Wednesday, July 23, 2014

{Review} SECRET SONG by A. R. Simmons

File Size: 783 KB
Page Count: 333
Copyright: November 15, 2013
Publisher: Acorn Moon Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Twenty-three years ago, two teenage drivers collided. Marie was on her way home, while Harold was fleeing from a robbery he and his cousin had just committed. When his car wouldn’t restart, he and his cousin stole the girl’s. Marie was never seen again. Inevitably, the boys were caught. His cousin, Wayne, was eventually executed. Harold got twenty-five years.

Now Harold has come home. He has been paroled. No one wants him in Hawthorn County, but he knows of nowhere else he can go.

Within days, Marie’s remains are discovered. Confrontations occur. He is released from his job because of public pressure. Then Harold becomes the target of persecution, dangerous persecution as someone tries to run him off.

Richard Carter is stuck with the investigation. He wishes as much as anyone that the ruined little man (for whom his wife feels compassion) would leave the county, but he does the job. His mind, however, turns to more serious crimes: a rash of burglaries (one ending in murder), home invasions (one involving sexual assault), and three disappearances. The vendetta against an ex-con who should have known better than to return to the scene of his crime takes a back seat for Richard—until it becomes attempted murder.

Kathy's Review:

Secret Song suffers from an ailment commonly known as Too-Many-Character-Itis. Symptoms include a multitude of characters, most of whom have no standout traits, a storyline that flip-flops from character to character, sometimes not identifying who we are following, and bouts of characters stuck in their own heads, musing on this and that.

When a book suffers from this ailment, it is tough for me, as a reader, to become invested. I’d like to sit and learn more about each character that the author wants me to care about, and then move on. Not that there’s not a time and place for a meandering plot -- the element of suspense definitely calls for it. However, I tried to tough through as best as I could, and there are some bright spots, for sure:

1. Attention to detail. Simmons paints a vivid picture, using very descriptive words around places. I wish this applied to the people, as well.

2. Mystery. I want to know what happened to the girl whose body is found at the beginning of the story and how it ties in to the current action. Like a good author, Simmons makes me wait. Once Simmons gives me the goods, the actions moves fast and furious.

3. The premise for an interesting story. I’m not saying it’s executed well but the premise is there.

I was disappointed in the way things turned out with this one. It seemed like the theme was going to be one of redemption and it didn’t turn out that way at all. Also, the Secret Song aspect of the story should have been shown in flashbacks or through the character’s own thoughts. It wasn’t fully explained what this was.

Good … not great, I’d say.

*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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