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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fast Draw by D.W. Collins - Solid, but not spectacular. 3.5/5

Today, I am reviewing the Urban Fantasy/Thriller story Fast Draw by D.W. Collins. In this book, we follow Bob Mayes, an aging cowboy and performer in a show who demonstrates his superhuman aim and firing speed. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to be caught in the middle of two warring presences who are fighting over the future of mankind…and are using Supernaturals like him to do it. 

I give this book a 3.5/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 3/5. There was a large cast of characters in this novel, but I felt like I never got to know any of them very well. What I did know was reasonably interesting, and I cared about the main ones…but they felt like movie characters, rather than book characters. The romantic subplot between two of the side characters was fun, and helped define them a little bit, but I felt the book lacked a little in this area. As far as our protagonist, while I cheered for him and enjoyed watching him work, I didn’t feel a lot of depth in him. A few moments of soul-searching don’t really change a man who’s spent the last several decades living the home life to a bringer of righteous death.

Plot/Storyline: 3.5/5. The story was fun and interesting and it kept me turning the pages. There were few twists, though, and many of those that were there had the bright red colors of the deus ex machina glowing upon them. I found myself a bit confused at times as to the reasons and motivations of the characters as they used their assets to confound one another. Who’s winning? What’s going on? At times I wasn’t sure. Overall, though, the story was coherent, made sense most of the time, and was a new take that I hadn’t seen before.

Flow: 4.5/5. Well done here. The pacing was excellent and Collins does a good job of it. He spaces the events in the book out perfectly and fills the intervening time with things that make sense, all the while pushing a sense of urgency. I admit to thinking that Bob (who, as mentioned earlier, is not a spring chicken) was actually doing very well considering the pace his friends were setting 

Spelling/Grammar: 3.5/5. Meh. Some missing and spliced words, spelling mistakes. The book is written in present tense, but there were a few confusing times when Collins went back to past that threw me. I definitely noticed the issues in Fast Draw.

Overall: 3.5/5. A solid effort, but it could have used a couple more beta readers and another editing pass. I’m honestly most frustrated with the ending and the character of Bob Mayes. It felt like, as the story progressed, Collins had this character, and he established what the character could do…and I got this feeling that Bob wasn’t being challenged much. He was this instrument of God (metaphorically) that just rained death on his enemies. Which was cool. But he never felt threatened.

And then the ending happened. I won’t spoil it, but I felt cheated, like it had been thrown in, or pre-written and shoehorned so that the ending imagined before the book was ever written is the book that we have. I don’t know. People who are fans of the genre will probably enjoy Fast Draw, but those who are prone to analyze the plotlines or who are looking for visionary approaches would do well to be careful.

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