Monday, November 1, 2010

Disappointing Novel

My husband Terry and I go to Annapolis for every Navy home game. For years, we've sat with the same group of fans, all season ticket holders, so we have formed a transient yet compassionate community. Because the drive is five hours each way, we pick up audio books at the local library. It gives me a chance to try writers I've never read before. Most are good experiences. This week's entry wasn't.

I chose Ted Dekker's Bone Man's Daughter. I had never read any of his twenty books before. Billed as a thriller, it had a decent plot, good characters and enough action to keep us listening. It also had too many phrases repeated until they lost all meaning. I mean, how many times does the protagonist have to feel like throwing up until he does, Answer: not until halfway through the last disk.

The plot had enough red herrings to keep us guessing as to who the Bone Man was. And why he killed the way he did. But, the trauma inflicted on the protagonist to set the events in motion was belabored and told too many times. I just want to get on with the action.

I talked with Terry about my disappointment when we finished it. He said, "Now I know what you mean. Even a New York Times best-selling writer needs a good editor."

This book could have used a good editor. I'm not sure I'll ever pick up one of Ted Dekker's books again.


  1. Interesting post. I have favorite authors I read. Sometimes I wonder if they've truly written the book or if they just think the rules of plot and character development no longer apply to them--the big name writers. Often I will grab a novel by a debut author, not only because I hope to be one myself some day, but because I find they've followed all the rules. They've had to in order to get published, unlike prolific writers who sell on their name only.

  2. I agree with you, Vonnie. Those of us who aspire to be debut authors know that if we don't play by the rules, the odds are long that we will get published. Still, as readers' tastes change, it's good to know that we can keep up with them. I just wish more established writers felt the same. (And I don't mean those who have franchised their names and talent.)