Thursday, March 25, 2010

Worst Nightmares Shane Briant.

The title is what grabbed me, then the plot. Booker-prize-winning Dermot Nolan is delivered a frightening manuscript entitled “My Worst Nightmares – My Delicious Memoirs”… and instructed to publish it. The pages contain gruesome descriptions by the Dream Healer, who locates his victims via the Internet, then kills them according their own worst phobias.

Suffering from a case of writer’s block and having spent a million-dollar advance, Dermot makes the decision to publish it as his own work. But is the manuscript just a bloody bestseller, or a diary? From the point of view of a person who suffers from nightmares often, this sounded like a really good story!

Well, it disappoints, big time. Heavy-handed writing, wooden dialogue, unlikely names, a jerk protagonist with no common sense, an awkward plot, poor logistics, and lazy editing make this a less than mediocre choice. This could have been done so much better. It was not suspenseful, not chilling, not even original. I felt like I had come across some short stories I wrote in college and even junior high, only to discover that they still need quite a bit of work to be readable. It was simply not interesting enough. I only read on (ok, skimmed) to find out how Briant could possibly make everything come together. And I was not impressed.

Thank goodness I borrowed this from the library and didn’t buy it! Just the thought that I could have possibly spent money on this one makes me shiver much more than the story.

Clever Cat’s Conclusion: careless, cheesy crap. (I won’t even give it capitals! That’s how you know it’s really bad.) Dear Mr. Briant, I know this was your debut, but please don’t bother writing another book. Your publisher (Vanguard) should be embarrassed.

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