Monday, March 13, 2006

The Return of 'Comes A Horseman'

Way back in time--approximately in November--I received a novel too late to do it justice on the day I was supposed to chat it up. However, Robert Liparulo did kind of issue me a challenge to read his first novel, Comes A Horseman even though I wanted to chicken out, not being a thriller kinda gal.

Okay, Bob. I finished it today. Yeah, I know, I took my jolly sweet time letting it get to the top of the TBR stack. After reading the first two chapters I knew I wasn't gonna keep going while hubby was working out of town. I needed to be sure somebody was in the house to keep the axe murderer off me. Chicken, I know.

Bob did a lot of things right in this novel. In fact, pretty much anything I didn't like I'll chalk up to the genre. The characters made sense. They developed, changed, grew. They had definite imperfections, ones that were important to the development of the plot.

And Liparulo certainly has heard the same advice I have: When it is all dark and your main characters know they are going to fail, keep heaping it on so they don't really stand a chance. And yet, the seeds for their eventual win had been planted early on.

There were a few bits of info I would have liked planted earlier, but perhaps word count issues forced some tightening up. For example--if you've read the book--I would have liked to see the idea of the secret hideaway in Brady's basement mentioned in an earlier scene rather than just where they NEED it. It kinda felt info-dumped in there, but it was a short info-dump so I lived through it.

Good job.


Jean said...

I know the secret hideaway was mentioned before they needed it--I don't remember how soon before off the top of my head.

As for realistic characters, their human flaws were so good, I found them almost disturbing. I had to keep reminding myself it was good characterization and very human.

Valerie Comer said...

It was earlier in the same scene. Kinda like: okay, I need a secret place. Now I need a reason for its previous existence. Where can I wedge in a mention of it... That kinda thing is what I meant.

Bob Liparulo said...

Valerie, I'm glad you read it, and thank you for the kind words. Sometimes, it's really difficult to put the right plants in the story early enough to feel more organic than convenient. The basement hideaway was actually introduced at the beginning of chapter 31 and wasn't used until the end of chapter 35, but everything moved pretty fast, so I think they felt closer to one another than they were. Still, it would have been nice to have casually mentioned it even earlier. But I just couldn't find the place or the reason, without being apparent. Oh, well. I still have a lot to learn about novel writing, and I hope I always do. I appreciate the review!