The book-a-week challenge continues with Blind River, by Ben Follows.
The last thing Curtis Mackley wants to do is go home to Blind River. An FBI agent, he chose the Bureau over home many years before. But a knock on his door and a summons from his partner, Frankie Lassiter, sends Mackley to his home town. One by one, local teenage girls have gone missing. The local police have asked the FBI for help.
The crimes are only the tip of the criminal iceberg in Blind River. Mackley and Lassiter’s hunt for the missing teens explodes into one crisis after another — more crimes, bloodshed, and vendettas than one town can endure. Mackley’s personal issues and the grief he finds there complicates what’s already a harrowing investigative experience.
About a third of the way into Blind River I went to its Amazon page to read some of the reviews. I could not believe it had (as of this writing) an average of 4.1 stars — 77 percent of the reviews are either five stars or four.
Blind River is a serial-killer murder mystery and a good yarn, and what appears in between the covers would make for a good movie or television series. But far too many things stand in the way of it being an enjoyable read. Follows shows no firm grasp on language or writing for the purpose of storytelling. There is a sense of the plot moving along scene by scene but it’s done carelessly. His descriptions are flat, and a limited vocabulary makes for lackluster reading. A Canadian, Fellows sets his story in New York but does not use American vernacular. His main character is “a fed” but the author shows no knowledge of titles or job responsibilities, procedural issues, or terminology.
Blind River is a clever whodunit with great twists and surprises, but it seems Fellows offered up what amounts to a first draft, with every typical error and mistake. It makes for very frustrating reading. At some point, I hope he uploads a clean version that addresses the many glaring issues. Blind River is a good story held back by a need for a polished and thoughtful revision.
I am breaking my own rule of never writing a review of less than three stars because clearly, Follows has talent. I want to read more of what he writes. But not if the other works are in the same condition as Blind River.
1.5 stars out of 5.
Available at Amazon as ebook and paperback.
Check in every week for Book Review Wednesday. I’m reading and reviewing a book a week throughout 2018. Join me. Authors, if you have a book you would like reviewed, send me an email at email@example.com.
Joseph Mark Brewer writes the Shig Sato mysteries. Mix up some Lieutenant Columbo and Kurt Wallander and you have an interesting character in Sato and a thrilling new series set in the heart of Tokyo. Click for your copy of The Gangster’s Son, The Thief’s Mistake, Traitors & Lies, or Cat’s Meow. And check out Shig’s Readers Club to get a free copy of Tokyo Summer, the exciting Shig Sato prequel that tells the story of the events that led up to The Gangster’s Son.