Official Review: The Hand That Feeds You by Amos Cartell

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CaitlynLynch
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Official Review: The Hand That Feeds You by Amos Cartell

Post by CaitlynLynch » 06 Jun 2018, 05:55

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Hand That Feeds You" by Amos Cartell.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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The Hand That Feeds You begins with two murders, a man and his wife killed in their home by an assassin sent by a shadowy organisation called The Network. Away from home,eighteen-year-old son survives the massacre. Several years later, Gabriel, now a college football star, decides he can no longer live without knowing who ordered his parents killed, and why.

The book follows two parallel stories, that of Gabriel as he returns to his street roots and reconnects with loyal friends and that of Marquis, The Network’s principal assassin. Marquis’s terrifying slide off the rails into sociopathy draws him into inevitable conflict with The Director of The Network, even as Gabriel’s investigation leads him in the same direction. When both stories collide, the book comes to an exciting climax not everyone will survive.

The two main characters in the book, Gabriel and Marquis, were such a contrast to each other. Gabriel was young and talented, the world at his feet and a bright future ahead. Taking steps to investigate his parents’ murders leads him into situations where everything is put in jeopardy, but he can’t leave it alone. He reaches out to his old friend Riley, a former footballing team-mate from his school days and now a gang leader dealing drugs. The loyalty shown by Riley to his friend was both surprising and inspiring, and humanised a young black man who many might assume was merely a street thug with no care for anything but money and his next fix.

On the other hand, Marquis was an absolutely terrifying sociopath. It was very apparent that he’d long since crossed the line from assassin to serial killer, getting a kick out of killing whether sanctioned by his bosses or otherwise.

The underlying principles of this story are solid and the characters well-drawn. Events build up logically to an exciting climax and the big reveal of the shadowy mastermind was cleverly foreshadowed without giving anything away until the right moment.

However, this book has some major issues. As a female reader, I was disappointed that the only female character in the book who has any speaking lines, Gabriel’s girlfriend Tia, was treated by him as a sex object who he prized because she had learned good housekeeping from her Filipina mother and liked to clean and cook. This plays into any number of harmful tropes about Asian women, not to mention the way literally every single other woman in the book is treated, most if not all of them appearing only to have sex with one of the ‘bad guys’ and then be killed off gruesomely. I can’t imagine any woman reading this and not finding the way women are portrayed to be degrading at best, especially since Tia is ‘fridged’ halfway through the book and used only as a motivation for Gabriel’s actions thereafter.

Amos Cartell is a black author writing about black characters in a book which definitely fits within the #OwnVoices movement. As such, maybe it’s not a book a white person like me would remotely ‘get’, but it still needs to be well edited with realistic dialogue. Beginning or ending nearly every piece of dialogue with ‘my nig’ doesn’t fit within these parameters, and I found any number of grammatical and punctuation errors which distracted from the story. It needs a solid round of editing to clean up all the issues.

I’m deducting one star for the editing problems, and another for the degrading way all the women in this book are portrayed. It’s a shame, because this really does have a solid plot and an intriguing premise, but I’m afraid I can only award it two out of four stars.

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The Hand That Feeds You
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teacherjh
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Post by teacherjh » 07 Jun 2018, 02:22

Unfortunately, in the gang life, most women are treated that way. Despite the problems, this sounds like an interesting plot.

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Post by SamSim » 07 Jun 2018, 07:05

Great premise and it's really interesting with the two opposing characters' stories juxtaposed. The subject matter is a little heavy for me, though, and I agree, the positioning of ALL the female characters is a disappointment. I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the great review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Jun 2018, 07:26

This definitely seems like it has several issues. Maybe it's not a book that is really geared toward me. I won't be reading it, but I do appreciate your take on the book. Thanks.
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Post by Mouricia25 » 07 Jun 2018, 21:40

At first I was interested in the story line, but as I read your review further, I have decided I will not be reading this book.

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Post by CaitlynLynch » 07 Jun 2018, 23:34

Yeah... there was actually a detective in the book which would have been a really interesting female character. No reason at all why he had to be male.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 08 Jun 2018, 10:38

CaitlynLynch wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 05:55

Amos Cartell is a black author writing about black characters in a book which definitely fits within the #OwnVoices movement. As such, maybe it’s not a book a white person like me would remotely ‘get’, but it still needs to be well edited with realistic dialogue. Beginning or ending nearly every piece of dialogue with ‘my nig’ doesn’t fit within these parameters, and I found any number of grammatical and punctuation errors which distracted from the story. It needs a solid round of editing to clean up all the issues.
I was so interested in this at the beginning of the review. It made me think of Bruce Wayne in Gotham wanting to find out who killed his parents. Then I got to the quoted paragraph and thought, CaitlynLynch gets it! I can't deal with the dialogue issue. That would aggravate me to no end. Not enough redeeming qualities for me to take a chance on this one. Nice review.

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Post by crediblereading2 » 10 Jun 2018, 23:12

I love the plot of this story. It is so admirable to see Gabriel seeking to find his parents murderer. Thank you for a great review.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 06 Jul 2018, 21:59

Wow, I was so interested in the plot at the beginning of your review, but as I read further my interest waned. The weak female characters and dialogue you described are off-putting. I appreciate your honest review!

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