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The Confession of Sandy Harris by Mr Alan…
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The Confession of Sandy Harris

by Mr Alan Moreton

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611,268,033 (2.5)8

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Rating: 2* of five

I saved this review for last because I like Alan Moreton, the Thingamabrarian, and I did not want to have to write this review at all. He did not ask me to write the review; he did not send me a copy of it for review; but Alan has mentioned the book to me several times, and I feel obligated by courtesy to provide some thoughts on it.

It is a work of vivid imagination, tackling the subject of the priestly sexcapades haunting the Catholic Church which most of us who haven't been living in prison lockdown have heard of. It adds a new level of yeeeccchhh with a serial killer of priests (go serial killer!), and a rather distasteful and, to this reader at least, unnecessary excursion into the nature of adolescent female sexuality. The plot, which intersects all of the above points and has as its driver the series character of Reverend Dr. Roger Ratcher, an ecclesiastical investigator, is barely kept under control because there are too many balls in the air at any given time. It serves to vitiate suspense for the reader to need to track Sandy, the school staff, the priest, the sleuth, and the serial killer.

The dialogue is not polished enough to make up for the abovementioned issue. It's serviceable, in that it conveys information admirably clearly, just once or twice too often. There are recaps in it that aren't necessary, and there are moments when it feels like each sentence could plausibly begin with that old cliche phrase, "As you know, Bob...."

But now I come to the thrust of my dissatisfaction: The book itself. TO ALL AUTHORS: Never ever ever in all of recorded human history has it been a good idea to set the text of a novel in a sans serif typeface. It never ever ever will be. That day will not dawn, yea verily unto the Trump of Doom it will not. Do Not Do This.

Point two: PUNCTUATION. Questions asked of character A by character B require the use of the question mark, or "?". This is a universal truism. Violate this rule and your book will look sloppy. Likewise misplaced or missing commas. Even more likewise the dreaded double period. There are no known instances when this: ".." is acceptable punctuation. There is this: "." or this: "..." or this: "...." That is all. No variations on this rule are permitted. Make this mistake, and serious readers will scoff, while jocose readers won't know exactly why, but they won't like *some*thing.

And lastly, since I am growing uneasy at how unkind I feel I am being, page design is ***CRUCIAL*** to the subliminal emotional response of readers. Crowded pages with tiny gutters and margins; pages on which there is one paragraph, one huge block of type uninterrupted; lines of text too close together, could seem more cost-effective, but will not make readers happy or cause them to want to yodel the praises of your book. Quite a lot of them won't know just why, but they'll come away with a negative feeling about your book that it might not even fully merit, based on the story alone.

These factors all conspire to rob Alan's book of at least one full star. And that makes me sad. I wanted to like the book as much as I do the author, and I can't. ( )
5 vote richardderus | Dec 31, 2011 |
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