A Killing in the HillsA Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

it’s time to instantiate a new category: books-that-desperately-needed-an-editor. you might think that i would name this the Wool award, in dishonor of Hugh Howey’s drivel, but no: it will be the Judas Award, a reference to Judas Unchained by Peter Hamilton, a book that also might have been good if someone had been there to shoot its darlings every day. and this is what makes the name appropriate: it’s not the writer who has betrayed the reader, it’s the editor who betrayed the writer, here–Judas Award books should have been better edited, and shame on the publishing house.

Keller’s book is clearly for those with short-term memory issues.

Page 5 (actually the first page past the prologue): Because at this point… these three old men had less than a minute to live.

Page 9: Then she saw them die. Pock pock pock.

Page 12: Trouble! Gunshots… downtown–

Page 13: Gunshots. Downtown.

Pages 13-16: [various descriptions of the murder scene]

so, up to now, ok, it’s a murder mystery, we get it. we’re not going to forget the three old guys, and all’s fair in love and genre. but–

Page 21: Triple homicide at West Virginia eatery. Suspect still at large.

Page 26: Just three old guys passing the time of day. And they end up with their damned heads blown off.

Page 29: There had been a terrible crime just three hours ago… Three men were dead.

Page 30: It was just boom boom boom–and three men were dead.

where was the editor to rein this stuff in?

at this point the story digresses into some backstory and then off on a minor polemic. and, at this point, i can’t bear to read on, even though i feel bad for the three old coots. i’d like to see them get some justice, but i just can’t stand the idea of getting pounded over the head with the Hammer of Unedited Writing any more.

 

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