Monday, March 09, 2009

In Tongues of the Dead by Brad Kelln - don't bother

In Tongues of the Dead
[If you see this cover, keep on walking]

I had intended to start my review by commenting that In Tongues of the Dead was "a rookie effort by a rookie author." But, when I looked up information on the author I discovered that Brad Kelln had written at least two other books. Books I will not be reading.

The book is based on a great premise. An autistic child seems to be able to read the Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious and undeciphered book held at a Yale library. According to the premise of the book, the book holds the secrets of the nephilim, the children born from the union of angels and human women. A priest, Father Benicio Valori, must protect the child from the angels that are after him and from his own church, since the Vatican is also after the child.

Although the book has an interesting premise, it is poorly executed. The writing seemed to belong more to that of a beginner's writing class than that of an author who has already written a couple of books. The writing is too obvious, too prosaic (both in language and events) and full of predictable, if not fool's proof, plot "twists". The narration is forced, trying to hard, forcing the intrigue and suspense early on the novel. The author fails to weave the story naturally, forgetting to let each piece fall into place at its appropriate time. Instead, the writer seems to be working with a puzzle that has been finished from the beginning; all the pieces are in place, there is nothing much to discover and all the characters will eventually, and miraculously, bump into each other some way or another.

The characters themselves are uni-dimensional and barely fleshed out. They are merely shells and reacts as such. For example, the Vatican sends two henchmen who are nothing more than two stupid thugs. Come on! The Vatican must have better resources than that! Further, the characters in the books seem all too willing and fast to lose their convictions and beliefs. Priests, Vatican henchmen, and the other characters are all put together with cheap tape and they are not holding together well.

The book is not engaging but at least it is a fast read.

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