Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Inside by Joseph Boutilier

Summary

Zack has only heard stories about his father; a brave police informant who sacrificed his family life and left his son, aged four, to bust the biggest crime ring in Canada.

Fast forward thirteen years. After learning about Zack's big secret, his best friend, Cam, convinces him to travel to Vancouver to find his dad. Instead, they end up in a nearby city with a major Canadian crime boss. There, Zack must come to terms with the truth about his father, and resist the temptation to accept a life of crime. Things only get worse when Cam endangers both their lives by leaking top secret info about the boss, Roger Black.

(Please note: this is an e-book novella. It can be purchased at the Coffee Time Romance or at Eternal Press's site for $2.95!)

Grade: C+

In fifty words or less, what did you like best about this book?
The dialogue was great. Joseph Boutilier has an excellent ear for how teenagers talk nowadays, and it showed.

Review time yet? Mmmhmm!
This is the first novella--and e-book--I've read, which means I'll be taking a different approach at reviewing it.

I assume that with any novella (15-40k words, as opposed to a full-length novel, which is 40k+), the plot has to move forward without much lingering. Inside didn't waste any time progressing with the plot, and this has both its ups and downs:

Pros
- The story didn't meander and we were able to get on with it sans navel-gazing
- No useless details, purple prose, and otherwise wordy elements

Cons
- An occasional underdeveloped character
- Not much time to digest the information you just read

I'll say that I really liked the subject matter this book deals with: a boy who must get involved with criminals in order to meet his father, a man he last saw when he was four, again. Joseph Boutilier does a good job of writing a simplistic novel that turns out to flow very well, making it a light and entertaining read. His characters are definitely what-you-see-is-what-you-get, but like I pointed out above, there's not much room for majorly-constructed depth you'd get in a 70,000-word novel or so.

All in all, I think this would be a stellar read for someone who's looking to pass time. Quick read--fast-paced--affordable.

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