Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Deep Shadow -- Randy Wayne White

Doc Ford and his pals are looking for gold from Batista's Cuba in a deep lake in Florida. Ford's experienced at this underwater stuff, but we readers know that treasure's always guarded by a dragon. Or maybe a sea monster. Could it be the Creature from the Black Lagoon? Something, anyway, has been killing cattle in the area for many years. You'll have to read the book and see what it is.

And as if the creature andunderwater landslides weren't bad enough, who should turn up but a couple of psycho killers to take over the operation.

All the action in this book takes place in the course of one day, so as you can guess, it's really one damn thing after another, both below the water and on the shore. Even at that, I have to throw in my usual complaint about the length of books these days. Nearly 350 pages is just too much. Well, not for the people who'll put this on the bestseller list, but for me.

The writing's sharp and everything's well-observed, so no complaints on that score, but another problem for me is the switch from Ford's first-person narration to the third person for large chunks of the book. Why not just write the whole thing in third person? The shifting around doesn't work for me here. I don't know why. In some books it doesn't bother me, but it seemed awkward this time.

The good stuff outweighs the things that bothered me, though, so check it out.


Frank Loose said...

I'm with you on the book length complaint. Everyone these days has to write an opus. I love the old Gold Medals because they were one story told well, coming at you like a rifle shot. None of the side plots involving family members and numerous secondary and tertiary characters. Just one story. Also, i will not read a book that mixes first person and third person narrative. Guess I'm old school, but i want one approach, either the first person narrator telling the story, or third person multiple POV. I don't care which the author chooses, but PICK ONE!

Unknown said...

You remind me of me, Frank.

jvdsteen said...

I'm absolutely with you guys about the book length. About 200 pages for a novel like that is enough. That's why I've been thinking about publishing some crime novella's in the future.