What be a secret if it cannot be revealed? -Steve Berry, The King’s Deception
The reading list is long, dear worst-reader. So long, in fact, that I’l probably never get through all the books listed on it. I found myself recently trying to weasel out of some reads because I’m either no longer interested in the subject matter or I’m lazying-out in my old age. I also noticed last fall after reviewing the list that there were more non-fiction books than fiction. Or is it the other-way ’round? I’m (obviously) confused. Nomatter. I’ve been reading too many historical novels lately. Or maybe not.
Finished The King’s Deception last night. Luckily it took me only few days to get through it. Other than the sometimes silly attempt at following a formula and/or fulfilling a genre’s requirements, this was a pretty slick read. On the other hand, unbeknownst to moi, it is the perfect read for showing worst-writer how NOT to write. And NOT writing (finishing) novels is my speciality. Not that I could write like this anyway. It’s just that, whether at the beginning, middle or end, there was never a moment in the book where I didn’t feel as though one could superimpose the pages of a John Grisham or (Aghast!) Dan Brown on top of it and the reader would never know the difference. Hence, pop-lit, eh worst-reader? And that’s saying a lot since I try to steer away from this kinda krapp.
“But Tommi, aka worst-writer, if you don’t like this type of novel why you read it?”
Good question grasshopper. The answer to that is simple. I read it because I heard somewhere that Steve Berry was very good at history-telling and story-telling. Indeed. Mr. Berry is obviously very good–and he can spell, too. As far as the thriller part of the novel goes, well–to be honest–I skimmed through most of that. What really stands out in this book is the history-telling. In fact, the history telling is the real thrill. And since I now know how to read Berry’s Cotton Malone books, I might even considering skimming through another one or two. Or maybe not.
Warning: spoiler alert! Double warning: time to get real!
The story evolves around a conspiracy-theory regarding Queen Elizabeth I. It goes something like this: she was a man. Ok. That’s all fine and good. But this conspiracy is revealed fairly early in the book. That’s when I realised there’s something more to Berry than meats his ka-ching pages. Indeed. Something really neat-o-torpedo happens in this piece of genre krapp. Berry, while fiddling around with British history, finds a way to provide the reader–that’s interested–in one of the best and concise narrations I’ve ever read that explains the origin of the conflict in Northern Ireland. And Berry does that while shooting up, blowing up and trying to tell a soap-opera-like family values story. Seriously. There are nuggets of historical information trapped inside this banal thriller that really threw me for a loop. You know what else threw me for a loop, dear worst-reader? There wasn’t one sex scene in the whole book. If anyone were ever to ask me to explain why Northern Ireland is so screwed up, I could do it in a few sentences thanks to Steve Berry. And if anyone were ever to ask me how someone can write a novel, you know a piece of writing that tries to develop human characters in the readers mind, and thereby not having an iota of sex in it… Jezz. What’s the point?
But I digress.
I know what you’re saying, dear worst-reader. But it’s not true. I do not dislike this book. Ok. I do dislike this book. Just like I dislike the mindless krapp written by other genre, write a book to make money selling pages, publisher-books. But hey: ka-ching, right? I mean, if I actually sat down and tried to write something like this I would throw up before getting to the second page. In every word written in this book there is nothingness. Yet it is a book–like so many before it. The only thing that makes the the book worthwhile is that it probably helps readers get through a vacation or full-fills a compulsion to read one’s self to sleep. And I’m not criticising that. If this is what readers want, so be it. (Oh no–I’m finally the failed writer critic that I never wanted to be.) Heck, even I got through it–and read most of it during the day. And I’m better-off having done it. Seriously. I like learning stuff–even if it hurts in the process. Yeah, baby. As of last night I read another publisher’s book. I read a book that fits perfectly into an industry. A piece of work that has absolutely zero literary value–but at least help me NOT have to read through lots of books on history. So I guess that makes me a reader-gangsta, eh. Yeah. It’s good to fail like I do and be reminded by the likes of Steve Berry what the publishing world is really about. But then again, if only I could…
tom dick harry saw a blue sky above and then came sally with her big tits
May failed worst-writer’s everywhere get some Ka-ching someday. Or maybe not (in this life).
Rant on. -Tommi