Book Review: 24 Hours

This was a tough one for me to get through, so tough I’ve been sitting on this review for over a week… First, the good:

ilesI enjoyed the set up and idea behind this perfect kidnapping, with having the child removed from the home when the father was out of town on business, thus being able to isolate all three people at once (father, mother, and child). It’s a cool concept, and the fact that this had been successful five previous times with no one getting hurt made it even more intriguing. I also absolutely adored the character of Huey, well thought out and unique. And … I’m pretty sure that’s about it.

Now I’m not one to harp on an author or novel that I don’t like. Books I really don’t get I don’t even comment on or review. This had so much potential however, it’s hard not to look at where it went wrong. So, without giving away any spoilers, here are things that should be avoided at all costs when writing a novel:

— Contrived plots. Add to this forcing poorly developed subplots into the story in order to make your contrived plot work.
— Q & A dialogue. When someone asks a question it doesn’t have to be answered. Especially when someone’s trying to get info out of someone. Dialogue is not the answer for revealing exposition. Instead let the subtext speak for itself. Answer a question with a question or at least make it difficult to get the answers — no one ever answers questions perfectly without a reason to do so.
— Don’t shy away from the difficult stuff. A kidnapping, especially when involving a woman and man, inevitably leads to some uncomfortable situations. Don’t be afraid of those scenes or avoid them because they’re too difficult to write.
— The whole “don’t involve the police / FBI” cliche. For it to work you’ve got to really make us believe they’re better off without that involvement. Otherwise it’s just more of the same.
— A forced yet completely unnecessary “big ending.” I like my endings big, but man it better be the natural conclusion of all of the steps that have lead up to that point, not a completely out-of-character decision with so many elements outside the realm of disbelief.

Am I upset that I read this? No, not at all. It wasn’t a waste of time and there were definitely things to be learned. But there are much better thrillers out there to sink your teeth into. Let’s just say I’m glad I picked this one up at a thrift store. 2 1/2 gold stars.


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