Friday, August 17, 2018

Finding MaxFinding Max by Darren M. Jorgensen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So here's the big question. Can a novel that is fairly strong as a thriller, or rather, a psychological horror filled with tons of abuse of all kinds, be redeemed after a bunch of short sharp jabs to the incredulity center within my brain?

Let's back up. The first 70% of the novel is solid as a thriller surrounding a man who had lost his 5-year-old brother to a kidnapper only to find him all grown up as a homeless 22-year-old, himself as a social worker laden with guilt.

Enter in the girlfriend. The brand new girlfriend who loves this social worker without much preamble or reason. So far, not a big deal.

The writing is solid and the character exploration isn't bad. The lost kid goes through a TON of horrible experiences and we're left to suffer with him. Much pathos. Horrible experiences. You can guess all the child rape that goes on, the weird circumstances that allowed the kid to survive 17 extra years despite almost everyone's wishes he might have died.

But the new girlfriend makes some piss-poor choices and what had been a decent thriller became an unbelievable and downright horrible (for me) romp that made me almost DNF this. I don't do that, but I wanted to.

Love conquers all, right? Well, maybe for those characters, but levels of incredulity hit their limit even for a massive SF/F reader like me. Maybe it's just the abundant psychological horror meeting with an unbelievable amount of understanding, or perhaps it was the whole "sharing is caring" mentality, or maybe it was the whole "bullshit" when it came to sleeping with the bad guy to save her boyfriend.

Whatever.

It hit all my personal rage-filled buttons and made me BELIEVE in the characters and then I hated all their choices. Unbelievable choices. Really crappy choices.

And what happened after? Love and forgiveness?

You have to read this to see what I mean. I don't think I'm out of line in thinking that this crosses all kinds of lines. First, it's the pain and horror of child abuse on a massive scale, then it's an unbelievable amount of acceptance from several layers and people, then it's the full consideration of the after effects? NO WAY.

This requires a ton of disbelief. And when it comes to thrillers, there shouldn't be all that much of it. We shouldn't be asked to believe all this love and acceptance right after so many bad choices. Even characters should know better. Putting a cap in his ass is better than what happened. ; ;

So parts of this is a solid thriller... and other, more character related believability issues, is a full 1-star.

I'm taking an average.

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