I really don’t want to write this review, but part of the agreement required when taking part in the Mini Book Expo for Bloggers is that you must review the books you are sent, even if you don’t finish them. I didn’t finish City of Pillars by Dominic Peloso. I wanted to finish it. I wanted to like it. But I didn’t.
The book has a good premise: a man is mistakenly given a cryptic manuscript and must do everything he can to stay alive when the bad guys come looking for it. I’m sure there is more to the book than that, as the back cover promises “an ancient, worldwide conspiracy”, but I didn’t get that far.
Sadly, this book just isn’t particular well written. It suffers from many technical errors, like wordiness, telling instead of showing, and many, many passive sentences. It is told in the first person, and yet we are told too many times what other characters are thinking. Take this passage as an example:
“Who are you, and what crime would you like to report?” said the officer mechanically. his badge said ‘Frank Daly’. He had been working a long shift and was a bit tired. He had manned the desk for almost a year now and had heard it all. His main function was to stop all of the nuts from bothering the real detectives. He resented his job.
Now, unless the protagonist went out for a beer with Frank later, there is no way he could know any of this. It breaks the suspension of disbelief that an author has to create to make his story successful.
And that brings me to what was most disappointing to me. By telling this story in the first person from a distance of eight or ten years, the tension is taken out of the book. Clearly the author survives the pulse-pounding showdowns he is recounting. I never became hooked, and gave up after about 80 pages.
I do think that there is a seed of a great story here. And I think with the help of a good editor, and maybe a shift to a third person perspective, this could have been a great book. I’m interested in seeing what Peloso writes next, and hope that it is the great book that the City of Pillars could have been.
And to add some fun to this post, here is a picture of the Baby Man reviewing a book. He says, “Yum!”