Monday, August 8, 2011

Rick Acker—When the Devil Whistles (2010)

As I compose this, I worry the author may sue me for improper use of intellectual property, i.e., the cover of his book over on the right. He is a lawyer, after all. Should I tweak my critique (remember, I don't review) on the positive side to gain his favor?

I decide to go for it. I'm a writer, after all, so of course I'm poor. What would he gain if he sued me? Also, I enjoyed Mr. Acker's book, so though I may creak and groan about this literary element or another, I'll still urge everyone who reads this bloviating to go buy one of his books, even if it isn't When the Devil Whistles.

I loved the protagonist, up to the point she went all wish washy, about two-thirds into the novel. But how can you not love a snowboarding chick with a kitten tattoo? Acker could have instilled a little more sensuality about her, but I'm not a complainer (much). She's got guts to go against powerful corporations, and who doesn't hate the man? Though the family baggage was a tetch overdone for my tastes.

The handsome and rich love interest is okay. A little too cool, and rich, but hey, this is fiction. (Besides, I hate rich suave guys because, well, I'm not.)

The parallel plots, though each excellent in their own rights, distracted me a bit. Perhaps that may be a plus for those with a short attention span (I tease). But to me, splitting the interest seemed to water down each. Plot for me works like point of view. Every time you switch, you allow your reader to float away from what you just spent weeks in front of the computer striving to rivet the reader with.

I ding Devil in the elements of action, setting, conflict and plot for the same reason. The resolution pushed me past my ability to suspend disbelief. It was a little too easy. Yes, it had me rolling my eyes. But the preceding storyline was good enough to keep me from panning the novel. Acker owns a comfortable, flowing writing style. He personified and blended his characters well, into an overall entertaining story.

So that single lapse dropped Devil out of the full, four-star review it otherwise deserves.

I would definitely read another of Acker's books.

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Working on novel number nineteen!

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