Matters of Doubt (Warren C. Easley)

Full disclosure:
I normally don’t read mystery thrillers, and I’ve known Warren Easley since I was in grade school.

Also, I had really wanted to fall in love with this book.

The author certainly knows how to write. I enjoyed the “hard-boiled crime” voice of this novel and the author’s use of the Pacific Northwest setting.

But I’d like to see more from this author, and I do mean more?more character development, more depth of storytelling, more plot messy-ness. For me, there was too much in this book that was abrupt, almost as if shortcuts had been taken in the storytelling, and what was left was often unsatisfying?too much “tell” and not enough “show.” I began to suspect that there was a lot of story happening off the page?for instance, the weaving in of character backstories?and I would have rather experienced it on the page as the story unfolded. There were some timeline and verb tense problems and inconsistencies in the level of detail offered. In the end the antagonist’s motivations didn’t make sense. Everything seemed to get wrapped up in a shiny bow at the conclusion, but there were holes in logic.

This book felt like it was a second or third draft, not quite ready for publication but definitely headed in that direction. I’d love to see Easley cut loose in his future works?of which I hope there are many?as he cultivates this new career as a storyteller.

Posted in a reader muses.

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