But there’s also Debbie the Editor and Killjoy, whose fingers are sore from having to hold the red pencil so long. Her complaint board is really full. (The fact that I’m referring to this Debbie in the third person is a bit worrisome, and I’m cutting it out right now!)
Here are all the things that bugged me, and I mean really bugged me:
1 The characters, a married couple, are too black and white. There’s a good person who is pure saint, and there’s a bad person who is pure evil—the characters are one-dimensional and the behaviors are totally predictable. Bor-ing!
2 The story is told from alternating points of view of the abuser and the abused. I usually love this format, but here, the two characters’ stories are the same! One character tells the story and then the other just repeats it. Of course, we get the inner thoughts (the editorials) on the events, but they are totally predictable, especially since we have the good-bad dichotomy thing going. One person is irrationally angry and explosive, the other walks on eggshells and is nervous. Over and over.
3 I didn’t buy the way the abuser talks or thinks. Abusers do not think of themselves as control freaks. They wouldn’t use the word “control”, ever, yet here, time and again the abuser mentions that they want to control the other person. A lot of the time, the dialogue and internal monologues of the abuser sound like they were lifted out of a psych journal that’s explaining what goes on in an abuser’s mind.
4 The events are either way too predictable or way too stupid (and unbelievable). (view spoiler)[Of course Charlie’s business deal isn’t going to happen. Of course the mysterious pathetic guy isn’t going to go away. Of course Alex is up to no good. And I don’t buy that Charlie would meet with Alex in the first place. It’s not believable that the business guy didn’t get rid of the pathetic guy earlier, etc. etc. (hide spoiler)]
5 The writing seems amateurish. The language is too simplistic and often the dialogue sucks. There is too much explanation of things that are really obvious, and too much repetition. Sometimes when the story goes into a flashback, it’s a rugged transition and I lose my balance.
6 Where did the editor go? There are grammar problems, such as wrong noun and verb combos and wrong pronoun usage. And one of my biggest pet peeves appears a million times: the author uses “try and” instead of the correct “try to.” I admit I’m a nutcase when it comes to this: I’ll TRY TO stop being such a lunatic. I must remember, however, that I was reading an advance copy. I’m hoping the published version is cleaner.
7 Not an author problem at all, but still a big complaint: the Kindle version has a nasty issue—way too many times, spaces are missing between words. Believe me, this gets super annoying in no time. I’m hoping this is only a problem in the advance copy.
On the plus side, the author did an excellent job of creating a believable abuse victim and in describing their life and emotions. She pulled me right into their story and had me rooting for them all the way. There was one thing that didn’t ring true, and that bugged me—a lot. (view spoiler)[In the escape plan, Sal was simply going to move back in with the parents. In real life, the victim would be terrified of being killed, and the domestic violence advisers would tell the victim they had to disappear for a while. (hide spoiler)] This book might be cathartic for anyone who has been in or has helped someone in an abusive relationship.
The author also was good at creating tension: Despite my bouts of boredom and annoyance, there were many times when I was scared—a sign of a good thriller.
And about the high that Debbie the Thrill Seeker experienced: Once I was back on solid ground and the effect of the thrill started wearing off, I realized it was shock value that had me stirred up; I’m not sure the twist was all that believable.
Still, the thrill was so great and made me feel so damn good, I’m betting that others’ reactions will be identical and that this book is going to be a biggie. Combine the thrill with a fast, easy, and sometimes tense read, and you probably have a runaway winner.
Yeah, I’m still schizo. Damn! Debbie the Thrill Seeker gives this book a 5. Debbie the Editor and Killjoy gives it a 2. The thrill, though super intense and fantastic, was short-lived, and the bad stuff was steady and long, so Plain Old Debbie gives it 3 stars.