When reading becomes a chore

I’ve just finished reading Roadkill, the latest Cal Leandros novel by Rob Thurman and it was hard work.  Such a let-down after the previous four books in the series.  Admittedly, none of them have matched the first one because in that there was a well-handled twist that I never saw coming and that’s always a pleasant surprise, but mostly they were exciting, dynamic romps.  Which is why this one was such hard work – it failed in so many things with which the others succeeded.

The thing that bugged me the most was that it was nearly all Tell and virtually no Show.  I know there are times when a writer can bend the “show, don’t tell” rule, but not for a whole book.  There’s always a danger when writing in the first person that the telling can take over the narration.  In this book, even when Thurman actually does show, she then swamps it with lots of tell so that the show might not have been there at all.

Because there was such a lack of show, characterisation in the novel really suffered.  Characters that had depth in previous novels were just the shadows of their smoky remains.

Although it’s written in first person, the point of view changes to another character a few times during the course of the book.  I’m not a fan of this at the best of times but in this instance it was particularly problematical as the voices used for the two narrative parts weren’t different enough.  There were a few instances were a line would remind me the secondary character was narrating and give me a jolt because in my mind I’d shifted POV back to the first.  The story really didn’t need the second POV, either.

On the basis of this novel, I’d be very reluctant to try another Rob Thurman book.  What a shame.