I loved this book. The quirky characters, the weird situations, the interaction. Junior Frenger, a freeloading sociopath recently released from prison, arrives in Miami, where he uses his skills at deception and violence to twist situations into his advantage.
Weary police detective Hoke Moseley investigates the carnage in Frenger’s wake and falls victim himself, which leads to hilarious situations.
Strongly recommended to fans of Elmore Leonard and noir crime novels.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well, I managed to get to 29% of the Kindle version of The Killing League until the lack of verisimilitude deflated my suspense of disbelief.
I had high expectations of this book, due to the enticing blurb, but the story failed to deliver. The characters were described to provide a visual image, but I got no sense of their internal emotions beyond what Ms. Amore told me they were feeling. The writing is not unskilled, and some of the descriptions were quite visceral, but when someone fires a gun in a forest and:
The smell of cordite hung in the air around them.
That’s a huge red flag that someone doesn’t know what they’re writing about. Cordite hasn’t been used firearm ammunition since second World War and the triple-based gunpowder that replaced might have a acidic metallic smell that might be picked up by extremely sensitive noses, but only if someone fires boxes of ammunition in a closed space, like a small room or a badly ventilated shooting range. In the open air? No chance that a smell will hang around after firing one round.
Of course, Ms. Amore is probably not the only writer who mistakenly uses cordite with post-WWII ammunition, but there was more to The Killing League that failed to engage me.
The lack of characterization was grating. None of the characters was even faintly interesting. Not the serial killers, who seemed derivative and unoriginal, nor the protagonists Mack and Nicole, who are both bland and superficial.
The pace was sluggish because the writer felt compelled to fill whole scenes with descriptions or explanations that were not necessary for any mildly intelligent reader to figure out for themselves. Dialogue was often pedestrian and interspersed with dragging descriptions:
“Hey Boss!” Antony Toffol, her sous chef, called out as she started inventory on the wine selections.
“Yeah,” she said. He stood with the door to the kitchen open. Nicole smelled the olive oil, garlic, onion, rosemary, shallots, paprika and black pepper that were being used in various incarnations.
“Someone dropped off a card for you,” he said. “It was under the door when I opened up — it’s over on the receptionist table.”
“Okay, thanks,” she said.
I don’t like to ‘force’ myself to read. There are so many books still to be read, that I couldn’t justify wasting my time on this one. Sorry, Ms. Amore, but the second star is merely because the formatting and editing seemed professional. The story itself didn’t rate more than 1 star for me.
When asked, many people will say they want to write a novel, but do they? While there are many considerations to make before embarking on this fickle career, these are some of the basic considerations you might want to ponder:
- Can I tell the story in less than 10,000 words?
- Can I create multiple characters all equally able to be protagonists in their own stories?
- Can I suspend the disbelief of my readers?
- Do I have the stamina to create a 80,000 word novel?
- Do I have more than one novel in me?
- Can I handle making less than minimum wage while I work almost 24/7?
- Can I handle the ridicule and stupid remarks if I go public?
The reason you need to consider these questions:
- 10,000 words is a short story. Novels take up more words.
- A protagonist needs peers and antagonists, who need to be equal to the protagonist to make the story interesting.
- Readers want to be immersed in a story, they want to believe in your characters. So the desire is there. If you weave a story that makes believers out of readers, you can be a writer.
- Although everything over 60,000 words can be called a novel, most novels are between 80,000-100,000 words. If you write a 1000 usable words a day, that means about three solid months of writing.
- Most successful authors are prolific with at least 5+ novels to their name. There are exceptions, but don’t imagine yourself to be one of them.
- Do you know the author Philip K. Dick? People who are serious about storytelling are generally in awe of his storytelling ability. His novels and short stories form the basis of movies like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck and a host of others. Even in his best years, Dick rarely earned more than 12,000$ per year. In fact, most writers don’t earn more than 10,000$ per year and most earn considerably less. Even Stephen King had to support his family with his teaching job for the first decade of his career. And James Patterson made his money in advertising before he turned to writing fiction.
- I’m fortunate that most people don’t want to antagonize me (based on my size and my encyclopedic knowledge of murder), but even I get disparaging remarks, or questions how much I earn with my books, or people who think their ideas are sufficiently interesting that they can tell them to me and I ‘just write them down’. Not to mention the many many people who would love to write a book, if only they had the time. Of course, the idiocy gets balanced by people who are genuinely awed by a writer’s ability to create stories and characters ‘out of thin air’ and readers writing you about the character they like the most and ask if that character will be featured in the upcoming book. Still, a writer needs thick skin. If you’re sensitive and insecure about your own abilities, you might want to reconsider choosing writing fiction as a career.
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Seldom have I read a more ridiculous book than this concoction by Lee Weeks. Not just were the actions unbelievable, but dialogue is stale and awkward.
When near the end of the book the protagonist throws a ‘four-pointed throwing star measuring six inches in diameter’ twenty feet and decapitates a man, that’s when my bullshit radar overheated.
I threw the book twenty feet across the room into the waste-paper bin. Not recommended, 1/5. Should never have been published. The blurb alludes that Lee Weeks is ‘hailed as the female James Patterson’. I have no love for James Patterson, but compared to this book, his books are literary masterpieces.