The Dummy Line
By Bobby Cole
Jake Crosby: stockbroker, hunter, fisherman. His nine year old daughter, Katy, is growing up tomboy. Elizabeth Beasley: high school senior contemplating her future college education and working out her emotions with her boyfriend. When Jake, Katy, and Elizabeth run afoul of drug dealers out to wreak havoc at a remote hunting camp, the situation turns into a fight for survival. Local and area police search for answers to a confusing set of events while family and friends fret and worry. With killers advancing from two sides, Jake must use every bit of skill as a hunter and woodsman to stay one step ahead.
Another good versus evil in a remote part of the country. The premise is good.
Jake Crosby: struggling stockbroker, hunter, plagued by a recurring nightmare
Katy Crosby: 9, Jake’s daughter, tomboy.
Elizabeth Beasley: pretty, high school senior, cheerleader
Ollie Landrum: County sheriff, black
These are the main characters. There are so many more and most of them are introduced by page fifty. There is a lot of information given on each character. Background and trivial information. Some of the characters I found interesting, others…I wondered about. One of the problems I had was much of the information given about personality traits weren’t necessary. There was almost too much. Plus, throughout the story, some of the things I thought might matter, didn’t. Jake’s recurring nightmare I thought might play a bigger role. Another oddball thing I discovered was Katy is a tomboy loving hunting and fishing, but we don’t know she’s afraid of spiders until near the end?? Ollie seems to be the only cop with any intelligence and empathy. The other members of the police force and assisting officers seem inept and unprofessional considering the dire situation. I didn’t mind some of the quirkiness, but at times it was a little much.
Cole strove for southern accent and succeeded for the most part. Also, for the most part, the conversations and phrasing fit each character although some of the lines used were standard.
Short chapters and a lot of action make for a fast read. Realizing I read an ARC, and thereby forgiving some of the mistakes (and I do hope a good editor catches the plethora of punctuation and dialogue tag errors) I found switching POV or ‘head hopping’ to be a real distraction. Cole uses scene breaks, but then will jump back to the previous character in the middle of the next scene while focusing on a new character. If Cole is trying for omnipresent view, I don’t think he made it. Speaking of dialogue tag lines, I also found the placement of them in many instances to not be as smooth as could be. Plus, many times, the tags were unnecessary. Based on the subject being discussed and the tone of the sentence, even when three or more people are in the scene, it wasn’t required to tell us who spoke. I also felt the resolutions to character issues might have been better. Jake’s wife is bored by her marriage and is planning on leaving. Later, there is one mention that after only hours gone and confusion setting in, she now misses him. At the end, nothing is resolved and the reader doesn’t know whether they stay together and work through some of Jake’s faults or if she leaves.
I debated awhile about my ranking, but finally had to go with: