Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Doing Max Vinyl

Doing Max Vinyl
Doing Max Vinyl by Frederick Lee Brooke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Those who like to watch and see rather than to feel and be.

Disclosure: I picked up a free copy from Smashwords last year. While I’m under no obligation, I am happy to provide an honest review.

Synopsis: Max Vinyl rose from meager circumstances to run a highly profitable computer recycling company along the shores of Lake Michigan. But when his girlfriend discovers his dirty little secret, she sets off a series of increasingly insane events that escalate to include an Iraqi War vet in search of a new calling, thugs in search of a payday, and one explosive aquatic escape.

Some people believe the water beneath the waves of Lake Michigan is crystal clear down to the bottom. This couldn’t be further from the truth—at least not since Max Vinyl entered the computer recycling racket. Since then, the lake has become his own personal profit center. But when Tris, his environmentalist girlfriend and receptionist, finds out his dirty secret, all hell breaks loose at work and at home as he discovers Tris’ extremely combustible—and creative—violent side. Iraq War veteran Annie Ogden has struggled for three depression-filled months in a forest preserve cabin since returning from the Middle East. When two of Max Vinyl's thugs threaten her sister, Annie gets dragged into his corrupt world, giving her life purpose. And for Max, that’s a big problem. Will Max Vinyl hold up under the coordinated attacks of two angry women? And will Annie find the inner peace that has escaped her so far? As things spin out of control it’s all Max can do to stay one step ahead—until his life hangs precariously in the balance!

An absurd journey into the heart of modern corporate lunacy, Brooke’s first installment of the Annie Ogden mysteries, loaded with strong women and fallible heroes, full of hysterics and wholehearted chicanery, is as funny and addictive as it is uproarious and entertaining. Doing Max Vinyl is an incisive examination of greed and disconnection.

My Thoughts: I told the author, when he contacted me to ask if I’d review this book once I read it, that I would try to get that done in August. Well … that didn’t happen, due to a large backlog of Netgalley and Vine books that I had to get done, and a heavy editing schedule on top of my health problems. So, my apologies, but I’m finally getting to it!

So, to get the technicalities out of the way. The story is well written and well edited. The plot flows smoothly, the characters all have individual voices, the description is just enough to help you visual the people and places, but not so much as to suppress your imagination. Technically it’s wonderfully well done – so I was very puzzled that I had such a hard time getting into it.

After considerable thought on the matter, I’ve decided it’s the point-of-view. It’s a limited-omniscient, third-person point-of-view in which we hardly ever get into the thoughts of the person we’re watching. It’s all very much just on the surface, like watching a television show, without letting the reader get into the mind of the person about whom they are reading. For me that would not necessarily always be a problem, but in this case I think the additional information gained by getting more into the characters’ heads would allow the reader to feel more of a sense of connection to them, and lead the reader to have more interest in what happens to them. As it was, I felt completely disconnected from the characters and, as a result, disconnected from the plot too. Unfortunately, I just could not finish. However, I think a lot of readers would enjoy this story just fine, so don’t let this discourage you from checking it out.

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