Book Review: Forgotten Bones

Forgotten Bones cover

I hope that everyone is having a good day today, and excited
about the weekend, or still enjoying the break they are on.

Things are going pretty here still, with things remaining
calm and still being able to do what I enjoy.

As I mentioned before, I finally took the time this month to
look through for some titles to check out and was able to find a few that
piqued my interest, two of which I got for free, thanks to a perk Amazon Prime
members get.

So far, I have knocked over half the books I got, and only
two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is
called Forgotten Bones by
Vivian Barz.

Perrick is a peaceful small town, where things hardly happen
all too often and everyone knows everybody else.

However, Perrick has a very dark history, one in which
children had gone missing, and when a recent car accident leads to the
discovery of a decades old corpse of a child, a cop is determined to dig it up
to find killer, when the corpses end up being too old to link to a recently released
convict who has gone missing, and the only help they can really get are from
people not right in the head.

As many should be able to tell from other posts, I have an
interest in mysteries, so, seeing as this was part of the selection of free
titles for the month from Amazon, I decided to give this a try.

And after reading this, I have to say that I did not really
like it all that much.

Fortunately, there was at least one thing to like, so I do
not need to jump right into what I hated, like I have had to do in the past,
which I have already stated I do not really like doing.

From the moment I opened up this book and started reading
the first few pages, I found myself engrossed that I did not want to stop
reading, at least for most of the early portion of the book.

One of the most important things in a work of fiction is how
things begin, because that is supposed to help transport the audience to
another world, thereby giving the audience the temporary escape that they
desire.

While this can be accomplished in many different ways,
depending on the genre and the medium used to present a work, stories like this,
which Amazon calls a mystery and/or thriller, considering the ranking it gives
it as a thriller, the audience must been hints that something weird is going
on, or hidden, and this book did that by having the discovery of a corpse.

Now, people, like me, who are familiar with detective, mystery,
and crime fiction would not be all that surprised to see a body at this point, since
dead bodies have been at the center of many stories of this nature all the way
back to the time of Edgar Allan Poe, the creator of the long forgotten Dupin,
if not earlier, so I am well aware that the intrigue is more of who is found
dead where, along with the stereotypical locked room, but the way in which
things are presented and executed is what is most important, and that is
usually through small details.

Here, in this book, the mystery that set things in motion
does not suddenly start until we find out there are numerous bodies and that most
of them are old enough to where decomposition starts posing problems.

Until this came up, I found myself a little bored with what
was going on, because things felt rather clich�d and had very little going on,
though the way Vivian wrote things made in a little easier to deal with, along
with the fact that I knew that things do not always happen within the first few
paragraphs to get the ball rolling.

If Vivian failed to deliver this hook that was desperately
needed, I would have written this book off completely right then and there, as the
hint of an interesting case, which is the main thing that grabs the interests
of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, is what is supposed to be the big pull
in a story like this and I would have gotten the hint that she did not understood
that as much as Agatha Christie and many other great writers did.

Thankfully, she did introduce something to get me interested
before my patience ran out, so I do feel like giving her a passing grade for a
decent beginning.

Hopefully, Vivian will be able to do even better than this
in the future, but I will not be able to tell, because I am already done with
her.

Sadly, this is the only thing that I really liked, which
makes me really disappointed that I gave this the time of day.

While there only one thing to like, it did help make the
book easier to enjoy, which helped to make it look a little better.

Although there was something that was done right, there are some
issues.

And, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, there was quite a bit more me to dislike, though they can be considered
related.

First, not long after the story began, things seemed to feel
a quite a bit unfocused and hard to follow.

When readers read, they want to be able to follow along with
things, which means that there should be only one perspective, unless it is
absolutely important to get other perspectives, so that the readers can be just
as surprised as the characters in the story, or, in the cases of works like
this, be able to allow readers to pick up on hints that the protagonist might
have missed, since the fans of mystery enjoy being able to solve things
themselves and that is where they get their enjoyment.

However, in this book, things keep going back and forth
between Susan, the officer investigating the overall mystery of her own
volition, and a man who supposedly has his schizophrenia under control, who is obviously
forced into the case by what he thinks are his own hallucinations, as if Vivian
cannot make up her mind about who she wants the central characters to be.

While Vivian does try to keep things easy to follow, by maintaining
a somewhat easy timeline, rather than continually time shifting in way that
would have made more sense for her to use a third person omniscient point of
view, rather than the third person limited one that was used throughout the
whole book, I still had a hard time putting things together and connecting them
that it really broke the flow of story and made it feel unfocused.

What the heck is going on here? I thought people that could land
agents and secure publishers were supposed to be good, unlike people
like me, who use our own methods to get their work out there, with all of the
imperfections and ugliness for the world to see, and one of the things that no
reader should have to put up with rears its ugly head.

Amazon might still be a relatively new face in the
publishing business, compared to the other major publishers, seeing as it was
established in 2009, according The about page of the site for Amazon’s publishing
arm, and the Thomas & Mercer imprint was established in 2011, according to
a post
on Publisher’s
Weekly’s website
, but they have been around long enough that their staff
should be able to notice things like this.

Yes, I know, I have said many times before that nothing
mankind has made is ever truly perfect, and is a reason that I always make note
that issues may be present, even when I ultimately reveal nothing bothered me
enough to complain about it, but there are still things readers are not put up
with and a work that feels like it is unfocused is one of those things.

If Vivian had put more work into the story and the editors
and proofreaders spent more time going through this, and made Vivian choose
whether to follow Susan or Eric, I would have been able to enjoy this a whole
lot more, most likely as much as I was hoping that I would.

Sadly, this Vivian and the people that were supposed to help
her put out the best work she possibly can did not do that, and it has begun to
kindle my wrath.

Hopefully, things will improve in future works, because I
would rather sing the praises of work over tearing into people that have no
doubt poured their blood, sweat, and tears, and people would most likely prefer
it that I do not go on a tirade, but things are looking bad enough that I am
not too sure I will ever look through Amazon free catalog again, even if it can
give me access to works newer than what Project Gutenberg gives me.

I also disliked how I did not know what to expect.

While this is usually a good thing, as it is something that
helps give a work of fiction that necessary vibe of originality and keeps the
audience on its toes, there are things that people expect to encounter.

In detective, mystery, and crime fiction, the expectation is
that the audience is given a case or mystery that intrigues and challenges
them, thereby giving them an incentive to try and figure things for themselves,
if the main question is either who did something, how they did it, or finding
the thing that breaks a the person’s alibi.

In thrillers and its various subgenres, the expectation is
for the audience to given certain feelings that make them want to know what is
going to happen next so badly that they must pick up that book and turn the
page, even when a loved one is desperate need or nature calls, because of those
feelings which puts them on the edge of their seats.

Here, however, it is a confusing mess because it of the
already shaking focus that made me feel like things were unfocused.

For example, when the story follows Susan, the story feels
like a mystery that I must find the solution to, because Susan is trying to
find out who is behind the killings and is intent stop at nothing to find the
truth, but when Eric is being followed, I feel like Vivian is trying to give me
all the feelings that are supposed to put fans of thriller on the edge of their.

Now, some of you guys might be sighing, saying that things
like this can happen, especially since I have noted in my review of The Whistler
that an element of mystery is important, but thrillers are works where the
reader is supposed to be feeling the same sensations as the characters, while
works in the mystery, detective, and crime fiction genres are supposed to keep
the audience focused on the mystery.

Unfortunately, the story itself cannot really make up its
mind about what it wants to be.

Vivian May been trying her hardest to make us sympathize
with Eric, the schizophrenic, since she said in the acknowledgment that she was
trying to present a story where the schizophrenic was not a bad person for once
at the request of a close friend, which is something that is certainly needed,
since the mentally ill, psychopaths, sociopaths, and introverted people tend to
be portrayed as evil very often in American entertainment, but I think that
would have been better achieved if Eric was the protagonist and had to
persuade the cops to help him, instead of going between Susan and Eric.

This is why it seems like the editors and proofreaders that already
put in a lot of time and effort to try and help Vivian should have really got
on her case, and if they had done so, it would have been easier for me to judge
this work fairly, as well as meet the expectations of the right people.

Unfortunately, the end result I got was something that did
not know whether it wanted to be a mystery novel or a thriller, which makes me even
more disappointed in both Vivian and the people working for Amazon’s publishing
arm.

Hopefully, future works from writers that Amazon decides to
publish will be a whole lot better than this, because readers do like trying
out new writers, but I can only see more names being added to the trash bin as
time goes on.

Another thing that I really hated was how the mystery itself
was not that good.

While I have talked works from different genres and
presented in different medium before, I tend to talk mostly about works in the
detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, and the content with most views
here tends to be my Detective Conan stuff.

Because of this, I have a pretty good handle on what fans of
the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres expect and what they enjoy and
hate to see, though what I view as good or bad might be the opposite in
somebody else’s view.

The things these fans enjoy are a good mystery that
challenges and makes them want to find out the truth for themselves, especially
if the mystery concerns either the culprit’s identity or how they pulled off a
crime, in the case of Lupin, with things that are not quite so obvious.

However, in this story, I had almost no trouble connect
things to the point where I was screaming in my head about how idiotic the
characters seemed or that everything was going too slow because there was no
challenge for me.

In fact, the only thing that did not really register that
much on my radar was the insistence of Susan’s superior than she stay out of
something, even though I noticed that Vivian was trying to press upon me that
it was important, because there were other reasons he could have been doing
that.

Really, Vivian? Is this anyway to write a write a mystery?

If she really believes this, then I have to say that she
really needs to go familiarize herself with the expectations mystery fans have,
just like Gosho Aoyama has had to do in the two decades or so that he has spent
writing Detective Conan.

I was really hoping that I could connect the dots in this
book, along with Eric and Susan, and have a good time doing, but this just felt
boring to me, and because of that I have deduct things from my book than I
already have.

Hopefully, things will improve in this area as Vivian gains
more expectations, as that will show that she really wants to make it as a
writer, but right now, I do not see myself even bothering with anymore of her
work.

The thing that I hated the most though was how I did not feel
that invested in the book.

Along with how unfocused everything felt, which caused many
problems from making things harder to follow to not knowing whether Vivian was
trying to write a mystery or a thriller, the thing that I had a really hard
time with was that I was already done with the book before I had even gotten to
the last page.

When reader read a work, they are doing it because that is
what they like to do to unwind because it can take them to other worlds and
teach them things that they might not have been able to learn themselves in
their journey through life. They want to sit down and forget about what happened
in the world, and to do that the entire work must be immersive, not just the
beginning.

However, while I was reading this book, I found myself losing
interest before Eric found out that Susan was a cop and that his hallucinations
were relevant to the investigation.

If I had to say why, other than the fact that Vivian was
pretty much beating the fact that what Eric was seeing was not just another one
of his hallucinations, which should have remained a mystery, it would have to
be in the writing instead.

While comics and manga have two things to work off to be
able to keep readers focused on what is going on, which are text and images, prose
work like Vivian relies on the written word and to make that interesting, the text
itself must capture my interest and keep me invested.

This is why it takes so more effort and time for people to
become invested in a book like this, because the text must make up for what is
lacking, even though the creative freedom tends to be about the same as an
animated work, since it is up to the audience to image what is going on, and if
the audience feels bored, they will no longer feel like producing images in
their heads.

In this book, the text itself lost its ability to capture me
and no longer felt as enjoyable as it was in the beginning, when Susan had
discovered a body and then found out more were found while she was off duty,
and I had almost no problem putting it down.

People may look down on writing because anyone can put pen
to paper or type out a bunch of words, but it takes real talent to be able to
draw people in and keep them read until the very last word, and Vivian has
completely and utterly failed in this regard.

If more time was spent on perfecting things, making sure
that things did not really sound too boring from beginning to end, I would have
really been able to enjoy myself and even had incentive to check out more work
from Vivian Barz.

Unfortunately, things started to fizzle out before they were
supposed to, and that makes me really disappointed.

Hopefully, Vivian can improve her writing abilities as she
gets more experience, because there are little signs that she can become great,
but I do not think that I am willing to waste any more time on her work to find
out when she can finally do everything right.

Thankfully, I cannot really think of anything else that I
absolutely hated, at least that is as noteworthy as what I talked about, so I
do not have to crush dreams any further.

Because things felt unfocused, which led to a mystery that
was not all that interesting, difficulties in knowing what to expect, whether
that be feelings that kept me on the edge of my seat or a great mystery, and
the writing itself started to feel boring before things were over, this was one
of the worst reds I have experienced yet.

Despite there was at least one thing to like, the negatives
outweighed things enough to make this a complete waste of time.

I recommend that everyone avoid this book like the plague,
especially because it cannot really seem to decide whether if wants to attract mystery
or thriller fans, but you are free to read it if you so desire, to see if you
can find more enjoyment than I did.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, which will
allow me to acquire more titles on a more frequent basis, and maybe help you
guys find some worthwhile reads to check out.

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