Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: "Pursuit of Darkness" by Jeff Gillenkirk

Title: Pursuit of Darkness
Author: Jeff Gillenkirk
Available: Smashwords
Summary: "Could vampires take over the US government? They already have. Washington Post reporter Nate Hallberg uncovers the startling reality that American politics has been controlled by vampires for more than 200 years. "Pursuit of Darkness" follows Hallberg's heroic struggle to overcome his own personal demons while exposing the evil at the heart of our political system. They want more than your vote!"
Source: I purchased this myself.

Review: The premise was what drew me. I have NO problem believing that vampires run politics! And I liked the idea of mixing politics and the preternatural -- anyone who reads my Adelheid series knows what. I felt like this would kind of be The West Wing meets Dracula. I liked that idea.

The writing is very competent. Words are put together well, though the author had a slightly disturbing habit of getting fascinated with details I didn't really care about. (Like, mixing in some street names to give a location feel is fine, but there were so many location/driving details and other things that it got a little dense for my tastes.)

I did not finish this book, though, and I doubt I will. It had interest for me, but the author has a disconcerting habit of writing "impact" endings to scenes and chapters -- like with dramatic questions -- and then hopping to the next scene, without having finished the other, and offering no explanation for how the character reacted.

Like... there's a scene where Drees asks Hallberg, "Do the cops know who Moises Rodriguez is?" -- or something like that -- and it's dramatic, it's impact. Then the next chapter opens with Hallberg somewhere else, day or more later, doing something else, and there's only one line somewhere pages ahead referring to the question Drees asked but never to Hallberg's answer, or even his full reaction.

There were a few places like this, and they bothered me. Maybe if I felt like there was some purpose and promise to it, like it would be unfolded later or there was a specific reason it dropped off, but I was a third of the way through and didn't feel like I had any of that. That made it feel like... kind of cheap grabs for attention, and that bothered me.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was explained later, and I'm depriving myself of it by not slugging it out, but I'm worried that I'm right and I'll end up finishing the book, being very frustrated. It wasn't holding my interest enough for that, so unfortunately this gets the default DNF 1 Fireball.

Other readers may not mind the impact/drop-off scenes the way I did and may find this a great book. I wish them well. It just didn't do it for me.

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