Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Approaching the Dark Side in "This Duality"

Taking a turn to the dark side of the human condition today.  It's blood.  It's guts.  It's twisted minds and outcomes.  That's what we're exploring in Aaron Tavarez's novella This Duality.  Shall we begin?

Book Blurb:
Ben Fletcher and Lyel Costin's lives come screeching to a halt when a single mistake takes everything Lyel had to lose. They work as contract killers under Mather Sewald, an arrogant and hostile relative, and over the course of the next forty-eight hours they'll find not only what they were looking for, but expose more than they ever thought possible about the criminal organization they work for and their own dark history. And the warpath they set themselves on ensures the journey will be a bloody one.

My Review:
I need to admit up front - I should've probably passed on reviewing this novella.  It's more horror and bloodshed than thriller, and that's just not my cup of tea.

Ben and Lyel grew up together and spent a smidge of college life at the same school until Lyel up and disappeared.  Ten years later, Lyel shows back up again in one hot car with one hot babe by his side, while Ben is struggling as a low-level police officer who can't hit the side of a barn in a shooting match.  Together again, they hit the mean streets of the criminal underworld as a hit team working for Lyel's uncle, Mather Sewald.  Ben well remembers Uncle Mather because the boys vacationed together regularly at his summer home.

But it appears Uncle Mather has taken things too far when Millie, Lyle's main squeeze, goes missing after a night at the local hang-out.  Ben and Lyle team together against Mather to rescue Millie before it's too late.  The battle for blood begins.

Guys who like shoot 'em up stories and movies will probably find this pretty good, but like I mentioned before, it really wasn't for me.  It's violence and gore for the sake of violence and gore.  There's little character development except in a bunch of flashbacks scattered throughout the story.  We're given no reasonable motivation for why Lyle would imagine his uncle behind Millie's disappearance.  Therefore all of the violence was over-kill (pun intended) for me.

Within certain chapters, we're also taken sideways to a character known only as "this boy".  It's obvious "this boy" is scared and waiting for something bad to happen, but we're given no sense of time or place, no sense of why "this boy" is trapped and thus these numerous scenes felt out of place.  Maybe one or two of these scenes, but there were so many they merely detracted from the main story and began to seem more like filler.  In the end, there's a purpose shown for inclusion, but again these would've been better served with only a couple of these break-in's to the main arc. 

Couple those flash sideways scenes with all of the flashback scenes and at times it was difficult to follow the train of thought for the story, which slowed pacing and pulled this reader from the real point of essence in the story. 

However, structure was pretty decent.  Good showing of the main story arc as it was happening, appropriate scene breaks for change in point-of-view, with only a few editing hiccups.  As mentioned, I'd have liked to see more character development which might have given more hint to the animosity toward Uncle Mather.  For those with weak stomachs, there's a lot of bloody violence, a lot of rough language, and some other pretty messed up moments with a couple of characters.

Overall I did not like This Duality in regard to story and characters, but for the fairly clean writing structure I'll give it two and a-half stars.

Purchase by clicking the link for Amazon

Author Bio:
Aaron began writing horror shorts and posting them online when he first decided that hoarding all of his ideas
to himself was unproductive, if not selfish. Since then, he’s moved on to self-publishing his backlog of mystery and suspense novellas, and he seems to be the only one that can hear the world’s cheering response. He writes out of Dallas, and lets no abundance of school schedule or other work get in the way of writing.

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