All good things must come to an end and today it’s my book high.
Every now and then I stumble upon a book that is absolutely, no questions asked, do no pass go do not collect $200 out of my league. For one reason or another they just don’t click with me. It’s not always the story, sometimes it’s the writing style, sometimes it’s the characters. The only thing that is clear, is that they take a significant amount of effort not to DNF them.
A Circle in the Woods by Winston Emerson is one of those books.
“In a place where people have been disappearing for years, a little girl gets lost in the woods. Meet the man who saves her life.
On a late summer morning in 1958, Phil Stapleton discovers and rescues five-year-old Brittany Duncan after she spends two days lost deep in the Kentucky woods. Two months later, when a tree branch crashes through the rickety trailer where Brittany lives, Phil takes the girl and her mother under his roof. What follows is a decade of mystery, terror, violence, and tragedy, with no escape in sight.
“All my life you’ve been pacing around me in circles. What do you want from me. Why don’t you just take it and leave me alone.”
A Circle in the Woods is a novel that lulls and charms its reader while quietly drawing a knife.”
Before I jump into the issues I had with the actual plot of this book, I want to talk about the writing. It was flat. (Think monotone high-school Algebra teacher.) Emerson chose to write his novel with out the use of proper punctuation, and because of this the story lacked drive. What do I mean? Well…for starters there were no question marks, no quotation marks (which for the record made it difficult to keep track of who was talking) no exclamation marks or even a freaking semi-colon. Nope, there were only periods and the occasional comma.
Fearing this was a mistake on my part (a downloading error etc.) I looked at a few other reviews to see if was mentioned. Surprise! It was, which instantly had me thinking, “Why in the hell would anyone consciously do this?” The answer? I have no freaking clue. The effect it had on the plot was unforgivable, causing it to stall in places it shouldn’t and come across as bland and drab overall. And as if that wasn’t enough, the language used was complicated and forced, reading more like a thesaurus caught in a windstorm than a solid thought.
The plot itself wasn’t any better. It was jumpy, it had very little point (other than to demonstrate how completely screwed up people can be) and ended with a tangent instead of a conclusion.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “Maybe you just don’t like this genre of book!”
Wrong. I love psychological thrillers, and based upon the synopsis this one should have been a no brainer. Unfortunately, all I got out of it was a headache and one very confusing lesson on lost keys. (Don’t bother asking…it’s a waste of time.)
In short… I didn’t like it.
Sorry Mr. Emerson but I’m going to have to urge my readers to pass. Even my Nicholson, Kaufman and Raimbault fans.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: some times crazy is just crazy, not interesting.
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