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Book Review: A Life of Death: The Golden Bulls

January 17, 2013

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This stinks, does it not? As I type things, two things frustrate me. First, the last book in my Amazon order has yet to arrive, which means I cannot finally close a gap in a series I am currently following. The the worst one though is that the Internet connection of the area where the server is located has experienced slow down, which may explain why blog is loading slowly, if at all, right now.

Anyway, I cannot let that get me down. After all, I just received a new eBook from an author that has been satisfied with my reviews, though I approached him this time. Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Life of Death: The Golden Bulls by Weston Kincade.

Alex Drummond is busy man working to keep the citizens of Tranquil Heights. Almost every day, he gets wrapped up in another case. However, the life of a career in law enforcement is not always so simple, especially for Alex. He now must deal with a case, involving a ritualistic murder that seems to happen every year on the same date, which had started back when he was in college. Unfortunately for him, his paranormal visions are not helpful this time around.

I do not want to say that this is best thing I have ever read, but this was certainly enjoyable. The book was paced very well. In fact, the action was just as fast-paced as I would expect from the two previous books from Weston Kincade that I have read. I also liked how thing seemed much easier to follow than the other two. There was no confusion that was caused by shifting perspectives like there was in Invisible Dawn. I could even tell whether or not Alex was experiencing vision much better than in A Life of Death. The grammar was pretty good too. It was not perfect, but nothing too major. I did not even spot any instances of the wrong proper noun being used. All I could see was most likely typos, if anything, but definitely forgivable. No human being is perfect, nor are their creations, but this what I want to see in writers. Like Invisible Dawn, I just did not want to put down this down. I was engrossed enough that I could not really be distracted much from. The case featured in this book was also setup very well. This is a case that I probably would have wanted to tackle if I were with the police or FBI. There were a few things that caught my eye the most though. First, I liked how Alex said that even the least important detail was important to solving a crime. Where have I heard this from, I wonder? I want to say Sherlock, but it could also be Hercule Poirot. In any case, it does seem somewhat familiar. Of course, this is not just true for solving crime, but almost any issue. Outside of writing, which I do need to get to work on because I have only been doing blog posts, I also troubleshoot computers, and do network troubleshooting in a few instances. The minutest detail is as important to me as any police detective or officer, which helps me to narrow down where the problem lies. This why IT people ask what the last thing the user did before problem occurred, in addition to what the problem is. However, as I stated in my review of Detective Conan (Case Closed) episode 29 (Japanese count), people will normally lie when asked about that. Yes, they probably did not do anything, as they were probably not the last person on the machine, but it is also possible that they do not want the IT person to say they are the cause. Of course, if the person who last used the machine says they did nothing, I would probably refuse to help them because they might not supply with other information I need. There are other things too, but aside from the biggest question and what I mentioned in that review, I do not think much pertains to this book. Another thing that I liked was that Alex compared his visions to reading the end of a book or story first. This seems awfully familiar as well, but I can attribute this to Sherlock for sure. I have not read all the Conan Doyle works of Sherlock, but I think I remember him saying that anyone can tell what happens giving the details leading up to the events, but not if they are given only the result. Again, this is what troubleshooting computers is like for an IT person. When somebody calls one in, the tech is present with the result and nothing is known because they do not have all the pieces. The only way to get at those pieces though is to start asking questions. The other thing that I liked was how separate events that happened in the past converged into the main investigation. I cannot say how often this happens, but I do not doubt that this does indeed happen. I think that is why Alex brought up that things that may seem unimportant might be the key to solving everything and goes back to why I know that the most trivial information is just as important as anything else. Another thing that I liked was seeing the overconfidence of the professors that were supposedly experts in Egyptian history. I cannot say that they are right or wrong, but they just seemed like almost every other archeologist out there. They did something up and create a story around it that may or may not true, thereby making their find into fake evidence. On the other hand, they are much better than other scientists, especially since somebody I know who has actually been on a few digs can confirm that a few know they do not everything right. Besides, there are worse scientists out there, who want people to believe man-made global warming is not a hoax. I will let you guy think what you want there though, since it has nothing do with book. The fact that I saw some statements that can be attribute to Doyle's Sherlock or Agatha Christie's Poirot and that thing were much easier follow, as well as the fact that the case presented was exciting and that the author has shown improvement, certainly makes this a great book.

Although I liked the book, there are certainly some issues. As I said earlier, there are some typos, but it is at an acceptable level and did not bug me too much. Still, that does not mean that I can let this book go. First, the culprit was too obvious to me. Time and again, I have complained about culprits in detective, mystery, and crime fiction works being obvious and that has certainly ruined things. I am not expecting everything to be a whodunit or what not. In fact, it works that this book is not a whodunit. However, an obvious culprit ruined things a bit here. The moment Alex learned Jessie's girlfriend was interested in Egyptain history, his girlfriend automatically became a suspect in my eyes, since the tattoos were related to Egyptian culture. The thing that sealed the deal though was when Alex noticed her with a ring that looked like it was burned. Because of this, I was not that surprised when Alex saw all of those visions. Fans of detective, mystery, crime fiction all want to have criminals are not so obvious as this. On the other hand, this is a whole lot better than Crooked House and Detective Conan (Case Closed) episode 6. Another thing that was not so great was that there was not really anything that special about this book. In A Life of Death, I had a great experience where there was so much that was relatable to real life, even lessons Alex learned, but here, I did not really see any of that. The only things I did see were relatable to the computer world and other things used to solve any problem. This is by no means bad, but it was certainly a disappointment with the stage set by it predecessor. The major problem I had though is that this ebook does not seem that well put together. I will probably attribute it to the author rushing it, so that I could get it in the format I wanted, which is kind of understandable, but that is not enough for me to overlook this. In the book, there are 20 chapters of content, including the prologue, and few other special things, but the TOC as presented by my apps used to read this only lists about 12 chapters, including the prologue. When I noticed this on my iPad, I checked with Aldiko and Adobe Digital Editions and noticed they displayed the same thing. In order to check on this, I ran it through a program I have to check if ePubs are valid and errors were thrown out left and right, which his other titles did not do. What made things worse was that because chapters 11-12 and 14-19 were missing from the TOC reading software recogized, chapters 10 and 13 were supposedly longer than they should have been, with my iPad stating that chapter 13 was over one hundred pages long, even though all 20 chapters were present in book. This makes it harder to pick up where I left off if I choose to continue reading from a different device or app and will certainly bug readers to no end. I will not hold this against Weston Kincade though, and instead hold it against myself for not letting him know when I should have. After all, he was kind enough to give me the book for free and in the format I wanted. I do want him to know though that he does not need to rush to get me any books I am interested in, if he did indeed rush things here. Outside of that I cannot really think of anything else to complain about. The fact that the ebook was not put together so well certainly does quite a bit damage, but since I blame myself for not bringing it to Weston Kincade's attention sooner more than Weston Kincade himself, I will not let it ruin the great experience this book was. The thing that did the most damage, however, was the disappointment that came from the expectation of the previous title in the series and the fact that the criminal obvious.

Despite the fact that I was disappointed by a few things and the fact that the ebook was not put together well, the good outweighs bad, as the author seems to have improved, and makes this worth reading. I recommend this anyone who liked A Life of Death. As for fans of mystery, detective, and crime fiction, I would hesitantly recommend this because things were setup well for a good mystery, but the fact that the culprit is obvious kind of makes me want to recommend avoiding this. As for everyone else, I would certainly recommend this book because Weston Kincade is a great writer.

What are your thoughts on A Life of Death: The Golden Bulls? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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2 Comments

  • Bryce, Thanks for reading and reviewing The Golden Bulls. I'm sorry your epub had conversion issues, but will certainly look into the problem. I previewed it using the new conversion software before sending it to you, but evidently the software didn't quite work as well as I'd hoped. Currently the book is only available in Kindle format for sale, and thankfully that one doesn't have the same problems. However, it is certainly good to hear what people think about a book.
  • @Weston Kincade No worries. I understand. After all, we are only human.
    Comment by bryce on Jan 17, 2013 11:17pm
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