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Book Review of: Think Twice
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Think Twice, by Lisa Scottoline (Softcover, 2010)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Normally, I listen to Lisa Scottoline novels in audio format. The narrators do a great job with those Italian accents. I grew up with Italian accents, capice? This was my first time with one of these novels in paper format.
It's hard to believe the author of this book is the author of the others. There are two glaring reasons why:
The plot isn't plausible, but what is plausible is the author was aware of how weak (or farcical) this novel was, so she used some gimmicks instead of relying on solid writing.
For example, many chapters were only two pages long. There are 128 chapters in 371 pages. You read the first page of one chapter, and flip the page--you are looking at the next chapter. Pacing by chopping up the scenes into micro chunks strikes me as an act of desperation. It would have been better to focus on the actual writing. Fix the plot, and use the characters we have come to know so well. I'm not saying a character can't ever change, but what we're asked to believe in this novel just isn't believable.
A major implausibility is that Bennie's twin sister could impersonate her and fool Bennie's employees. These people are lawyers. They are highly educated people. They make their livings sorting through evidence and applying logic. Sure, one of the attorneys "thinks" there's something wrong but she can't convince her coworkers to even provide a basic test. It's hard to believe "whether to ascertain the facts" is even an issue. Especially considering the circumstances.
As a reader, I found myself wincing but still wanting to go on. What saved this book wasn't the use of micro-scenes. What saved it was the use of a few MacGuffins. I wanted to see how (or if) those were resolved. So, while this book is not at the quality we've come to expect from a Lisa Scottoline novel, it's still fairly entertaining.
And I do like a few things about the ending. These, the author made plausible. It is the getting to that point that really needs to be rethought and re-done in a revised version that meets the standards Lisa Scottoline has previously written to.
If you've not read a Lisa Scottoline novel yet, don't start with this one. It's not her best work. Start with Moment of Truth, or maybe Lady Killer. After you gain an appreciation for this outstanding author who usually does excellent work, then you may want to pick up 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.