- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 573 KB
- Print Length: 280 pages
- Publisher: Scunchester Press; 2nd edition (27 Mar. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004U7M0NE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #228,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Time Gentlemen (The Adventures of Jack and Joe Book 1) Kindle Edition
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As sci-fi it fails because the science doesn’t work. History and the future are tampered with and no consequences occur which, as all Dr Who fans can tell you, is wrong. You can’t mess around with time without there being consequences.
Finally the comedy. That starts well enough too, but the one liners become few and far between and stop being funny. Then the author starts to rely on slapstick. There’s nothing wrong with slapstick, but it’s a visual form of comedy. What might be a great gag on film or TV doesn’t work on the page, and this is amply demonstrated many times over.
The lead characters are two brothers, Jack and Joe. Visually they’re the Blues Brothers and lead similar ramshackle lives. As detectives they’re so inept that they would make Clouseau look like a genius. Inept detectives are hard to manage properly anyway, but when they’re on BOGOF it doesn’t make them easier to manage. They’re just too thick to make the plot (such as it is) work. I won’t spoil the plot, but let’s say that I wouldn’t hire Jack and Joe to find my cat, let alone investigate a murder, which is what they start out doing.
There’s a sub plot about a character in a PC game (part of the Sci-fi thread) called Alyssa who seems to serve no purpose other than to provide someone for Jack to ogle. The PC game features heavily towards the end of the book to no purpose whatsoever.
The baddies aren’t even one dimensional they’re so badly written. Baddies are important people in a book. If you don’t understand them then the plot doesn’t work. So why does the “Instructor” want to rule the world? Where did he come from, when and how? Who are the three goons he uses? Who created the PC game and why is Alyssa’s character so important to it?
It’s easy to see the influences in this book. The Blues Brothers I’ve already mentioned, Clouseau of course, Ghost Busters, The Matrix, Dr Who, Avatar, Tron, Red Dwarf, Lara Croft and others. Perhaps this is where the problem lies. With so many influences being drawn on we don’t end up with a nice crisp story, we end up with a porridge of stories, all fighting to be the most important and each getting lost in the hubbub. The book doesn’t even serve as an homage to its own influences because it doesn’t treat them with respect.
The writing style, generally, is sound and there’s the germ of a good book somewhere, but not here. I probably shouldn’t offer advice, but my advice to Craig P Kelly would be to pull the book from Amazon, go back to basics and decide what story he wants to tell, then tell it without bringing in all the distractions. Cut it by a third, smarten Jack and Joe up in terms of their intellect, draw the other characters better, sharpen up the one liners and get rid of the slapstick. Who knows, you might end up with a real 5* read. A sequel is hinted at – I may have to emigrate to avoid it.
The elevator pitch for this might read something like `Bill And Ted meets Only Fools And Horses'. But to use an elevator pitch would be to suggest this madcamp romp travels only in the vertical. Whereas it loops and spirals and tangles like a ball of wool batted around by the cat that makes its appearance somewhere in the middle of proceedings.
The cat, to be fair, is a minor feature, but in reading you tend to want to take note of every little plot point because the author has woven (presumably with all that leftover wool) a temporal tapestry like a cross between the Bayeux and an Escher print.
But even if all that wool's been used up, it's not as though you'll need it to navigate your way through the labyrinth. In some respects, it's as simple as it is clever, with its helpfully straightforward delivery and an often conversational narrative and, like the famous Doctor Who scarf, follows a clear pattern. (And the Doctor Who influence is clear in the choice of time-travel vehicle - a grandfather clock, with an amusing cut-down version of the bigger-on-the-inside aspects of the TARDIS.) Sure, there are points where you wonder how the heck the author is going to bring the diverse elements together, but you're never lost.
The pattern also happens to be the story's key enemy: although it has the pace of a rollercoaster, it does tend to run fairly rampantly from chase to chase, with very little time for moments of suspense or anticipation. The velocity leads to a smattering of typo-like bumps on the track, but those are forgivable. What you get is a swift read, which is no bad thing, but with some sections that whiz by in a blur. Entertaining at the time, but ultimately remembered as lots of the same.
Fast and fun are the order of the day. While the `gentlemen' of the title come with hints of Del Boy and Rodney, the tale has shades of Dirk Gently - although it's less a Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul, more a Quick Light Flame-Grilled Whopper Of The Brain. With a colourful collection of crooks, swords and sorcerers, robots and rascals, private dicks and temporal tricks, the author keeps you guessing as to how he's going to tie it all together.
Indeed, he quite unashamedly doesn't. But I don't want to say too much about the loose threads as the author makes a great play on them. He's plainly the sort who takes great pleasure in leaving things dangling, but as long as he does it in the privacy of his own book, that's okay.
It's true, I do have to fulfil the time-honoured role, at the close of many a detective mystery, of the person who says, "But there's still one thing I don't understand." But, like a certain class of super-organised person on or around the 15th December, everything important is successfully wrapped up. And there is plenty in this rollicking adventure to fuel a sequel.
Time has been called. We just have to wait for the pub doors to open again.
One of the most interesting reads for me personally since Divine Comedies: "Here Comes the Sun", "Odd and Gods!": Omnibus 3
I cant recommend this enough even got my wife to buy a copy some thing you just don't share.
So buy this book is what i am essentially saying despite its randomn word lengths and lack of pictures
Five big gold stars from me
Hope this is considered a glowing review thats how i meant it to read, once again "GET THIS BOOK"
Containing some genuine laugh out loud moments, enjoyable characters, and a silly but enjoyable plot that moves jauntily along i don't hesitate in recommending this book. It's the only book I've ever read where I looked forward to reading the chapter headings.
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I will be looking for the sequel.