Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Don't Bother Bin: Ravens

by George Dawes Green - 1 star

Halfway through reading this book, I put it down for 5 days to attend a music festival. As an illustration of just how much I wasn't enjoying it, I wasn't remotely bothered by having to stop halfway through, didn't think of it once while I was away, and was actually pretty disgruntled when I returned and remembered I hadn't finished it yet. The second half didn't change this in any way.

Tara's family, including younger non-entity brother Jase, alcoholic mum Patsy and god-bothering Dad Mitch, have just won the lottery. All $318 million of it. But it won't be theirs for long as Shaw and Romeo, two former IT techs trying to escape their dull lives, have heard about their win and Shaw hatches a plan. He'll take the family hostage, while Romeo roams the night intent on killing everyone they love if the family doesn't hand over half their winnings. Which Shaw wants to then give away.

The family happily complies without any fight while the female side sorta falls for Shaw, and the public start seeing him as some sort of Jesus figure when he announces his intentions to give his 'winnings' away. Until Shaw doesn't answer one of Romeo's calls due to an accident, which is the signal for him to start killing.

This was all over the shop, seemingly unable to decide what kind of book it wanted to be, and settling for being uneven and completely implausible. Characters make strange decisions and behave in ways that no person would, and no real effort is put into making the reader feel that those thoughts and actions make sense. When Shaw first tells Romeo of his plan, he simply accepts it. I've been a bored IT person, and I love my friends, but I imagine that if one of them asked me to kill a stranger's entire family so they could give away some money I'd have a little more to say about it than "OK then."

As for the family, if someone had taken mine hostage and told me there was a crazed killer roaming around waiting to kill the rest of my loved ones, I wouldn't spend my time on the internet looking at mansions. As soon as the kidnapper fell asleep (which he does, a few times, without his plan falling apart), I'd be straight on the blower to my mates and the police, before making sure my kidnapper didn't wake up again. And if the crazed killer finally turned up, I wouldn't follow his instructions to shoot someone in the face.

But maybe that's just me...

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