The Slayer

Author: Nadine LaPierre
Publisher: Frisson Books
Publication Date: July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9868668-0-7
Rating 2 ½ stars
Genre: Drama

This is a very long book at over four hundred pages. Is it also a good book? A book that has you glued to your seat, eyes to the page, heart pounding, mouth dry, laughing along with the characters, crying with them?

Not so much, unfortunately. It could be, if it were about a third shorter. It has promise, but as it’s not a first draft, it’s too late for promise. It is exceptionally well researched and the author has something of a flair for dialogue. The storyline is complex and the characters are reasonably compelling although not especially well developed, as though the author was unsure how to express the complexities of their personalities. The setting was well portrayed and a good background for the action of the novel.

In all, this was a frustrating read, mostly because so much of the story didn’t serve any purpose. I had a count up and there are five characters that are completely unnecessary to the story. They serve no purpose in moving the story forward and instead they drag it down until the whole thing becomes tiresome. Four hundred pages is a lot to ask of a fiction reader. The story needs to be tight, well paced and every detail should be relevant.

I visited Ms. LaPierre’s website and read the abridged version available there of the epilogue to this book. This abridged version is great. Everything in it is relevant to the story, the scene is set and we’re given a good look at what the book is going to be about. Unfortunately the full version loses this sharpness of focus and the first half of the book does little other than introduce far too many characters until all is confusion.

I spent at least two hundred pages wondering what the story was actually about. Was it about a murder case? Was it about the main character’s childhood trauma? Was it about the lives and loves of a group of women? There were several places I wanted to put the book down because there just wasn’t any focus and clarity to the storyline.

I did, however, read right to the end and things do clarify in the second half. It does, in fact, become quite a good read, with a pretty satisfying ending. LaPierre’s skill with dialogue is a treat and there are many scenes in the book that have a great sense of immediacy.

The bones of this book are great, it’s just carrying a lot of flab on them. You need to be a very stubborn, forgiving reader to manage this one.

Kate Genet

I'm a writer, storyteller and an exerciser of a very stretchy mind. I believe in curiosity, wonder and teaching my mind to do back flips.

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