A Bad Day’s Work: A Novel

Written: March 8, 2015

Sometimes I like to read quick bubble gum novels between the harder, more comprehensive non-fictions. I guess this book served its purpose well. It’s a mystery novel about a TV shooter (videographer) who shoots a crime scene only to become a central part of a plot to cover it up which includes a wealthy vineyard owner, a baseball team manager and his mentee (who was murdered), coworkers, a gang, and shady police officers. I liked it at first, because it gave you a real inside look at news reporting and gathering and the work of a videographer, but then it descended into side stories about the videographer’s romance and a lot of melodramatic scenes with fighting and intrigue. It got tiring to read in the second half, and I just think I wanted to get to the bottom of things quicker which is always a major liability with mystery novels. But the dialogue and scenes weren’t keeping me interested either. I started skimming near the end. I won’t tell you ending, but this is now a spoiler, because I will criticize the novel as not being entirely PC. Basically, when you start reading the novel and find out who the minorities are, then you basically will know who the guilty party becomes. I’m sure that news reporters along with cops understand well that blacks and Latinos disproportionately commit more crimes per capita than say Asians or whites. So you argue, wasn’t the author being more honest by basing the novel on reality? The problem is, if every author is trying to be realistic, then every author will always have a black or Latino as the bad guy. It’s not like all the authors get together and decide that since one racial group makes up for 20% of the crimes, then they have to agree that for 20% of the authors, the bad guy must be of that race. The problem is that when novelists keep making blacks and Latinos the bad guys, they are perpetuating a negative perception of black and Latino men. Now, you can argue that if an author was writing a fiction about terrorists, it’s absurd for him to make the terrorist a white Christian dude. There is merit, here, but even then, when you really look into it, there are a lot of Asian terrorists, a lot of white separatist terrorists, radical Zionist terrorists, they really do come in all types and races. Then again, there are historical novels that are too PC and they star say, a black cowboy in the West, but then again, are you trying to be historical or are you trying to sell say a cowboy novel to black readers? And yes, there were probably black cowboys in the west.

The ending is weak and for most of the novel, you’re led down the wrong path, so it’s also annoying. Why spend the majority of the novel making one person seem like the guilty party, providing his motive, and then all the sudden at the end, he had nothing to do with it, and someone who is introduced very late suddenly becomes the guilty one. It seems like a cop out. I know there really shouldn’t be any rules to writing any type of fiction, but at the same time, these rules are there for a reason. In this case, it keeps you from feeling unfulfilled as a reader and a lot less likely to read the author’s sequels. It’s like M. Night Shyamalan. Plot twists work if you’ve only built something up shortly, but if the whole time you’ve been misled, at the very end, you feel manipulated as opposed to happily surprised. You might as well have the narrator wake up in the very end only to realize it was all just a dream. http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Days-Work-Hawkins-My…/…/B005OHU92I

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