A fitting homage to 70s and 80s slasher films, right down to the piss-poor production quality. Not only does this book need an editor, but it deserved a better writer overall. I can see why Anonymous chose to stay anonymous. I wouldn’t want this coming back and haunting me at some point in my career either.
I have a bunch of examples, but the biggest problems I had were typos and grammatical errors. Anonymous seems to have only the most basic concept of what it takes to build a cogent sentence, and they repeatedly get stuck on certain words and phrases until you want to call the Repetition Police and have them fined for Extreme Overuse. It wouldn’t be so bad if the same terms were overused throughout the book. Hell, that might have created some kind of flow. But you have one page where “pulled a face” is used three times and then never used again for the duration of the book. Space them out, padawan. Don’t dump all in one spot. That’s a good grasshopper.
The good part about the writing is that it is so simple that you can speed read with little difficulty. You only really need the first and last sentence in a paragraph. This is because every paragraph is set up the same way, so you don’t really have to read the content in the middle of the page. It’s just the author repeating themselves, so no worries.
Our first example: “That was when she remembered the gun shot wound [“gunshot” really should be one word here]in her arm. She winced as a stinging sensation reminded her that it was still there.” She remembered twice. Good for her.
Then we have the typos, which are numerous. The ones that pissed me off the most were simple ones like “titling” instead of “tilting”. And this sentence: “If only she could find away of hiding in the back of it.” That should be “a way”, not “away”. But my point is this. This is simple stuff, and I got the impression that the author just couldn’t be bothered. A proofreader could have caught that. Some other issues were far too big for a proofreader to tackle and should have been fixed by a professional line editor. Considering this is up on NetGalley and they charge $400 to post your book for review, I feel that all that money could have been used on better editing and document formatting.
(Seriously, Anonymous… who formatted this book? Stevie Wonder with a little help from Helen Keller? Your indents are all over the place. Your book looks like a 2D representation of an in-progress JENGA match.)
Superfluous word usage is yet another problem Anonymous has. Example: ” ‘I’m sorry if this isn’t exactly The Ritz,’ she said apologetically, gesturing around the room.” We know she said it “apologetically” because she said “I’m sorry.” This book is loaded with filler like that. You might think I’m nitpicking, but these are only cherry-picked examples. If I took the time to highlight every error or broken section of text in this book, my review would be longer than the novel itself.
And of course, just good ol’ everyday word repetition: “This time as well as a loud echo, Candy heard him cursing loudly.” How about we add “louder” or “loudest” for the triple showing?
Finally, this broken sentence that was just begging to be cut in half: “He struggled in vain for a while, but to no avail.” “In vain” and “to no avail” kinda mean the same thing. Imagine: “The water was wet in a damp sort of way.” Actually, isn’t that former sentence a double negative? “He struggled in vain for a while, but to no avail.” I mean, if he struggled in vain to no avail doesn’t that mean he succeeded? Owwie… my brain hurts…
Okay, I’m done. That’s all I’m saying about the lack of editing in this book. Moving on to the actual story.
I dug the story for what it was. I enjoyed the plot most of all. Nice and twisty. I didn’t care much for the static characters, though. I would say the lack of character dev was on purpose, you know, to cement the B-movie feel, but I don’t trust the author’s chops enough to say they pulled this off with conscious effort. Overall, I did like the idea. I wish it had been written better, but at no time did I ever want to put it down. Mostly I was disappointed that the production quality didn’t live up to the concept.
Finally, a note on the overt sexism and female objectification. This book tries really hard to be an exploitation film. The hero of the book sees no problem with smacking a woman around and choking her out in an attempt to procure information, even though he has no evidence that this woman has done anything wrong. At first this truly upset me, but then I remembered the level of garbage I was reading and brushed it off. Likewise, there are more under-the-desk dick-sucking sessions in this book than there were during all eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Every time I turned around Mellencamp was getting is hitch polished. The women in this book are only here to be goggled and ejaculated in or on. That’s it. Expect nothing else and you’ll be just fine.
In summation: With an error-filled bare-bones insanely-repetitive writing style that is only a stepstool above children’s literature that is written by actual children, The Red Mohawk is damn easy to read. Dick and Jane Get Murdered, if you will. The story is fun if you’re into 70s and 80s horror/exploitation films, but do not expect too much effort from your storyteller. Expect blood, guts, ass and lots of fellatio and you’ll come out ahead.
Final Judgment: “But then unexpectedly out of the blue a man’s voice spoke clearly and confidently to her.” Seriously? You wrote that?