Wednesday, January 16, 2013

♥♥♥: Falling Immortality by Robert Downs

Falling Immortality (Casey Holden, Private Investigator #1)
Robert Downs

Page Count: 222
Release Date: 1 August 2011
Publisher: Rainbow Books, Inc.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Fine Women Required, Heineken Optional

Debut, hard-boiled mystery fiction for men, in the fitting genre called MANfiction (the opposite of chick-lit).

Casey Holden, former cop, current PI in Virginia Beach, VA, screens his clients the way he screens his women, based on whichever drop-dead gorgeous woman happens to waltz through his door first and manages to hold his attention. So when Felicity Farren, widow-at-large, struts into his office asking him to solve the two-year-old murder of her husband Artis, she intrigues him. When Casey starts digging, he learns the murder isn’t what it seems to be and he doesn’t have a big enough shovel to unearth the truth. And to top it all off, his former rival at the police department, Greg Gilman, is determined to disrupt his investigation. Casey's challenge is to learn what really happened to Artis, and why Gilman can’t seem to remove his head from his butt. And he’ll need all of his wits to complete the task.

Review


Before you gasp in horror from the unusually low rating I've given, let me put a few things straight: Robert Downs is not necessarily a bad writer and Falling Immortality is not a bad book. Remember my philosophy? There's no such thing as a bad book. However, this book has set off some bombs inside of me that should have been left alone; when a book annoys me that much, I will take it personally, and I will write a review to reflect those feelings. This review may sound highly tempered and slightly pissy. You've been warned.

My biggest issue is that there is almost no substance to this story. I can tell you the entire plot in one sentence: Casey Holden, playboy extraordinaire, solves shady crime involving questionable widow, her impenetrable late husband, and her miserable past. In fact, had this sentence actually been in the pages of Falling Immortality, there would be nothing left to read; everything else is virtually fluff. With absolutely no connectable content and dreadful writing flow—no substance, nor style—this book was one I grit my teeth and rubbed my eyes through. I didn't like it at all.

The second biggest problem is Casey, our first-person narrator. He may be a private investigator, but ironically he just can't answer or think of anything straightforwardly. It's clear he knows his job, but has no social awareness, too much confidence, and an ill sense of humor he expects everyone to be amused by. He'll ask a question for the case, flirt and banter exhaustingly for four pages at a time, then come back to the question because, oh yeah, he was supposed to get an answer. There is so much unnecessary fluff, that Falling Immortality was close to an impossible read.

Also, in terms of personality, Casey is the about the last person from whom I'd want to hear a story; not only is he foolish, but he's also unreliable, extremely immature, and just can't get to the point! Half the time I wanted to smack a reason out of him, and the other,  I wanted to duct tape his mouth shut. His "witty" ramblings are irritating and just too much. Downs should not be trying so hard to create a humorous personality, because Casey as a character fails miserably from making such a huge effort. Another off-key trait is Casey's supposed womanizing; apparently he is successful at it (but nothing from the author shows me how he scores so well... it all seems like ideal make-believe to me), but all he comes off as is highly annoying, smart-alecky, and frankly, pathetic. He has no charm nor wit whatsoever; the ladies' man characterization just doesn't fit. I can't imagine someone like him being so popular with women in real life; for the most part, he just seems like a jerk—a highly oblivious and outrageously aggravating one, at that. He thinks he's clever and gorgeous and charismatic, but is actually just comes off as plain lame.

The rest of the cast isn't much more impressive. The victims are shallow and unprobed, and even the antagonist isn't that bad—mostly, he's unmemorable and adds no suspense nor issues to the development of the story. This is supposed to be a work of detective fiction; where's my suspense and where's my crime??

Pros


The occasional funny, quirky line from Casey // Clean writing; well-edited

Cons


Poor flow // Difficult, dense writing // Dispensable diction // Every character is unlikable // Casey, who, unfortunately is our protagonist, is the most unlikable (and pathetic) out of all of them // Mystery is very weak // No suspense or speculation // Very inadequate in almost every aspect: story, style, characterization, structure, and technique

Love

I thought about dropping my head in my bowl of minestrone soup, but I had a feeling someone might notice, or in a big blow to my ego, they might not.

Verdict


My dislike for the protagonist (an immediate disadvantage towards my opinion any book), the thick, unnavigable writing style, and the lack of meaningful story structure throughout Falling Immortality make it an exasperating, unfulfilling read. This novel has a couple light chuckle-worthy moments, but is generally unpromising, and after reading, my patience had reached its lowest low. Highly insubstantial in content and wretchedly unsuccessful in style (and storytelling!), Downs's debut is not something I would recommend Americanflag

3 hearts: Not a fan; I don't recommend this book (x)