It’s rare that Rebel Voice will not finish a book once started. It a matter of being stubborn, or persistent, or curious, or perhaps looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. When this site does encounter such a book, and it may only have happened once in the past, it is a serious business. It’s deflating. With this novel, it’s happened again. Grieve for us.
American By Day was so poor that only one chapter could be read. The book looks good. It has a nice cover with good imagery. That’s what attracted Rebel Voice to the novel in the first place. That, and the plot premise which concerned a Norwegian cop going to New York to search for her missing brother. It’s an intriguing proposition with great potential. The clash of cultures. The mystery. The possibility of humorous misunderstanding.
However, this site will never know how it all panned out as the writing was so bad as to make it virtually unreadable. Don’t get us wrong, the author can write. Sadly, this book seems as if it’s his first. It’s not. It lacks finesse and skill of presentation. It might have been decent if it were not for the interminable asides that pepper the story. The author runs off into unnecessary and boring explanations that might have been penned by someone suffering from a form of OCD. His sentence structure is awful with a stop-start approach to the text. It’s mechanical. There is no flow to the read. It resembles an android’s take on George Eliot with a long-winded style that completely destroys the story.
If ever there was an example of just how important a good editor is, then American By Day is it. For many authors, it’s almost impossible to detach themselves sufficiently from their work to the extent whereby critical assessment is achievable. That’s where the editor comes in and where they earn their money. In this novel, it appears as if there was no such input. The prose should have been chopped severely to produce a much better book. Rebel Voice did flick through other chapters to see if the style improved. It didn’t.
In the acknowledgments, Derek B Miller offers thanks to numerous people as is the norm. He was too generous on this occasion. When an author is surrounded by Yes-men, their work does not benefit from it. It is better to hear the truth from those you trust rather than present a book for public slating. As it is, American By Day should not have been published. Which then begs the question, how reliable an indicator of talent is the publishing industry today?
Persevering through a bad book is waste of precious time. Being stubborn is pointless. Sometimes a reader just has to cut their losses as early as possible. Luckily, in this case, the damage done was only one chapter. It could have been much, much worse.
Sult scale rating: 2 out of 10. If you read this you will regret it, and will not be able to retrieve the time taken to suffer through a novel of interminable content. Rebel Voice advises that you give this one a wide berth.