Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: Mr. Build by Steven Kreg

Title: Mr. Build
Author: Steven Kreg
Publisher: CreateSpace (Kindle)

If you go to a certain town you’ll inevitably see the Blue Institute for the Criminally Insane, a building with a horrific past. Inside those doors lurks only the most demented and troubled of minds, not all of which belong to the patients committed there. It is into the Blue Institute that Dr. Jack Torshe has returned after a long hiatus. He is there to treat David Delaney, a silent statue of a man who shows no outward emotions and is completely mute. David is there for the gruesome murder of Kelly McKinley, a woman taking solace in Rome, Indiana- and David- after having escaped from her abusive husband. As the story slowly turns back to show the how and why of Kelly’s murder, Jack finds himself growing increasingly more unnerved by the mute David and the specters of his own tormented past.

It is into the small town of Rome, Indiana that Steven Kreg places the reader as he unfolds his first satisfying, yet awkwardly written first novel. We are introduced the enigmatic and intriguing character of David first as a child tinkering while his mother screams for help, then later as a silent and emotionless adult. Although he was only a child, the entire town treats him with open suspicion and ridicule. Readers will be drawn into David’s silent demeanor, wishing to unravel his mystery just as much as the starcrossed Kelly does.

Kreg has some real skill with words, but where the novel stumbles is from several ideas put into one book. There’s so much going on that it detracts from the main story (David and Kelly’s) as a whole. There’s several great ideas in here and I really wish that we’d had one specific story to focus on. Readers should also take caution to note the changing of tenses that is used to distinguish between modern day and the past. It’s a bit jarring to read at first, but once you realize the intention, it is a rather clever idea.

Overall this is a decent story and a good first novel, but some readers might find themselves wishing that the plot had been stretched over several books rather than just one. Kreg is definitely an author to watch, though.

(ARC provided by author)

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