Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Review: Henry Wood Time And Again Henry Wood Detective Series
Henry Wood Time And Again Henry Wood Detective Series by Brian Meeks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Unfortunately, when I read this book the punctuation was kind of a train wreck, which I found extremely distracting. However, I've talked to the author about it, and I'm sure he'll have it updated soon. Punctuation is easy to fix.
Something that's much harder than punctuation is writing a genre book in which the characters grow beyond their tropes and types, and that is something Brian Meeks has definitely achieved here. Even minor characters change and develop, something I don't often see. They have a richness and a depth that's unusual, as well, giving a sense that they have backstories, interests, relationships and motivations outside the story itself. It's a relatively large cast, but it's easy to keep track of who everyone is, because they all have their individuality.
Dialogue, as in the first book, is not a strong point. The precise Professor says "whacha" instead of "what are you", the grumpy German refers to "guys". It's a testament to the strength of the characterization that this doesn't completely break the book. Again, the author may fix this in future, but dialogue that sounds natural and fits each character is definitely an area where his writing needs work.
I found the plot well structured and well paced. The detective gets a couple of lucky breaks, but he still has to apply his intelligence to capitalize on them. The sting at the end is beautifully set up.
I still didn't get a strong 50s vibe, somehow. Maybe more description of clothing and hairstyles would have helped.
Despite my complaints, it's rare enough to find a book with such good characters that I'll definitely be buying the third volume (coming soon). And I think the author needs to raise his prices, though fixing up the editing issues and improving the covers probably comes first. This is definitely worth more than 99c.
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