Book Review of Solon

Posted on: October 19, 2009
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Written by Raymond Springer
Reviewed by Karen Cole

 
 
 

Teaser:

Well, those who like mixed fiction be warned: I found this uniquely plotted and paced true crime/horror/science fiction book to be strangely written and even more strangely presented, though I highly recommend reading it. The handful of new ideas in it made it worthwhile, although the structure and writing were flawed and in need of good content editing, plus a grammar and syntax check. But you will want to hang on all the way to the enthralling end of “Solon” – if you can make it past some basic structural flaws.
 
 

Review:

This book started out fairly well, building swiftly as the murder investigation ensued. It felt right just before Springer went over the edge, being too obvious and “shocker” about the phrase “serial killer.” My daughter talks about the “creepiness levels” of such prose, citing that in some cases you end up thinking the author regularly eats paint chips or something. But one nice thing I noticed is that the killer was initially regarded as an unsympathetic character.
 

Anyway, Springer after this momentary lapse went right back into the heart of the matter: the murder investigation by detective sergeant Daniel O’Dell of a female serial killer victim. This story is being told in a straightforward manner, and I felt a definite sense of suspense as the book built up at first. I felt like the beginning commenced grandly, then proceeded to drag through the details a bit – not unlike the feeling one gets from dragging on a rain soaked cigarette butt – but definitely lending itself to my continuing to read the book.
 

There were the occasional grammatical problems, such as “Professor Weaver confidently sauntered up to the victim and looked at her remains over for a moment…” which detracted in small ways from reading. In general, this book was written in the modern vernacular, shocking essence and all, with limited use of commas. I liked the fact that the prose settled into itself after awhile, lending its own air of mystery and peculiarity to the vernacular of the story.
 

This Spartan tale telling lends itself to its own style of dramatic writing, the Hemingway brand anyway, although I felt sometimes Springer was trying to impress his readers with too many petty, authoritative sounding details. But I didn’t feel swamped, and the book read Spartan in the “true crime” dramatic sense, which plows you right into the meaty stuff and doesn’t leave you starving for action, drama or suspense.
 

The book’s quirky nature and the mild changes between descriptive prose where the author had me more compelled and the simpler “tell not show” nature kept me going enough to want to finish the book, finding out how all the loose threads came together eventually. Some erratic capitalizations such as “Gold” for “gold” left me puzzled, unaware of their deeper (if any) meaning. I felt like the book could have used a thorough proof reading.
 

The murderer was revealed too soon; I was hoping it would be the “treat” at the end of the book. Now it seemed the one character we could care about, sans how horrible he was as a person, was the killer, due to his painful and abusive upbringing. I wasn’t sure it was planned that yes, the only being we could feel about in this book was the serial murderer. But at least we finally had someone we could feel something real about, at any rate.
 

I would say it’s up to you to decide if you like this sort of thing. The name of the book, “Solon,” becomes apparent about halfway through, when the demon which possesses Frank becomes known to be his father, Solon. At last this treat of info was presented to us about halfway through, and many more similarly odd treats became known in later portions of Springer’s new book – frankly satanic ones that more or less qualify this book as “dark fantasy.”
 

The ending is okay, tepid but tongue in cheek, leaving the reader hanging and wanting some more. But I felt like the book “leaned” too heavily on “shocker” anti religion stuff and Ripper oriented techniques. I would, however, be glad to read the sequel of this oddly written and strangely enthralling book, and suggest you get yourself a copy of “Solon” and do the same.

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