1 out of 4 stars
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Quietus in the Garden of Deceit by Richard Nehrebecki is a novel that follows two lovers, both complex and troubled, trying to find their place together. This book has a melange of desire, obsession, darkness, mystery and - of course - deceit, creating what could only be described as a romantic tragedy. Set in the 1980s, the lives of Rollo Kirkpatrick and JoJo Hearne become intertwined to form a toxic relationship between one whose love turns to obsession and one unable to love or accept being loved. Not only is their relationship stalked by insecurities, deceit and chaos but also by an anonymous observer across the street.
Elements of this book’s plot are promising and intriguing, but the execution is disappointing. Firstly, there were a few things I did like about this book. There were some moments created by Nehrebecki that held great potential, if expanded upon later, that could have improved the plot and piqued interest. One of these moments was the backstory of Rollo Kirkpatrick’s parents as the author created two characters more complex and interesting than the protagonists but did not delve deeper into them.
Sadly, there were many shortcomings in this book. Much of the novel only appeared to be half-developed. For example, the two protagonists had many mental health issues which were never fully explored; it seemed as though they were bolted-on to create the illusion of a complex character. Another problem I found was that the story did not gain momentum until over halfway through the book, and there was not enough content that kept me wanting to know what would happen next. Occasionally the author would add a mysterious paragraph or a sentence at the end of a chapter to keep the reader engaged. However, this element of mystery also felt like an afterthought of the book.
There were numerous typographical and grammatical errors throughout this book which become quite tiresome and infuriating. An example included a paragraph that appeared to have been rewritten without deleting the old version. Other mistakes included “throwing himself under at train at Kensington,” and “the muggy fug.” The last issue that is worth mentioning is the author’s overuse of the ellipsis as it replaces almost all punctuation within direct speech. Although some might argue that a lot of ellipses conveys the style of a character’s speech, here it was used excessively for all of the characters every time they spoke.
Due to the various issues with this novel, I rate this 1 out of 4 stars. If it weren’t for the abundance of errors, I believe this book would have deserved 2 stars. Unfortunately, due to the many grievances with the plot, I could not rate it any higher than that. I believe this book would benefit from a round of professional editing as this would make reading much more enjoyable. I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 18 due to the level of explicit content. I also warn that this book may be triggering to some as there are incidents of abuse, rape, self-harm, suicide and a distressing description of a concentration camp.
Quietus in the Garden of Deceit
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