Ah, the dreaded negative review. Here’s the downside of my job, because honestly they are a struggle to write. I wanted to enjoy Guy Adams’ Deadbeat. The first page was promising: some sad fellows hanging off a balcony, mocked by birds, dangling off to his certain doom, and sprinkled with just the right amount of dry humor that I adore in a book. I settled in for what was hoped to be set among my bookshelf as a nice book to perhaps come back to someday.
But that’s when it started turning sour. Right after page one! After I flipped the page and realized it was not the book I had hoped for, but a mere shell of dry humor that tries to fill itself with crass and passive comments, but, ultimately, still remains hollow.
Deadbeat is the story of two former actors named Max and Tom. Tom owns a nightclub called Deadbeat. One night, they see a group of men loading a coffin into their van at… the local churchyard (nothing we haven’t seen before in mystery-horror novels).
But, wait! The occupant is still breathing. What have Max and Tom gotten themselves into this time?
I dunno. I honestly don’t know.
Here’s the two main problems with the book: its iffy humor and its writing style. Let’s tackle the first one, because it’s the one that makes me feel less guilty to criticize. It’s not that Mr. Adams has a horrible sense of humor, because there are some parts that were enough to allow for smirking… it’s the way he portrays it. There is something to be said about class that gives humor, especially the brand he was going for; a satisfactory punch. His lacked that. It was more like a deflated balloon of halfway-formed jokes and dirty humor. Is that alright to say? It should be.
I don’t want to seem prudish, but sexual, religious, and other offensive humor just isn’t funny. It’s an easy target and much overshot in these days. Anyways, it’s much harder to form a good joke without playing up those topics that make a person laugh uncomfortably and not genuinely.
And then there’s the second reason I found this book lackluster: its writing style! Oh, man, I get goosebumps just thinking about it– insulting a fellow writer’s personal style? Stooping that low? It’s not that he doesn’t tell a good story; the pictures were fairly well imaged in my head as I read it. However, it was incredibly hard to follow. Always switching viewpoints hither and thither. It takes an incredible writer to pull off first-person, and he didn’t cut it.
In conclusion, I can’t say that I’d recommend Deadbeat… because that would be lying. There are many better books out there, some of which you can check out in the GNN review archive. If Mr. Adams is reading this, I want to personally apologize and wish him luck in his future writing endeavors. Perhaps his other books are better.
Anneka Winder is a writer, among other things. When she is not getting carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive writing, she is usually reading. You can track her strange and sometimes incoherent ramblings here: http://renegadebard.webs.com/