A sly shrink, a determined homicide
detective, two so-called murderers, and the baser sort of life are tossed in the mix of Levin’s paragraphs.
The first page introduces the protagonist,
Dr. Hubbell Webster, a sometime resident of Valley View Mental Institution and practicing psychiatrist. The first fifty or so pages deal almost exclusively with the inner workings of Dr. Webster’s--call
me ‘Hub’ –mind. The author writes with great zeal and detail
of the thoughts Hub deals with.
Hub’s mental ruminations are
left behind after the first fifty or so pages. After these first very long and somewhat
less interesting recourses, we don’t hear from Hub again until about three-fourths (or more) of the way through
Leaving Hub behind, we meet another
character, Sardi, whose life intersects with Hub’s quite a bit down the road.
Initially the reader isn’t told what the commonality is between Sardi and Hub.
The author goes to great lengths to paint Sardi’s background, that of a cold-blooded killer.
After the death of two men, and another
hundred or so pages of reading, we still haven’t connected with what happened to Hub and his journey. Somehow, Hub and Sardi find each other. Hub enjoys his house
while Sardi works on the grounds.
Enter Detective Ryder, the determined
officer who believes Sardi and Hub killed the two men. Initially failing to obtain
the proper documentation to allow the police to search all the property, Detective. Ryder has to wait a couple of days
to get the right paperwork.
Realizing that both he and Sardi are
going to be accused and arrested, Hub comes up with the great idea to join the circus in an effort to avoid the law.
The book winds down and the last chapter
contains a true twist.
Even though he does well with his descriptions
during dialog, Levin’s book is rife with inane dialogue and incorrect spelling and punctuation. The first half was dry and confusing. Some sentences last
as many as nineteen lines, full of dashes, parentheses, semi-colons, colons, etc., leaving the reader confused. Additionally, the author begins a new chapter, or scene within a chapter, without telling us who
the speaker is.
However, I do believe the story can
be redeemed if the author would get rid of the lengthy sentences and the long, long sections of internal dialogue. If he were to adhere to the “show don’t tell” maxim of writing, and do some tough editing,
I think he has the makings of an interesting book. It just hasn’t happened
Katie Hines - Muse Book