Tuesday, August 20, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Bridge’ is a gripping other-worldly thriller – with a few cosmetic problems

I was attracted to ‘The Bridge,’ by Allan Krummenacker, because of the cover. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I’m attracted to things just because they’re shiny.

What I found in the pages of the book, though, was a richly drawn mystery that sucked me in and kept me interested until the very last page.

The story revolves around Alex Hill, the town funny guy, and his girlfriend, Veronica. Hill is a psychic that has a dark history with his “gifts.”

His girlfriend, Veronica, is haunted by her own past. Not only is she older than Alex – and massively insecure about her place in his life – but she’s still traumatized by the loss of a local girl she was trying to help early in her days on the police force.

Alex’s secret and Veronica’s past collide one day when two local teenagers are found dead at the scene of an accident. The coroner quickly ascertains that the youths had drowned – and before the car accident occurred.

The problem is, Veronica witnessed the accident, and she doesn’t remember seeing anybody else in the car.

As the mystery progresses, clues lead investigators to a local estate that is going up for bid – and a past history that is bigger than anyone can imagine.

‘The Bridge’ really is a gripping mystery – and I liked that the characters were not drawn with white hats and black jackets. What do I mean by that? Every character had good qualities and bad qualities – just like in real life. Sometimes authors paint their central heroes and heroines as perfect individuals – and that’s never true to real life.

Krummenacker really has constructed a sound mystery and interesting and flawed characters.

So, what’s wrong with the book? As far as the story goes, nothing. Unfortunately, there’s a lot wrong with it cosmetically.

First off, this could be one of the most poorly formatted Kindle books I’ve ever read. No, I’m not exaggerating. There are big gaps between the sentences. Usually, this wouldn’t necessarily be a big problem, but there’s a chapter where you’re jumping between narrators and the gaps make you think you’re jumping to a new narrator when  you’re not necessarily doing that. It becomes frustrating.

Also, because the book wasn’t formatted correctly, there are sometimes three or four pages between the end of one paragraph and the beginning of another. On the flip side, sometimes chapter heads appear in the middle of a page. It’s really all over the place.

The other big problem with the book is the editing.

Now, I can put up with a lot of grammar mistakes. I mean a lot. This book has punctuation and grammar errors on pretty much every page, though. If you’re a stickler for those things – you should probably not try to read this book.

The author seems to suffer under grand delusions of capitalization, too. It seems that whenever he was in doubt, he capitalized a word – whether it should have been capitalized or not.

Still, I could probably have let that slide (even though I found it irritating as the book progressed) but the punctuation errors, run-on sentences and general missing words were always there to yank me back in, though.

Finally, my other big problem with the book is with Alex calling Veronica "his lady" constantly. It might have been cute it if happened occasionally, but it happens on practically ever other page -- and it ceases being cute about the third time it happens.

Besides being hokey, the phrase also hints at the prospect that Veronica doesn't exist in Alex's mind -- other than as his property. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it irritated me.

Veronica was a tough police officers with a smart head and a strong grasp of the crime itself -- and yet she was relegated to merely being Alex's girlfriend much of the time. That's not how I like my heroines.

In the end, Krummenacker has come up with a breathtaking world and a great story. It’s brought down by the sum of its parts, though.

This is a five-star story and a one-star editing and grammar effort combined. I'd like to see it become five-star all around.

‘The Bridge’ is available for $2.99 on Kindle and $14.39 in print. Note: Those prices could be subject to change.


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