Saturday, March 23, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: 'All For One' starts great, but ends poorly

A good mystery keeps you guessing until the very end.

Unfortunately, ‘All For One’ by Ryne Douglas Pearson, only keeps you guessing for about a third of the book.

Still, despite the fact that I figured out the end so early on, the journey was a fun ride.

‘All For one’ opens with a lot of promise. Six middle school students are all putting their fingerprints on a baseball bat while looking over the body of a slain classmate.

The story is a simple one, the slain classmate is the class bully, and one of the students is suspected in the murder, while the other five are backing up the killer’s story.

A famed local “kiddie detective” is brought in to find out the real story – and it’s an endeavor he doesn’t relish because of a haunted past and a very unlikeable victim.

Maybe it’s because I’m a soap opera fan, but I figured out really early what had happened and how it had shaken out. It was fairly obvious to me. The plot device used in the book is one that a lot of soaps have used over the years.

The sad thing is, if Pearson had stuck with the original story, I think the book would have actually been better.

Still, there are moments in the book that keep you guessing – and a late twist actually adds to the horror without being overbearing. The real problem is, though, none of the characters are developed enough to be sympathetic or have actual rooting value.

When you compound that with a contrived ending – one that ends far too soon – the reader is left scratching their head.

I think standard mystery readers – who don’t watch a lot of soap operas – will probably figure out the plot twist about halfway through the novel. For those that like to keep guessing up until the end, the book will quickly diminish in their eyes.

You’ll have to decide for yourself if you’re up for the ride. 

In the end, I enjoyed the book, but nothing about it stuck with me.

As far as grammar and punctuation go, for an indie it's pretty good. The one thing that jumped out at me, though, is that the victim's last name was spelled two different ways (several times) throughout the book. I'm not sure how many people would actually notice it, but I found it grating.

‘All For One’ is available for $4.99 on Kindle and $13.42 in print.


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