Official Review: One on one by Michael Kelso

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: One on one by Michael Kelso

Post by Cecilia_L » 23 Mar 2019, 09:44

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "One on one" by Michael Kelso.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Like his father before him, Emil Sorns is a corrections officer at Larsan State Prison. As a boy, his father taught him to stand up to bullies. Now, Emil is the night sergeant who rules the prison with an iron fist. Careful to present himself as the model C.O. to his superiors, Emil and his officers are determined to administer "justice" to inmates who are disrespectful or disobedient. "The idea started in a bar, and like most ideas so conceived, it should have stayed there." Michael Kelso's One on One follows Emil's journey as he crosses the line between justice and revenge.

The 268-page book is well written, moves at a quick pace, and challenges readers to rethink preconceived convictions regarding corrections officers, prison, and the criminal justice system. The plot includes some surprising twists and turns I didn't see coming, keeping me engaged until the very end. However, be forewarned; violence and retribution are central themes in the story.

I most liked the book's ending. I appreciated the fact that there were no loose ends. I won't reveal any spoilers, but considering the dark plot, it ended on a more positive note. I also liked the character of Harley Richardson; I found him to be the most relatable character. Harley was a bully from Emil's childhood. They eventually became friends, and he resurfaced as the story unfolded.

However, I found it difficult to connect with most of the characters. In the preface, the author states "98% of the good things that C.O.s do is forgotten when the 2% that do something wrong are plastered all over the headlines. This book is about the 2%." As part of the 2%, Emil is so unlikeable that the author leaves no doubt regarding his motives and vigilante intentions. In this regard, I felt the author went overboard; Emil would have been more relatable had he occasionally experienced remorse or appeared conflicted.

I particularly disliked the author's portrayal of female characters. Despite Emil's questionable morals, there are instances when the author creates a degree of empathy for his actions. On the other hand, Emil's mother is consistently portrayed as an overbearing nag. Alice, the only woman Emil cares about, demonstrates the strength to work in a career mostly dominated by men and knows how to put them in their place when they underestimate her. However, Alice's character is undermined by the author's constant need to dwell on her physical appearance, describing her as a "taller version of Marilyn Monroe with larger breasts." It seems her resemblance to the iconic movie star is not enough; Alice must be further enhanced. The author seems compelled to mention her noticeable curves even when she is involved in a relevant portion of the plot.

Overall, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. Despite my objections to the character development, the book is professionally edited, the plot delivers, and the ending is satisfying. I recommend it to readers who enjoy books about vigilante justice and don't object to profanity and plot-related violence. However, I would not recommend it to young readers or those who are triggered by violence.

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One on one
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Post by Prisallen » 01 Apr 2019, 08:23

It's too bad that the main character is so unrelatable. It would make it very hard to empathize with him. The author's portrayal of women would also take away from the overall story. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Sekhmet September » 01 Apr 2019, 08:35

I probably wouldn't have given this book a second look browsing in a book store. I have some personal experience with the subject matter that would make me feel like I wouldn't want to voluntarily spend my time thinking about it. However, based on your review I am curious to see what is going on inside the main character's head. Maybe the author can make the subject more understandable or lend a new perspective? Thank you for your insight.
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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Apr 2019, 09:19

I don't understand why authors portray females in this way. Is this really all that they know in the real world? Nevertheless, it sounds like an interesting premise. I might have to read it in spite of that. Thanks so much.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 01 Apr 2019, 10:47

Prisallen wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 08:23
It's too bad that the main character is so unrelatable. It would make it very hard to empathize with him. The author's portrayal of women would also take away from the overall story. Thanks for the review!
Thank you for your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 01 Apr 2019, 10:48

Sekhmet September wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 08:35
I probably wouldn't have given this book a second look browsing in a book store. I have some personal experience with the subject matter that would make me feel like I wouldn't want to voluntarily spend my time thinking about it. However, based on your review I am curious to see what is going on inside the main character's head. Maybe the author can make the subject more understandable or lend a new perspective? Thank you for your insight.
I appreciate your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 01 Apr 2019, 10:48

kandscreeley wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 09:19
I don't understand why authors portray females in this way. Is this really all that they know in the real world? Nevertheless, it sounds like an interesting premise. I might have to read it in spite of that. Thanks so much.
My sentiments, exactly. Thanks for your comment.

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Post by Alicia09 » 01 Apr 2019, 11:57

This story sounds wonderful. There is a long standing myth that powerful women can't also be beautiful, so I wonder if Alice was portrayed as being very beautiful because the author wanted to crush that stereotype. Aside from that I have been looking for stories that have a darker overtone and unpredictable plots so I think I'll add this to my "want to read" list.
:character-ariel:

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Post by Juliana_Isabella » 01 Apr 2019, 13:50

I find it interesting that the author recognizes the difficulty of being a corrections officer yet doesn't include relatable characters who do the right thing to contrast the main character.

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Post by Crazyreader01 » 01 Apr 2019, 14:44

I hate loose ends so much! Glad to hear this book didn't have any. Thanks for the review.

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Post by DogoMulla » 01 Apr 2019, 16:11

I wouldn't say I'm triggered by violence, more like intrigue and "justice". This certainly seems like a good-read. Excellent review, again!

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Post by kdstrack » 03 Apr 2019, 11:44

This would be a difficult job, and as the author states, when you do it well you receive little recognition. Your excellent review makes me curious about the author's point of view about the criminal justice system. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Apr 2019, 12:12

Alicia09 wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 11:57
This story sounds wonderful. There is a long standing myth that powerful women can't also be beautiful, so I wonder if Alice was portrayed as being very beautiful because the author wanted to crush that stereotype. Aside from that I have been looking for stories that have a darker overtone and unpredictable plots so I think I'll add this to my "want to read" list.
Thanks for your comment, Alicia.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Apr 2019, 12:13

Juliana_Isabella wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 13:50
I find it interesting that the author recognizes the difficulty of being a corrections officer yet doesn't include relatable characters who do the right thing to contrast the main character.
True. I appreciate your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Apr 2019, 12:14

Crazyreader01 wrote:
01 Apr 2019, 14:44
I hate loose ends so much! Glad to hear this book didn't have any. Thanks for the review.
You're welcome. Thanks for your comment.

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