The Conspiracy Of Silence
By Augustine Sam
Benjamin Carlton, television star, is on trial for the murder of the wife of the California’s governor. Carlton’s girlfriend, Rita Spencer is his lawyer, but she has stumbled into a conspiracy spanning Washington politics.
Okay, this is the basic plot, which is fine, but once I delved into it, I discovered there were a lot of problems that went beyond basic.
Benjamin Carlton: black, television star
Rita Spencer: Carlton’s girlfriend, attorney, slender, hazel eyes, long mahogany colored hair
Frank Talbott: 40, mobster, smokes cigars
Bruce Travis: smokes, former FBI academy instructor
Manuel Ernesto Rodriguez: drives a Jeep
Brent Greenburger: homicide investigator, married, two sons
There’s also a guy named Leland, who works for a branch of the FBI. Except for Rita, no real physical descriptions. Many people don’t act as one would expect them to. Talbot, who I thought was an interesting character, is brought in early, then never seen again. The two bad guy flunkies are ridiculous in their actions and dialogue. Speaking (no pun intended) of dialogue:
Major issue here. Everybody talks to him/herself. A lot. They speak in complete sentences out loud…to themselves. Where a narrator should be explaining this, the characters think in complete sentences, which isn’t normal. There are some B-movie lines. Characters’ dialogue don’t match their personality or their profession.
Example: Greenburger in a disagreement with his superior – “With all due respect, let me oppose you,” he whined while gathering courage… No cop speaks like that.
Rita, standing in line for popcorn after speaking with Leland who was telling her a shocking story. “Lord!” she cried. “They are closing in on me, the sinister cartel, the FBI, and worst of all, the Shadow of Death-the greatest mob hit-man of all time-according to Leland; a phenomenal killer who entered a hotel sauna, plunked down his towel like a normal steam-bather, strangled the senator while they were both naked, and then dissolved into thin air without being spotted.” – Okay, let’s move past the fact this is one of the worst examples of a run-on sentence and realize, she’s saying this aloud…to herself…while in line for popcorn. Really? And nobody gives her a weird look? The governor, too, has his own scene of walking around having a conversation with himself.
While I’m here with Leland and Rita, their entire conversation is inane. In the midst of this fantastic story about political murder and other nasty business, Rita asks him his age and he wonders that Rita, the lawyer, uses profanity.
Profanity. Not much, but just enough to be unnecessary.
I think the author tried too hard to convey the ideas in the book with language and words that were off.
The plot dumps the reader right into the murder case, then backs up and shows some of the investigation.
Abrupt POV shifts. At least one misspelled word. Misuse of semi-colons and commas. In one sentence there is a mixture of past and present tense. Repetitious words. A lot of people ‘pause’. Leland ‘pauses dramatically’, and an attorney ‘turns dramatically’, which is weak writing.
The FBI is portrayed as inept and this is not believable. The FBI bodyguards are worthless as they can’t keep Rita from sneaking in and out of the hotel each day for court. Leland, hospitalized, is frantic that there’s a mole inside the FBI and he can’t trust anybody, including his bodyguards. Yet, a scene later, both the guards and Leland allow the bad guy posing as a doctor to waltz right into the room without a suspicion.
Part of the plot involves Rita possessing a diary that both the baddies and the FBI want. The baddies can’t seem to kill her and the FBI are apparently stymied by her refusal to turn over the diary to them. So much so the FBI Director makes an appearance and he is denied. Really?
Not believable – a high profile trial involving a celebrity and the governor’s wife would take longer than one morning session to choose a jury. Also not believable – An alibi given the governor at the very end of the trial, is not challenged by the prosecutor. Most of the court proceedings were not believable.
Part of the plot involves Carlton being part of a secret spy organization. Okay, but that’s not followed up on later in the book. What happens? Is the organization shut down? Does he leave it or continue to be a member? This a cool plot point, but the author never goes into the intricacies of it.
This shadow of death assassin isn’t dealt with either.
The ending is weak.
This entire book was a mess with weak writing, bad and unnatural dialogue, confusing and convoluted plot points, and characters who aren’t believable.