Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy

This isn't a book blog and this is, in fact, the first book review I've put on it.  But I am so . . . upset by how bad the book I am about to finish is that I need to rant about it.

I am about 30 pages from the end of Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood.  I don't think this is his latest book, thinking there's at least one more since then (there appears to be two, each one with a different second writer).  This will be the last time I read a Tom Clancy novel (although I see the last one has gotten better reviews on Amazon).

If this were an indie novel (self-published) I would have excoriated the author for bad writing, bad editing, and bad attention to details.  But it's not an indie novel, it's published by a major house, Putnam, and probably sold bunches.

Bad writing: fire fights and car chases are boring.  Everything is described almost clinically as if it's an after-action report for the military.  The writing is dry and devoid of emotion.

Bad editing: The number of editing errors is alarming and occasionally confusing. A car is described as a "Fort Taurus" and a thing was supposed to be described as "now-burned" was actually "non-burned."  There are too many to list here but those were the two that jumped out at me.  And considering what a lousy proofreader I am, there were probably more.

Bad attention to detail: A character picks up a shotgun and (somehow) determines there's 6 round in it.  He fires it twice, and again, has six rounds in it.  On one page it says a bad guy is arrested.  About 10 pages later, it says he committed suicide before he was arrested.  Maybe I missed something, but I swear the characters knew something they couldn't have known.  Oh, and someone says Moose Jaw (a small city in Canada) is above where "North Dakota and South Dakota meet."  No, it's above (sort of) where Montana and North Dakota meet.  The North Dakota and South Dakota border runs east-west (parallel to the US border with Canada) and is 360 miles long.

I see the next two books by Tom Clancy were co-written (and you gotta wonder how much the guy in the little print on the cover does the writing, I suspect a lot of it) by other guys. Maybe the problems with Dead or Alive were Blackwood's.  I don't know.  I just know I won't be wasting money on Tom Clancy books anymore.

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