Organization, Organization, Organization

I received this novel as an author request. The author/publisher/promoter noted that I seemed to be a fan of true crime novels. This is true. This is a fascinating account. It is about an incident about which I, like the author, had no previous knowledge. How could I have missed this one? A person constructs a nearly impregnable tank and nearly destroys a town out of vengeance. When I discover an account like this I look at my passport to figure out where I was living so that I didn’t hear of it. (I was living in Bangkok, Thailand).

With this account, the story is inherently interesting. Unfortunately, the presentation is tortuous in its scattered organization. I am not judging it by some academic standard but if I were asked to copy edit the work, I would turn it down. I am judging by the novel’s ability to hold my interest. This work held my interest from Chapter One through Chapter Twenty-Two. That is 50% of the work. Then there is a section, A Closer Look, which has sixteen chapters. As implied by the title, the closer look chapters examine events previously presented in greater detail. There are two possible problems for the reader.

First, the reader must remember how all these characters relate. Was “X” a sheriff’s deputy, a state patrol officer, a merchant, a city council official, or a lawyer (no matter which side)? If a reader must do this, it is just too exhausting. I believe most would abandon the book. That would be unfortunate because there are some interesting surmises about the inconsistency of physical photographic evidence with written reports and eye-witness reports. The author can rescue us from this problem but by doing so the author creates problem two. The author can repeat information. The author does so in this novel and it is infuriating to readers such as myself. I feel like I am grading papers from my English language classes.

In the subsequent sixteen chapters, there are suspicions raised of a conspiracy. The inclusion of theories with documented evidence makes this a true crime (documentation) novel (conspiracy theory). I believe a reader must make some outrageous stretches to accommodate these theories but the author certainly has the right and license as an author to present them. It is almost impossible to keep complex conspiracies secret. This is a logical truth and easy to write. I have some experience in the field. Secrets do not have a long shelf life.

There is an Epilogue with interesting anecdotes from a history of the area. The Afterword expresses thanks to those who helped the author. The Endnotes are valuable to give the author of a true crime work credibility. At this point, we are at 78% of the book and the reader meets six Appendices which I had no interest in. Again, they support author credibility and again, there is a further repetition of information.

I think with reorganization this could be a good, successful book. In its present form, I give it two Amazon stars.

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