Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Scavenger's Daughter review

I picked up Mike McIntyre's The Scavenger's Daughter based on several good reviews I read.  And I'll admit, I enjoyed it.

I tend to not read too many books in the thriller/mystery/suspense genres simply because I am overwhelmed with fantasy and horror books.  But, I am a fan of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme books and Preston/Child's Pendergast books, I needed something to read on my Droid X, and it was only $.99 so I decided to give this book a try.

The story was fast-paced and follows suspended, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Tyler West as he tries to tack down the man who is murdering several rich and famous people in San Diego using medieval instruments of torture.  The descriptions can be gruesome at times, as can be expected considering the contraptions used are quite gruesome, but the author never goes overboard with his descriptions.  I will admit, though, while reading the book, I went online to view some of the awful devices.  Hey, I'm a dentist.  I love instruments of torture.

Like I said earlier, I enjoyed the book.  It was a quick, fun read, informational and engaging, with a likable and well-developed lead character.  McIntyre paints a vivid picture of his location, int his case San Diego, which always helps the reader to put himself into the story.  There were some events and circumstances that were a little too convenient and coincidental, needed to move the story ahead, but nothing too egregious to affect the story.  Not plot holes, exactly, but a couple of logic jumps.

My biggest gripe with the book is the length and how much the author tries to accomplish in the single book.  Now, we all know that with the advent of digital publishing, page count has gone out the window.  Now what matters is word count.  Conventional wisdom says it is 250 words per page, but we all know that, when you count the number of words on an average printed book page, it is between 350 and 450, depending on the amount of dialogue.  So if an eBook is 75,000 words, that can be converted to approximately 300 pages.  But, if that same book were converted to print, it would only be around 250 pages.

But I digress... I don't know how long The Scavenger's Daughter was, but it seemed on the short side.  I felt that there could be more meat to it.  More side stories.  Now, McIntyre did set up a contentious relationship with the local police which can be, and I expect will be, explored in later books.  But I thought the mythology of Tyler West's world could have been opened up and explored more.  He finds a lost love who hates him at the beginning of the book and patches things up over a single novel.  Now, their relationship is important to the plot, but I felt that maybe it could have taken two or three books for their relationship to heal.  And if that meant that this had to be the 2nd or 3rd book in the series, then so be it.  My next blog posting will actually be a short commentary on eBooks and length, so keep your eyes open for that.

Anyway, these are all mild complaints which really won;t affect how much you enjoy the story.  And for $.99, you get your money worth.  Hell, this book is worth $2.99.  And I will definitely pick up the next book in the series when it is released.

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