Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review - Deadend

I've had a bad case of sore eye (conjunctivitis) for almost three weeks now. Only the right eye was affected (hence the singular form) and it's developed a blurriness that creates a circle around points of light. Doc says it'll go away eventually which is a relief. It's difficult to read the computer screen so I've been minimizing my computer time. I make up for the inactivity by reading books but I've read all of them already so I decided I'd download a couple of free ebooks from the internet and read with the bad eye closed. I was in for a disappointment.

I downloaded Robert C. Waggoner's Deadend, which was all of 2,452 words making it a sketch story instead of a short story. There's a Twilight Zone-quality to the story but falls flat on impact, at least for me.

There were a few misspelled words but the book is full of mispunctuations.  I can't claim to be an expert in that field but I'm familiar enough with comma use to know how important they can be. Grammar-wise, it's okay. I didn't find any sentences that tended to paralyze my tongue.

The author has some talent though. The story revolves around a series of strange experiences of a mother and her son. I actually got interested when they arrive home to find someone else living in their house. After that, the story starts to fail in the "believability" department.

I guess that's  my main problem with the book. If you come home and find someone else living in your house, what would you do? Confront him? Call the police perhaps? The mother doesn't do any of those things. She just breaks down and cries. Then she and her son decide to go to their neighbor's house but the familiar faces were not there.  Inside the house were the "strangers." They don't confront them but when they learn who the strangers are, they don't do the normal and sensible thing which is to try and escape. Instead they engages them in conversation! Most unbelievable is her son who seems excited to learn about all about the strangers. The story might have been better if mother and son had tried to escape and the strangers prevent them from doing that to avoid being discovered by other people.

Robert C. Waggoner states his location as being in the Philippines though he also says he is "out of country." I guess that means he's not a Filipino. I can't tell his nationality from his picture but he seems to be an American.

Mr. Waggoner, you've got enough raw talent to be a good storyteller. I suggest you get beta-readers to give an honest opinion before you publish. Good luck.

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