Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charles L. Fields: Sentimental Me

With his debut into the fiction world of writing (he has written his own memoir Many Land Many Hearts) Fields, introduces us to the world of Boston Lawyer Charles Stone.

Charles Stone is one of the top lawyers/agent for Franklin Life insurance. Stone receives the assignments that have suspicious circumstances associated with them, the death of a US border patrol agent Jack Spates is no exception. He travels to Agua Prieta, Mexico a border town that is known for the transportation of people, money, drugs and guns across the border. Agent Spates did not always follow the rules, but his murder and need to be investigated especially when Spates left a 500,000 of his life insurance policy to Consuelo V, who has known drug cartel connections (also known as her father). Stone's investigation takes him places he never thought he would go and the deeper into the investigation he gets, the more he starts to question himself and all the people involved in the case.

This book is not what I thought it was going to be. I thought that I was getting an action adventure novel and really I am not too sure what I received in this book. Other than one part near the end of the book that had action adventure and suspense aspects to it, the rest of the book was sort of a mystery, but I am really not too sure.

When I was first asked to review this book, the premise really drew me in. I thought that Fields has something here, this could be a really good book. Fields knows how to be descriptive, he know how to describe landscapes that the characters are seeing as they travel throughout the book, The character development is fairly good especially the protagonists Stone and Sandra (though they are all kept simple). I am sorry to say that there were a few things that I did not like about the book. First, the story is slow to develop, instead of flying to the Agua Prieta Mexico; he decides to drive from Boston. The first 30 pages is the reader reading the absent minded thoughts Stone has as he passes through the landscape of America (this is because the book is told in first person). I wish this part of the story was Stone reflecting on what happened in Ireland and why Stone is always chosen for the tough jobs (there are vague details as to both those questions, but nothing is ever really answered). Second, there were some questionable actions that the protagonist made, that are not within believability of the character. For example, why would Stone, who is a law abiding lawyer think that it was okay to visit a Heroin Processing plant, this (to me) did not fit into his character. Third, dialogue between the characters is lacking, and I think this is due to the book being told in first person. We get extensive (and really too much) access to Stone's thoughts (as they are often about random things and not about the case) which replaced the dialogue between characters within the book.

To sum up, I felt this book was trying to be an action adventure book, but instead of adventure, there was just a lot of information about the landscape within America. I wanted this to be something that it was not. There is no doubt that Fields has a talent for writing, but I don’t think that this genre is a good fit for him.


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