Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review: Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch by Richard Hine

Title: Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch
Author: Richard Hine
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release Date: 10/12/2010
ISBN: 1935597140

I'm going to lay it straight- this isn't really all that similar to Sophie Kinsella like the book blurb claims. That is both good & bad. That's bad because many might pick this up expecting a Kinsella-esque read, then get disappointed when the book doesn't fulfill that promise. It's good because a Kinsella-esque story wouldn't work as well with a male lead character.

RWIOTL surrounds the character of Russell Wiley, a man who is just trying to survive in the middle of a floundering marriage & a job that is on the verge of extinction. Despite his subtle attempts to influence his newspaper bosses, they always seem to go for the bad idea & back the useless employees. When his bosses not only hire a consultant to work a new angle (an angle that Russell himself knows is foolish), but expect Russell to babysit him, he has to figure out a way to keep his sanity as well as convince his wife to get intimate with him.

Well... I'm kind of torn about this book. On one hand it is very good for a new author- Hine, relax. You did good poopie. On the other hand there's a lot of flaws here- don't get too relaxed, I think you need more fiber. While the idea of the book is a good one & I like that the main character is a bit on the jerky side, I really felt that the pacing needed a lot of work. (You can tell that he's just as much to blame for his bad marriage & job situation as anyone else is.)There isn't a lot that happens in the first half of the book & much of it is Hine repeating the notion that Wiley's marriage is doomed & his job isn't very satisfying. At some point I couldn't help but get irritated- I *got* it. I know that he's not happy with his life.

The last half to third of the book just felt very compressed. Minor characters that weren't really fleshed out in the beginning & when they come into play later in the book I couldn't help but wish that Hine had done some foreshadowing earlier in the book. A prime example is Angela & her specific problem. (Which I won't list here because it is a spoiler.) Hine could have had little things show up earlier in the book so that when her big reveal comes about, it builds up anticipation. Another thing that I felt needed more work was the resolution. Everything happened too fast & I really felt that it needed more work. Again I bring up Angela. When her issue was aired, it was quickly dropped for the most part & suddenly at the end her life is fine again. Because everything was so squished into the end & the pacing was sort of off, the big surprises, hurrahs, & endings just seemed to fizzle a little instead of pop.

This isn't a bad book though- Hine does show skill at writing & the plot kept me involved. It's just that I got the impression he could do far better than this. This book would be good for an airport or beach read, but ultimately it'll leave the reader hungry for meatier fare. Still, Hine's an author worth watching. I have faith that he'll eventually work out the kinks in his work & will be an author to contend with.

(ARC provided by Amazon Vine Voice)

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