Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A World I Never Made

James LePore’s suspense novel was sent to me by Pump Up Your Book for Mr. LePore’s book tour. LePore was a practicing lawyer for twenty-five years before retiring in 1999 to focus on writing and photography. A World I Never Made is LePore’s first novel, published in 2009. He has since published a second novel and has one more on the way, along with a small collection of short stories.

Minor SPOILERS, hopefully kept to a minimum.

I was on the fence about the book for most of the way through. The end pushed me over the edge. In a story grounded in reality and world events, the ending threw me. Specifically, the Epilogue. The story is about a father searching for his daughter amid terrorists, gypsies, and French and America Federal agents. Why then do we have the mysterious thirteen-year-old flower girl appear to have been a spirit? Why end the book with a ghost? The supernatural didn’t even come into play through the entire novel. The goals of the characters were to find a missing person and stop the terrorists. The last line beginning, “On angel’s wings…” seemed extremely out-of-place and inappropriate. I don’t think it’s what a person is looking for in this type of book. Of course, I could be wrong.

If Amazon* is to be believed, A World I Never Made is an excellent example of its genre. I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t the right person to read this book. As I reached about a third of the way through, I thought maybe mysteries weren’t my thing. I’ve never read John Grisham or James Patterson. I didn’t really fancy The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie, though I think that’s a different kind of mystery novel. But then I remembered how much I loved The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and felt more confident in my opinion. This book was not for me, regardless of genre.

When the agent sent me the synopsis for the novel, it said that it was about a father searching for his daughter who faked her own suicide. It sounded interesting. Then I started reading the story and found the terrorists. I don’t think if I had known about the terrorists, I would have read the book. I felt like a lot of these characters were stereotyped. Why was it that the only Arab to help Megan Nolan was a Christian? In addition, I found the most of the French and Gypsy characters portrayed negatively. We had blood-thirsty Muslims, greedy Gypsies and snobbish French.

Despite all that, I found the plot interesting. It wasn’t a simple murder-mystery. The plot was complex, which I can appreciate. It took the reader across Europe and northern Africa. The language used was intelligent and easy to read. Though I found the stereotyping distasteful, I wanted to know what happened at the end.

The individual characters were also interesting, but none of them surprised me. Though the story takes place only over a week, I didn’t feel that any of the characters learned anything, with the exception of Pat and Megan Nolan. As father and daughter, they learned how much they actually loved each other and to what lengths they would go to help each other. As I previously stated, however, what they learned was fairly obvious. I also found the different pairings of parent and child and how they interacted notable. In addition to Pat and Megan, there was Catherine and Daniel, François Duval junior and senior, Corozzo and his son, and Lahani and his son. Their interactions were all different, with wide emotional range, from love to hate.

I would have given this novel a pass; I would have let most of the things that bug me slide, but then I read the epilogue. –That’s the rant I have in the second paragraph.– It really did push me over the edge. Did A World I Never Made fail at its goal. I don’t think so. People who like to read about averting terrorist disasters with a couple odd romances thrown in will probably like this novel. Other people, who perhaps have similar tastes to me, probably won’t.

If anyone else has read this book, I’d really like to know what you thought. As I said, I just don’t think it was the right book for me.

* Note: Normally I only link to the Canadian website, but since that only had one review and the American website had 29, I linked to amazon.com here, but the first link still goes to amazon.ca.

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