THE PHONE BOOK
Book Review by RM Krakoff
I was recently traveling to a trade show in Los Angeles and my hotel room was devoid of reading materials. My Kindle’s battery life had expired; there were no magazines and not even a Bible in my room. I was making my morning stopover to the lavatory without the confidant of a good book. I was obviously in some trouble and as luck would have it by the nightstand I located the local telephone directory.
I entered the bathroom, nestled in place and began to read. My first observations were this was obviously non-fiction literature. There were no illustrations, no table of contents and no preface. The story jumped in immediately with the primary character, Adam Aaron. The author, someone named Pacific Bell, a non de plume if ever I saw one, introduced this character to the reader; however, I must report that we do not encounter Mr. Aaron again throughout the story. Not to be confused with Aaron Adams who appears on page 3. Could it be that the author is having his way with us?
After a few pages I recognized the author’s unique style—the entire book is written alphabetically. How clever, how original, I thought. I am not a conspiracy maven wearing my tinfoil cap, but there is something I must report here. Every name was followed by a secret code. A long string of numbers and dashes to the immediate right of each character. The author didn’t go into detail about these numbers, so one may assume that these are code for Kennedy’s assassination or 9/11 Twin Tower destruction.
Mr. Bell continued to introduce character after character. The names flew by and after twenty pages or so one lost track of them. This leads me to my chief critique—the book binding is too weak for the number of pages. This makes reading, even the simple act of turning pages, an unbearable chore. If there is a hard-back version available, buy it.
As the pages flew by I anxiously awaited some kind of conflict. Even a recurring character would be welcome. But no, the author was hell-bent on building his cast of characters. I will say that this book is G-rated, suitable for the entire family. There are no profane words—although some do come close. On page 83 there is a new character named Amos Frick and another new personality introduced on page 232 where the author refers to a Margaret Schydt.
Okay, one other complaint. The typeface is too small and after a while all those serifs begin to run together. Personally, I think that Mr. Bell could have edited much of the cast out of the story, such as everyone of the Q’s, X’s and Z’s, simply to speed things along.
As a competent reviewer I am always searching for interesting tidbits of lore. Try as I did, I could not locate the name of this book’s publisher. One can only assume that the author has self-published. This may explain the substandard binding.
My overall impression of this book is that the overall story is weak but it certainly offers a cast of thousands. I recommend this book only to people who like people.
Score: 5 out of 10
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