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Official Review: Blood Web by Gary Starta

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Official Review: Blood Web by Gary Starta

Post Number:#1 by Mune
» 10 Jan 2017, 17:45

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Blood Web" by Gary Starta.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by Mune
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Often I find myself a sucker for investigative thrillers. Whether there are supernatural or science fiction motifs, or if the detectives or agents function in the modern world, I truly enjoy the puzzle, intrigue, build-up, and finale of a good investigation story. Blood Web is an FBI case scenario with supernatural aspects. The main character, Agent Diggs, has a typical backstory of a deceased partner/lover killed in the line of duty and is brought back to the field after taking some time off to work on a case that needs an "out-of-the-box" approach. Though this is a common basis for many a good and bad detective novel, I was very interested in the strange nature of the case itself.

An ancient Native American artifact, an arrowhead necklace, has been found by a runaway orphan who is immediately placed under the influence of this magic crystal. The boy ends up killing a man or two and the case, somehow, becomes the focus of an FBI investigation. This is when Diggs is mentioned, though not yet brought in. Rivers is a rookie agent who is the "kind of" partner to Diggs when they finally meet up over halfway through the book. We are reminded every few pages that Rivers looks like the actress Halle Barry. Then there is their immediate superior, and then the head of their offices, a few military men, a journalist, a talk show host, a prostitute, two Native Americans and several more characters that we get to bounce in between as the story slowly, very slowly, unfolds. The gist being that the Native Americans say the pendant is evil, corrupt government people want the pendant, and lots of people in the middle are trying to figure out what it is and what it does.

I really wanted to like this book. There were aspects to some of the characters that were interesting and relatable but unfortunately were often contradicted later on. Some scenes absolutely baffled me in their improbability or nonsensical nature. An example from one of the first chapters is a man finds the Shenks, the future killer, has broken into his home. They have an awkward grappling scene and then the man picks up a "red hot poker" from the fire (that has nearly gone out) and tells the boy to lift his shirt and then proceeds to poke his stomach. I re-read the lines several times, confused as to why someone would stand there and do that, either one of them. This was the first, and most obvious, scene like this, but there were so many more to come. One of the agents would suddenly start spilling personal, completely unrelated backstory in the middle of a scene or to a complete stranger. The personalities of the characters seemed rather bipolar, there were too many characters to comfortably keep track of, and then there was the descriptive nature of the narration.

My biggest complaint was how this story is narrated. The author takes an omniscient approach, but one that is rather obnoxious. We get to learn what the random guy walking by is thinking, about his family, and in unnecessary detail. There are so many times that I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. Information that had no bearing on the scene, or even the book, would be described in full paragraphs. Anytime the science aspects were brought up, the story would ramble on about it until the information became repetitive. Flashbacks and backstory that could be wrapped up in one or two paragraphs take up more of the book than the storyline that is being told. And Rivers looks like Halle Berry. Everyone notices this, everyone says this, and the narrator reminds you when there is no one in that section to say or notice this detail. Then there were the "teleporting" characters. They are in one state relaxing and then standing in another state angrily talking with someone and then somewhere else. For the most part, though, nearly every character was rather forgettable due to the dual personality types; like Diggs being a tough woman one minute and then wrapped up in a teenage crush the next. Speaking of crushes, the misty scenes of everyone suddenly being attracted to someone else (something the reader is told is rare for that person) happens to half of the characters.

There is an interesting story in this book, but I think it was lost under piles of rambling, unnecessary narrative on every person that was mentioned, and the many contradictions and unexplained aspects of the actual case being investigated. I had trouble caring about the characters and what was going to happen and had pretty much figured out how it was all going to end way to early in the story. I think with some editing and revising, there could be a great read made out of the skeleton, but the full body was just a mess. I really don't even know what I could compare it to as it was described as a crime thriller but came off more of a supernatural romance book with an investigative undertone. I wanted to know more about Shenks and Diggs, the killer and the agent, and wish there had been more focus on them and not so many other people. The grammar and spelling were pretty decent with only a few minor issues, mostly with the absence of parentheses to show dialogue, so I would give Blood Web a 2 out of 4 stars overall. The lack of continuity in the characters and the storyline being all over the place make it hard for me to rate any higher.

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Blood Web
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Mune
 
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Re: Official Review: Blood Web by Gary Starta

Post Number:#2 by kimmyschemy06
» 11 Jan 2017, 08:14

That was a very honest review. The premise sounds really promising. Too bad, though, about the total execution of the book. Great job on the review.
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Re: Official Review: Blood Web by Gary Starta

Post Number:#3 by mratdegraff91
» 15 Jan 2017, 20:28

Great and honest review. It is always a struggle to read something that seems as chaotic as what you described the book to be. I typically enjoy having background on characters, but this sounds like too much. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Official Review: Blood Web by Gary Starta

Post Number:#4 by Mune
» 15 Jan 2017, 20:38

Thank you both. I always feel bad when I give a rough review as I know how much goes into writing a book, but I also know how crucial it is to give a honest and thorough review for future readers.
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