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Book Review of: Sins of Two Fathers
We recommend Sins of Two Fathers
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List Price: $25.00
Sins of Two Fathers, by Denis Hamill
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 4,000 articles.
What a great book. Strong characters, nail-biting plot, and excellent dialogue. I enjoyed it thoroughly. How Hamill came up with such a complicated, unpredictable plot might make for a book in itself.
What happens when an arrogant columnist abuses his power and people get hurt? In this case, he creates a time bomb that ticks for 10 years. And the consequences explode from the pages. We see Hank Tobin face one challenge after another, with the rug continually yanked out from under his feet. His ex-wife Julie won't even talk to him, until circumstances force them to work together to save first their son from a frame-up. While they work against the clock, their daughter is also framed. With both of their 20-ish children facing stiff prison sentences for crimes the didn't commit, Hank Tobin's long list of enemies attacking him at every turn, ghosts of affairs and betrayed love spooking Hank and Julie, the situation looks hopeless time and time again.
But, they both have allies. And, they have each other. The thing is, it's hard to tell who their friends are and who their enemies are. This book has one surprise after another. You expect to see people constantly betrayed by their own weaknesses and that happens. But in this story, they are betrayed by their strengths, as well. While they overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, they remain human. And in that lies their only hope of salvation.
Adding to the flavor of the book is Hamill's detailed knowledge of New York City places and cultures. He also gives vivid descriptions of events--you can almost feel what the character must be feeling. For example, in one scene we see an immigrant of Arabic descent undergo a humiliating and terrifying search at an airport. In another scene, Hank barely escapes violence at the hands of a vigilante group. We also feel, right along with Hank, as he deals with his desire and love for his ex-wife. His anguish as a father with a son imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit also comes through. It's a story about parental love in various forms: twisted, abused, redeeming, lost, found, empowering, protecting, saving. It's a story about ambition in various forms, too. And it's a story about forces colliding, bouncing off of each other, seeking balance, and pushing people from rocks to hard places and back again.
Here's an interesting tidbit: I'm writing this review on Mother's Day, and my mother recommended this book to me. If you like a nail-biter, you will enjoy this book.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.