liked Doty's writing at first. In the first few chapters, he showed a wry, conversational story-telling voice that was down-to-earth without being dull, and clever without shouting, "Look at me, I'm so clever!" as so many clever writers are wont to do.
But not since A Tale of Two Cities has a story bolted so precipitously from the best of times to the worst of times. Starting around Chapter 5, everything goes south in a hurry. Now, from the halfway point, I've concluded this may very well be the worst book I've ever read. How does it go wrong? Let me count the ways...
Doty's writing quickly crosses the line from "just clever enough" to "way too clever," even "so self-consciously clever it's stupid." He's still basically a good writer, if he would only tone it down and not make the characters wisecrack as they're being knocked unconscious.
The plot quite suddenly falls apart into a chaotic mess that's little more than a jumble of hallucination sequences, gun fights, and car chases. Futuristic technology, magic, AND the undead? Really??? Okay, a skilled writer could craft a satisfying story out of any two of those story elements, but trying to throw in all three is just asking for trouble. And the technique of keeping the reader guessing as to what's really going on can be very effective when done well, but you have to keep the plot tightly organized and dole out enough tantalizing clues to connect a few dots and keep the reader going. Doty does neither. After slogging to the halfway point through a hail of bullets and a staggering but indeterminate number of corpses, I still have no idea WTH is going on. Some people are casting spells, others are using superhuman reflexes in fights, others are turning into some sort of demons, and we are given no idea why any of this is happening or who anyone really is... not one dot connected, not even a tantalizing glimpse to keep us going.
Finally, it's silly to set a story in a distant, high-tech future, go out of your way to make it clear that present-day culture largely does not apply, and then pepper the characters' conversations with references to millennium-era literature and movies, like Blade Runner, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and the like. Doty seems to be particularly taken with concepts from The Matrix, and he has virtually all the characters at different times doing super-slo-mo wall runs, bullet dodges, etc., just for fun. It works better as a movie effect than in a book.
As with a lot of the cheap Kindle books I've picked up lately, it has a problem with bad editing, which I don't understand because those unemployed English majors are still out there with their "Will edit for food" signs. But it's not as rife with typos and bad grammar as others I've read (and reviewed). But if I see it's instead of its one more time, I think I'm going to scream.
And all of that is just what's wrong with the first half of the book. I don't think I can stand anymore. I only made it this far because (a) I liked the beginning so much I really wanted it to get better, and (b) even after abandoning all hope of it getting better, I felt duty-bound to read enough so that I could write a well-informed review warning the Kindle book-reading public away from this atrocity. I suspect Lee Doty can do a lot better than this and I hope he will. Can I quit now, please?
If you're intrigued by the descriptions of the story, but you'd rather read something where the author got it mostly right instead of horribly wrong, try Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese, or Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Oh, and for those who liked the soundtrack to The Matrix: on the last page, the author writes his idea of the musicians who would do the soundtrack to a movie version of the book. I discovered Etnica and have been listening to them while I program. The Etnica Pandora channel is better then the Deep House, Drum&Bass, Juno Reactor, Crystal Method, or Psy Trance channels I've been listening to. So, I got a twofer with this book.
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