Plain Man

This book was a long, painful read. I put this review off for ages because I didn’t want to just type “I hate this book!” and hit publish. I tried to take a step back and attempt to evaluate this piece of fiction without loathing, but as it stands…

I hate this book.

When I received the book, I had forgotten that I had even asked for it. This was probably a bad sign, but I decided to let it go and put it in the queue. After finishing the novel that I was already in when it arrived, I picked it up and read the dust cover. It talked about secret government organizations and magick.

Meh. I put the book aside for a month.

While cleaning, I found it again and felt guilty that I had just put it away and forgotten about it. Something told me to mix a drink and just sit down and get through it. My initial perception would be that it might just be a bit blah, but not so bad. I was wrong about that.

This book is the third in the series so you would think that even with not having read the first two that there would be a good plot flow going by round three that I could just jump in and roll with. Nope. What I waded into was a mountain of jargon with desert sex on top. (Ok, mountain of jargon is being polite and the whole plot is about the lead’s friends shagging the bad guys.)

I trudged through the first 90+ pages of the book very slowly. I could only get through a page or two before falling asleep and didn’t give a crap about the characters or the tiny bit of plot that was happening at a snail’s pace. I tried pretty hard to find something to like about the book until the author decided to flesh out some of the side characters. Unfortunately, this just made me want to read a whole book on August’s friends Rosa and Sly instead of the dreck I was in the middle of.

The organization that the villains were a part of had a silly name and I could never take them seriously because of it. This tidbit is part of the whole series, but then names that were supposed to be synonymous with evil sounded like they were in a movie block aired late at night and hosted by Rhonda Shear.

One day I decided to end the suffering and just sit down and finish the book in one sitting. I did find something to like about the reincarnated character in the final few pages, but still don’t care about the two leads. There was almost a hint of what felt like character development with the female lead, Pamela, but maybe the author just used up all that juice in the book that came before this. Amidst the onlsaught of things that I was never made to care about were touches of interesting things that should have been fleshed out instead the main story. The repetition of uninteresting elements didn’t help anything either.

The way the narrative is blocked out also makes you feel like the author was constantly getting bored as he was writing it. Instead of full chapters, the book stumbles forward in a series of tiny pamphlets that all feel like they lack useful information. This leaves no room for any buildup, because by the time anything happens the reader has been given plenty of time and reason to forget what was going on before.

Maybe the previous two Max August novels were fantastic. I have no idea. This one doesn’t make me want to read them to find out though. All this book did was make me further wary of reading anything else that revolves around magic.