Book Review

Embracing the Moonlight by Wayne Jordan

F

Title: Embracing the Moonlight
Author: Wayne Jordan
Publication Info: Kimani Press 2006
ISBN: 1583147810
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book CoverWhen I redid the re-captioning of Wayne Jordan’s book from the Uncyclopedia definition of romance, the book itself caught my eye. The synopsis sounded very interesting, so I ordered it.

Mason Sinclair is recovering from a terrible injury sustained in the line of duty when his mother tells him that the man the thought was his father was not, and that he has three brothers he never knew about. Lianne Thomas is undercover protecting a little boy and his mother. They’re both in Barbados. Could this potentially rock? It seemed to me that yes, oh yes, it could. Caribbean setting? Law enforcement protagonists? Multiple plots of family history, intrigue, suspense and pretending you are someone you’re not while discovering you’re someone else entirely?

Oh, yes yes yes.

Unfortunately the book itself didn’t live up to my expectations, and despite my attempts to keep reading, it never caught my attention. The clumsy development of characters, the klutzy plotting, and the narration undermined my anticipation of the plot itself to the point where I didn’t finish it.

The biggest problem with this book is way too much telling, heavy-handed, broad-sweeping telling, with so little showing, it’s a wonder the character doesn’t break the fourth wall and tell me directly: “I’m a sensitive man! But no one understands me! But I value my family! But I’m all alone!”

The book starts with Mason recuperating in the hospital bed by doing some serious navel gazing and dropping backstory in two ton segments into the reader’s lap:

Mason wished his father were still alive. It was moments like these when he wanted his father. Sure, he was forty years old, but his heart ached for the man who’d be there for him for as long as he could remember.

Whew! What’s that smell? Foreshadowing?

He had been unable to imagine life without the man who’d been there for him. The pain had lessened over the years, but memories of the times they’d spent together were still vivid.

Ok, got it. Father = important. Moving on.

At least there was something to look forward to today. His mother was coming. A visit from his mother had become one of the highlights of his life. She had been in England or Europe when he’d been shot. He hadn’t wanted to take her away from her latest young lover, and he knew there would be one. His mother was never without her latest boy toy.

Wha? Ok. Father = important. Mother = dilettante ho!

His mother had also been devastated by his father’s death. She had, however, chosen to bury her sorrow in working with her charity organization and roaming the planet. While Mason didn’t approve of his mother’s lifestyle, he reasoned that she did so only to ease the pain of losing his dad.

Mason was looking forward to the visit. He needed someone to talk to and, despite everything, he loved his mother.

She’d make everything all right.

Dude, you are 40 years old, your mother flits about Europe with boy toys working for “her charity organization” and while you don’t approve of her “lifestyle” you want her to make everything all right?

This is not a hero I want to read about, not at ALL. Anyone working through a horrible injury is entitled to navel gazing and maudlin self-pity, but COME ON NOW. Confusing infodumping descriptions does not a complex character make. At this point I’m tired of his whining and have no interest in the mother or whatever the “everything” is that despite it he still loves his mom.

After reading more than a few categories, I’m pretty accustomed to the degree of info dumping that setups up a plot within the category format. This went beyond mere infodumpery into backhoe-shovel sized wallops of confusing detail that made me like the narrator less and the additional characters not at all.

The heroine isn’t much to entice me either, despite the potential of a plot that could have been amazing.

Her partner, Brent, was due back tomorrow. Returning to work a day early had been a good idea. She wanted to be re-acclimatized before he returned. Leanne prided herself on always being prepare, and even though they had been partners for several years, she’d only allowed him in to a very small part of her life.

Anyone miss that? She’s annoying but more importantly Brent is NOT competition for Whine Mason and his Gazed Upon Navel.

At this point I stopped reading. I could barely take their own ruminations; I didn’t want to endure them potentially speaking to other people. I was more annoyed and frustrated than curious, and most of all disappointed that a plot setup that could have featured a strong, capable woman and a complex man faced with a family he never knew about was in practice compromised by awkward development and contradictory, confusing description. It’s a rare thing, but this is a DNF/F.

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Cat Marsters says:

    Plus, his mother was in England or Europe?  Isn’t that a bit like saying Hawaii or America?

    I hate it when a great premise is let down by bad writing.  It’s happened to me recently with a book I thought sounded like a great idea, but after a few chapters I was so tired of reading something that felt as if it’d been written by an amateur and never refined.

  2. 2
    pm says:

    Not necessarily, if the character and/or writer is a Brit. We don’t always see ourselves as European here in the UK – in some ways we have little in common: different languages, different currencies, different time zones, etc. Plus we have a fine tradition of Euroscepticism here, and hold placards saying things like “Better Off Out!” (but with wild and crazy punctuation). So I wouldn’t blink at a distinction between England and Europe.

  3. 3
    aninsomniac says:

    I was going to comment about the England or Europe thing too. Also, the sentences are so contrived. “He had been unable to imagine life without the man who’d been there for him.” It took me a few minutes to get that. Wouldn’t there be a simpler way to say that he missed him?!

    And this line:
    “Leanne prided herself on always being prepare, and even though they had been partners for several years, she’d only allowed him in to a very small part of her life.”

    Is that a typo from being typed or was it copy-pasted from the book? (Referring to ‘prepare’). I do encourage you to finish the book though (easy for me to say, ahahah), or maybe at least put it in an Unfinished Category?

    -anin

  4. 4
    Anony Miss says:

    Yeah, I agree, you should finish the book, if for no other reason than to be able to really, REALLY believe in your F rating. Skim away (I’m sure NY Times book reviewers do!).

    Then again, I’m being all judgmental- I can’t tell if you stopped at chapter one, or if it took 80 pages just to get to the initial character exposition.

  5. 5
    RfP says:

    his mother was in England or Europe?  Isn’t that a bit like saying Hawaii or America?

    No, England hasn’t traditionally been considered part of Europe.  It’s only very recently that it’s become common to lump them together.  And not all of England is necessarily always on board with that; witness the rejection of the Euro.

  6. 6
    xssa annella says:

    thank you for your comments. telling too much versus dropping too vague hints is a fine line many new authors bludegon to death with a dull axe. now, when i write, i will again ask myself if i make this mistake. the horrbile books melting your brain today may be saving future readers tomorrow. try to tell yourself you’re making the world a better place by loudly pointing out obvious flaws the author probably should have uncovered.
    you’ll note i don’t have the guts to send you one of my books until i get really really good.
    keep pointing out them flaws, it’ll help eventually.

  7. 7
    Cat Marsters says:

    Not necessarily, if the character and/or writer is a Brit.

    Well, I don’t think either are.  As I am!  But technically, we are part of Europe.  Says so on maps and everything.  The distinction seems a bit too much of a subtlety for readers who aren’t English—and is this line even available in England?

  8. 8
    RfP says:

    I think PM was drawing a distinction between Europe the continent and Europe the modern nations.  It’s not a subtle distinction in those terms.  E.g. Costa Rica isn’t part of North America culturally simply because on a map it’s attached to that landmass.

  9. 9
    beggar1015 says:

    I hate it when a great premise is let down by bad writing.

    I’ve had several experiences where I’ve read the blurb on the inside of a book’s dustjacket and thought, “This sounds interesting.” But when I open up the book itself it’s to find that the dustjacket was the best part.

    But I don’t think SB should force herself to read or even skim the rest of the book. I used to be one of those readers that thought “I bought the book, so I’m going to read the whole thing whether I like it or not.” But now I’ve come to an age when I realize Life Is Too Short For Bad Books. If it doesn’t get you in the first few chapters, it never will.

  10. 10
    Suze says:

    I agree with beggar1015.  If a book sucks so badly you don’t want to finish it, then it fails epically.  And life is WAAAY to short to spend time reading it.

    Heh. written94.  Having written approximately 94 terrible books, I finally understand what they mean when they say show, don’t tell!

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