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"The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell" by Robert Dugoni
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Living in Venice Beach, CA she is not surprised by an earthquake shaking her home. She is surprised by finding a bricked up section under the stairs of her cellar. She is surprised by finding the skeletons of several women. She is surprised by finding a journal hidden in a tin box, left with the skeletons. She is surprised when she begins to read the journal that it seems to have been written by Jack the Ripper detailing his crimes in London.
Her family has owned the house since the early 1900’s, is one of her ancestors, Jack?
A thriller that takes you from London at the turn of the 20th century to the present 2010’s in California. A fascinating tale of a serial killer.
Fast forward to contemporary time and murders similar to Jack the Ripper's methodology begin to appear in the Venice, California. As the result of earthquake damage, Jennifer Silence uncovers a cache of human remains in her basement and this sends her on a quest to try to understand her family's role in the placement of these skeletal remains. Her suspicion turns to her schizophrenic brother whose behavior is becoming more bizarre and more like Jack the Ripper. Ultimately, Jennifer confronts the "new" Jack the Ripper and it proves to be a deadly encounter.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is not without its shortcomings. Some of the characterizations were not well developed. In particular, the character of the brother was a little troublesome for me. The author did an excellent job of developing this character, demonstrating the weakness of our mental health facilities and showing the steady downward spiral of a schizophrenic person who is off of his meds. However, the ending plot line for the brother was just too quick and too convenient and it proved somewhat of a let down. I found the secondary characters, namely the two police officers to be somewhat one dimensional and left me wondering if they were really needed for the story line.
It is not great literature but it is definitely worth reading.
Here, the author follows the theory that the killings stopped in England, due to his emigration to the US. This then picks up where the UK link left off, and we see him continue his killing ways. However, the majority of the story is set in the 21st century, where we are led to believe his descendants continued the 'bad' family gene. I will not leave any spoilers here, but it doesn't take the reader long to figure out - the thread we are being taken down is a red herring. Otherwise, where is the mystery and suspense?
I guess I was surprised when I did hear who the killer was, but I would have liked for them to have played more of a part in the ongoing story. We kind of see them at the start, and that is all we hear of them, until they make an appearance towards the latter stages.
The characters are not quite rounded in as much as they don't really reach out to us and tell us about their personalities, what makes them tick etc. Even the good natured banter between Jennifer and the officers involved in the case was glossed over. That alone could have provided some respite and humour.
Otherwise, it is an okay read. I certainly cannot criticise it to any extent, but just say it did not grab me in a way I hoped it would. That is in the main due to the fact the characters appeared a little 2-dimensional.
The ONLY reason I did not rate this book a 5 is that it has multiple typos. I am getting SO tired of authors who don't have their book proof read by someone else to find errors & typos. A writer should never proof their own writing, as the brain automatically reads it as what should be there, rather than what is.
Some of these errors would have been picked up by a computerized grammar check, so in my mind there is no excuse for it, but it seems to be SO common in this day and age. I suspect many writers are cutting this corner these days and not having (good) people proof their books, or are using inexpensive editors, hoping to save a few dollars.
When I read a book I expect the author to be BETTER at writing than I am--but it is rare these days that you find a book without several glaring errors. (There were about 5 or so in this book) It is not only distracting, but makes me think the writer did not care enough to make sure the book goes out PERFECT...as it should.
I DO hope authors pay attention to the comments we leave here on Amazon, so they can take care to correct the various issues that people find wrong with their writing.
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