Monday, June 20, 2011

The Candle Maker's Son

Plot: A powerful patriarch hires a scientist to investigate a rare swatch of fabric. Muslim terrorists in Mexico vie for plates to counterfeit American one hundred dollar bills to fund their jihad. A thief steals a priceless flag (from where the swatch was obtained) from a Mexican museum only to discover his girlfriend (the patriarch's granddaughter) has been kidnapped by the Mexicans who want the plates they think he stole from the Arabs they killed in a double cross.

Sound convoluted? I thought so, too. The cover looked interesting and the title drew me in. However, what I thought might be another take on "The Da Vinci Code" turned out to be a messy plot and weak writing. The story is a bunch of loosely tied together scenes that leave you wondering about their importance and why the author spent as much time detailing them only to move onto something else.

Garlon Puckett: Wealthy patriarch, influential in many circles. Interested in obtaining a flag from a Mexican museum and hires a scientist to authenticate a piece of the flag. (How the swatch got taken from the flag is not known). He also has an employee tracking down his granddaughter. (No reason given.) No real background of where he obtained his money or his powerbase.

Conner Hockaday: An ex Navy officer in the Special Forces in Iraq (Yes, I know Special Forces is Army, I'm just telling you what was written), boyfriend of Kalee, and thief. His naval background and skills are barely touched upon and you don't learn what he's been up to except stealing a flag.

Kalee: Granddaughter of Garlon. Touring Mexico with her friends (who never enter the picture). Comes across as sassy and defiant and though creative in an escape attempt, is unbelievable when in dire straits.

Escobar: Bad guy Mexican.

Speicher: Hired by Puckett to report on Kalee. Don't really know too much about him.

Basically, 'don't know too much' says it all about each character. The descriptions are surface. You don't really get to know the inner person, their emotions, desires, dreams. You have a few terrorists who seem important, until they die early on. The reader doesn't really care about any character's fate.

They also act incorrectly. Kidnappers will not give a deadline of a week to receive a ransom. It is too much time to A. care for the person kidnapped, and B. allow the authorities or the hero to intervene.

Weak. Trite. No depth. Standard playbook phrasing. No real emotion felt.

I think this is the major downfall of the book and what really set me against it. I know many books contain punctuation and spelling errors the editor(s) somehow missed, but there are way too many obvious mistakes in this book, including incorrect punctuation at the end of sentences and dialogue, and misuse of commas and ellipses. However, beyond this, there are problems with sentence structure. Some of the sentences don't make sense to the topic being discussed or the language and phrasing are weak. There are a lot of unnecessary wording in many sentences. The author tries to put too much information into one sentence and ends up confusing the reader. The action is passive. He uses incorrect dialogue tags. Example: The next morning Carlos Mendoza, and two of his men were eating breakfast, when he said to one of them, "Get me a newspaper. I want to see what is written about the terrible event of yesterday," he sarcastically said, guiding the food-laden fork to his mouth.

The reference to the title is mildly interesting, but the use of it at the end is trite and banal. The author sets up a sequel, but after reading this first book, the reader won't care.

My ranking:

White Belt

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