I try to be positive, I really do.
For all my jaded cynicism, I love the horror genre. There are few things more exciting to me that picking up a book or a story from a writer who has hitherto been unknown to me. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re good and sometimes…well…sometimes they’re pretty awful.
However, none of that diminishes my enthusiasm for the genre. If there’s a chance of finding a bone fide gem among the oceans of literary sewage out there, then I’ll pull on my hip waders and my marigolds and delve in. Nothing puts me off searching for the next book that’s going to rock my world – not Twilight, not mass-produced and hastily written tie-ins, not even zombie porn.
Until I read ‘The Coin’
Dear God…’The Coin’. As I say, I’m a positive chap when it comes to my reading, as you’ve no doubt gathered from the blog. I’m not a caustic critic, looking to tear down my fellow writers. I take no pleasure in gutting the creative endeavours of authors. I will always point out flaws, for the sake of balance and probity (after all, I like to think that readers will use my reviews as a sort of shopper’s guide), but I always point out the good stuff too.
J. Blanes, whoever he or she is, doesn’t even allow me that luxury. The good stuff? It’s very short (shorter than this review, in fact) and the basic premise of a gypsy curse is an okay, if somewhat overused, trope.
After that – well, the writing is just terrible. You’d think with 300 words or so that the author would have taken the time to get it right. We’re not talking a handful of errors in a multi-volume, 4000 page epic; it barely covers two screens worth of my Kindle, and yet I have counted no less than 39 errors, and those are just the ones that leaped out at me. Misspelled words, passive sentences, misuse of capitals (I mean, come on!), woeful sentence structure and punctuation that seems to have been applied with a blunderbuss are just the beginning. Once you get away from the nuts and bolts and into the mechanics of the story, it gets worse, moving our character from the street, to his home, to hospital, to the same street a year later with little rhyme or reason except (I suspect) the writer got bored.
It could have worked, that’s the tragedy. The basic idea is absolutely fine, which only makes the execution all the more painful.
Avoid…no, really. Don’t even think about picking it up to see if it really is that bad. Trust me – I wouldn’t lie to you.