Advantages Some great ideas
Disadvantages Too many muddled in together
When you read as much as I do, you keep catching up with your favourite authors and have to try something or someone new. Unfortunately, this leads to judging a book by its cover in an attempt to find something interesting to read quickly and this can cause disappointment. That's not exactly what happened in this case, as the book wasn't too bad, but it did cause no small amount of confusion and certainly wasn't what I expected on reading the back cover.The basic idea is a sound one; Jason Klein has lost his girlfriend, Amy. Quite literally - she went out one day hunting her own past and never returned, despite promising that she would. Jason has been looking for her and has found the man he believes is responsible for her disappearance through an internet chat room specialising in strange sexual behaviours. At the same time, another girl Jason knew online has been killed. Could finding out more about the death of this second girl help him find more about Amy, who Jason can't be sure is even alive.
The basic idea behind the story is a good one, but from this point onwards it starts getting a lot more complicated as Mosby throws in more and more ideas and they get tangled up in each other. Suddenly you discover that the story is set in some kind of future where the Police have been privatised and adverts are projected onto the moon. Uptown and downtown are more literal, as the cities have grown upwards and the ground has moved upwards with them. There's also an idea of a written word so powerfully descriptive that it can put pictures in your head as effectively as any film.These are all wonderful ideas on their own, but if you put them all together at once, they seem to get a little cramped and fall over each other for space. If these ideas were all expanded and there were three novels with one of these three ideas as the basis for each, you'd get three intriguing stories. Putting them all together just leaves you with a bit of a mess and the narrative becomes confused the longer it goes on. The ending in particular is such a mess it ends up as a huge disappointment, which takes quite some effort considering the whole book turns into a big disappointment once the ideas start crashing into each other.
The other part of the book that I found was a little disappointing was that Mosby has assumed that the reader won't have been in a chat room before. This means that when he first describes Jason's chatting, he explains what happens in terms of how text appears on the screen and how private messages open in new windows. This seems overly simplistic to someone like me who has visited chat rooms, even though I've not been in many and not for some time. Maybe this wouldn't grate on a chat room novice, but if you're someone with any kind of online experience, you may feel like you're being talked down to.Putting these concerns aside, there isn't a bad little novel behind it all. The ideas are wonderfully imaginative, especially the one where writing comes alive.
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