J’s Take on Conspiracy 365: January

Conspiracy 365 CoverIt’s been many months since we decided to devote 2012 to books by Australian and New Zealand authors and nearly that long since we picked this book as our first one for the year. So I didn’t really remember anything about it as I sat down (lay down) to read it, except that K had equated it to the TV series “24”.

That being the case, I can’t say I was disappointed by it particularly. But, man, was it so not my type of book. The best thing I can say about it was that it didn’t take long to read. Perhaps an hour and a half or so.

The main character, whose name I have already forgotten, — Callum? Collum? — has this crazy, sick guy screaming at him about how he should go into hiding for the next year. So we begin our countdown. The story is told by day and by hour:minute, hence at least part of the reason to equate it to “24”. The page count also goes down, something I didn’t figure out until more than halfway through, because I was reading so fast it took me that long to look at the page numbers twice. (I was impressed I’d gotten to page 121 as quickly as I did! Until I discovered a little later I was ‘only’ on page 091.) What struck me as odd about this format was that the story was still told in the past tense. If the goal was to give a sense of immediacy and ‘in the moment’, then it should’ve been in present tense.

So right after this guy rants at him and gets carted off by police or some mysterious people, the main character is in a storm in a boat. And then nearly eaten by sharks. Yea, just like that! We haven’t had a chance to get to know this character at all, and he’s already, randomly, nearly dying a few times. The book continues like that. Kidnappings, shootings, mysterious notes, without any real sense that the main character is truly affected by any of it. The frequent use of exclamation points seems to stand in for his emotion. ! !!

About the time he’s running around and choosing not to tell his mother or the cops about being kidnapped, I’m thinking.. at least he’s like.. 17 or 18, right? (The picture on the cover certainly looks about that.) But no, I’d missed a page right at the beginning that states right up front he’s 15. At this point, I’m finding it all rather incredible. And not at all in a good way. Who has their house broken into and burgled and the cops don’t come? Who gets kidnapped and doesn’t tell their mother or the cops? Who runs away rather than go up to the police and say ‘hey, dude, I totally didn’t hurt my little sister?’ What was he afraid of? At that point, he should’ve been glad if they had arrested him and stuck him in jail. It would’ve been safer for him! (!!)

I get sick and tired of male characters, particularly teenage boy ones, who think they have to ‘protect’ their mother by not telling her things! She’s a freaking adult. You’re a freaking kid. Tell her you were kidnapped!!!

An odd note, the little sister is named Gabbi. The author’s name is Gabrielle. I find it rather odd to name a character after yourself.

Oh yea, so the mystery. His Dad caught some weird brain virus and died. Not that he seems to have been isolated at all. Or cremated. Really? No fear this weird virus you know nothing about is going to spread to other people?

And there’s an Ormond Riddle, Ormond Angel, Ormond Singularity thing. Ormond is their last name. Don’t expect to ever find out what that’s all about, because as you may have guessed, there’s 12 of these books. In fact, this book ends in a really bad place and with no sense of closure whatsoever. It’s a good thing I don’t care at all, because I’m totally not reading the other books.

This would make better television than prose, as there’s a lot, a lot of action, but even so, I wouldn’t be at all interested in watching it. And it would still be unbelievable on several counts.

Next!

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