Review: Tracks

Tracks by Niv Kaplan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Let’s see: To begin with, we have some serious formatting issue that are just unprofessional. Fonts vary in size, pages start at varying places on the screen, and the use of page breaks is seriously inconsistent. Independent authors get enough junk thrown at them for the stereotypes of being unprofessional in presentation and this sort of laissez-faire attitude toward formatting makes us all look bad.

Then you’ve got the sniveling fact that the author has put keywords in on for his “contributors” on the book. “Espionage” apparently wrote a non-existent foreward to the book, “Mystery” provided some lackluster, if non-evident illustrations and “Thriller”‘s evocative but invisible photographs provided a great counterpoint to the story. Please, if you want to game the system, try and be a little less obvious, okay? As I always say, I don’t mind a crook, but I hate a cut-rate one (to paraphrase Bogart).

And then there’s the actual novel itself. I don’t ever recall a mystery and espionage thriller that began with a fairly graphic birth sequence. And several forays to a nude beach. While the author obviously had a mind to set something up there, I think he could’ve taken a less gratuitous path to the plot.

There’s also an old adage among writers: “Show me, don’t tell me.” Without going back to look (and I don’t want to, since I’ve already deleted this book from my Kindle), I would hazard an estimate that about 20-25% of the book was dialogue, the remainder being exposition; the author telling us what the characters are doing and feeling and thinking and droning on and on and on. I didn’t find a single piece of dialogue until about 4.8% in, and by that time I was so bored I wasn’t sure if it was part of the opening flashback again or someone actually talking in real time. I sped read through most of it, something I rarely do with a book that captures your attention, but if I start a book I like to finish it.

I should’ve taken my Kindle’s advice; when I downloaded this book today, my Kindle froze up for an hour or so. It tried to tell me. My Kindle tried to save my time! Why, oh why didn’t I listen? I must listen to loud heavy metal now for a few hours to drown the sluggardish monotony of Tracks from my mind!

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