2 out of 4 stars
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“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow,” said Mary Anne Radmacher.
I recalled these words as I went through the author’s biography and picked her book for review. She, woefully, had a stroke during surgery, which rendered her unable to walk, yet! Her coordination was also a little detrimentally affected. Interestingly, she states that she wrote her book on her phone only.
As a brief and quick read of 24 PDF pages, Unfinished Business by Lacrecia Hillis is a thriller that tackles the story of ten-year-old Jayna, whose mother gets killed. Who killed her and why unravel as you read the book.
After her mother’s death, a friend of Jayna’s mom takes her in and looks after her. As per her mother’s wish, though, she gets enrolled in a Summer camp to be trained on self-defense. The killer remains on the loose and goes after Jayna. Is there closure or does her mother’s murder remain an “Unfinished Business?”
The protagonist, Jayna, thinks and talks like a ten-year-old is expected to, and as she grows older her mode of thinking matures. Of all the diverse characters that cross paths with Jayna, the most prominent is Darwin, her mother’s neighbor and friend. I was enthralled by how he looked after her and by their heartfelt interactions.
I liked the story and the premise behind the book which I reckoned carried tremendous potential. I also appreciated the clear and straightforward writing style. That said, I felt the narrative was lacking in depth. Here’s a glimpse, “When Jayna hung up and turned around Krag was there. Jayna was startled. Is it done? Asked Krag. What done? asked Jayna. Is he dead? How did he know? thought Jayna. Yes said Jayna. Good said Krag. Then walked away.”
The author uses the first person narrative of multiple characters. However, there was an abrupt and sometimes confusing galloping between characters without knowing who’s saying what, that I had to go back and forth and judge from the context. Furthermore, the flat characters rendered me unable to root to the protagonist or get immersed in the prose.
Nonetheless, I commend the author for her perseverance. I also comprehend the shortcomings of typing a book on the phone, but this entailed a total lack of use of quotation marks in the dialogue. Here’s an example, “She smiled at him. I have a surprise for you, close your eyes. Jayna trusted him so she did.”
My greatest disappointment was the inordinate amount of mistakes, which were predominantly grammatical and typographical. With errors in nearly every page, I am fairly certain Unfinished Business did not undergo professional editing and proofreading. Unfortunately, the editorial issues took away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Considering all the above, I rate Unfinished Business by Lacrecia Hillis 2 out of 4 stars. The missteps mandate a one-star deduction. The other star goes off to the unfleshed out characters and the superficial dialogue.
There are promising elements that would have made for an outstanding story. But my craving for depth in the narrative and intricacy in the plot were not satiated. I’d recommend this book to anyone seeking a lighthearted and quick read that has morals and lessons, only if you could overlook the editorial issues.
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