1 out of 4 stars
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In its current state, His Betrayals by Jerry Payne is a book that requires much restraint to complete wading through. Its description enticed me, but just 5 seconds into it, I was wondering what I got myself into. Wouldn’t you feel the same if you met five errors in the opening paragraph, and five more on the first page alone?
The lack of professional editing is just the tip of an iceberg, however. The author has crammed so much into the book that the reader has to chase the plot the world over and back! It is like being made to abandon one bandwagon and jump onto another, and yet another, before catching a glimpse of the initial bandwagon!
The plot starts with the protagonist, Kyle Stone, in the midst of a business betrayal by close colleagues. Then follows some Spiritism, effectively leaving a court order hanging in the balance. Next, there is coercion that results in his success on a different front. Oh, and at some point, his revered heritage also comes into play, according him amazing privileges. Bandwagon-jumping, right?
It would take a very ingenious plot to smoothly juggle a hostile business takeover, witchcraft, mafia, and folklore. Unfortunately, Payne’s writing is simplistic. In the world he creates, greedy intentions can be recanted by clever threats. This being the case, he couldn’t pull off such complicated juggling. The result? Half-baked hanging threads and an overall incredulous plot.
Nevertheless, save for the grammar, the storyline’s elaborate and far-flung challenges with simple solutions could get the attention of tweens and younger teens who care more for action than practicality. Being also that this is the age children start eating like an army, Payne's detailed descriptions of meals and expensive wine selection would hit the right chord.
The book is written in the third-person perspective, using erroneously mixed tenses! Run-on sentences, punctuation, and spelling mistakes complete the ensemble. Conversations are stilted and much too formal, even between lovers. Reactions are bland and often incredulous. To cap it, the characters are shallow. Imagine, even Kyle never outgrows being a victim of circumstances! I suspect English is not the author’s first language, so he was limited in his eloquent-expression ability. If so, a professional editor is an invaluable resource he should consider.
Payne’s attempt at shifting timelines in his narration also failed. He couldn't correctly meld any two timelines he tried to work with, leaving more confusion in his wake. Can you imagine not knowing when a flashback rejoins present time narration?
I tried so hard to uncover something appealing in this book, but the odds just seemed stacked against it. On my reader, even the formatting was annoying. Each page had two columns and identifying successive columns called for conscious effort. I had never realized that just being able to scroll from one page to the next is a luxury.
While rating this book 1 out of 4 stars, I reiterate that it can be redeemed. First, thorough professional editing is needed. Then, if the author still wants to accommodate all his impressive imagination, he should consider breaking the plot into two or so books. Finally, how about a simple chronological recounting in place of the disastrous shifting timelines he tried?
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