Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kathy Reviews: The Garden by M. Everett Baylor

ISBN #: 978-1937600181
Page Count: 250
Copyright: November 22, 2011
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.

Book Summary:
(Taken from author's email)

The Garden takes readers for a thrilling ride exploring the mind of a twisted soul; the soul of Kelvin Kettle. Set in , this book tells the story of a serial killer and his murderous rampage through this sleepy country town.

Kelvin Kettle is a man obsessed with revenge. He returns to the sleepy small town of his youth to plant his garden in the place where his soul first became twisted. He blends in with the locals, earns their trust then murders them one by one. Unknown to Kelvin is the arrival of his twin brother Sebastian who comes to town to warn the residents of his brother's intentions. Sebastian has one thing on his mind; stopping Kelvin from taking innocent lives. The cat and mouse game is played to the fullest.

The garden lay silent. The harvest was complete. But the devil knows no happiness, only pain. Death comes with a smile, a dozen roses, and hungry for a meal. It's time to harvest the next flower for his garden. His first flower has been alone for quite a while. She'll finally have some company - and the town of will never be the same again.

Kathy's Review:

The Garden is a gruesome tale about Kelvin Kettle, a serial killer who stalks women, murders them, and then defiles their corpse before "harvesting" them in a desolate lake. He does this as an act of revenge against abusive foster parents who took his innocence as a young boy. Be prepared for some horrifying descriptions of the abuse. Yeah, it's no wonder he's a screwed up killer who hates women, especially those with red hair. But I didn't get the whole "harvest" thing - putting someone at the bottom of the river sounds like "planting" to me, not "harvesting." And it really has nothing to do with the abusive situations he was in, so it's not even symbolic or anything. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I was looking for something that wasn't meant to be there.

The story seems pretty unbelievable - his first victim in town is his girlfriend and he's NOT a suspect? Did the cops do their due diligence and dig up ANY background on him? But my biggest problem with this story is that EVERYONE talks to themselves for NO good reason. The book is told in third person perspective, and travels from character to character. In the midst of describing what a character is up to, the character himself or herself will pipe in and say something. "Very strange," said Kathy the Reviewer.

What? Who was that? Who are they talking to? *looks around*

Now, I'm not saying people don't talk to themselves. I do, quite often. But I think in this case, it was just sloppy storytelling. When characters yell out things like "Small towns rock!" to themselves, it just rings untrue.

Finally, the ending really bugged me, in that, it didn't end. There's a "To Be Continued" that lends itself to a second book. Really?!?! You're about ten pages from wrapping this whole thing up. The cops are on to Kelvin, and a team of townspeople-turned-vigilantes (one of them is named JayJay but don't get me started on how lame I think this name is - remember JayJay the Jet Plane, parents???) is also on their way to obliterate his serial killer ass. How could this POSSIBLY go on for another book? "Just finish this one and call it a day!" said Kathy the Reviewer.

Here is another case where editing could be this author's best friend. Great premise, it just needs to be cleaned up, all the random outbursts from the characters need to be silenced and repurposed, and this doesn't need to be dragged on for another book. Harvest this thing! (Minus all the icky corpse stuff)

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