Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stalking Susan

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
Do you ever get fooled by a great title and excellent jacket art? The next thing you know you're picking up that flashy book at your local bookstore or library and taking it home. At home you soon find out how low the American publishing industry will sink to wrap a terrible story in that flashy cover that got your attention in the first place.

My one night stand happend with a superficial, limping narrative written by former Minnesotan WCCO-TV news correspondent Julie Kramer. Her book Stalking Susan, from Doubleday, was released in 2008. The NBC Today Show producer's 248-page book operates on the premise that two women named Susan were strangled by an unidentified serial killer. Then, more suspicouslly murdered Susans, the name being all that connects them, are uncovered. They're found in a wider and wider pattern where Julie's dead husband travelled before he was killed by her giant ego and lack of literary skill. Or, maybe it was a firebombing? It got very hard to tell as the chapters kept grinding along like Peg Bundy's nail file.

The thing could have been, with just a slightly deeper exploration of the characters and plot in the novel besides a precursory A/S/L description of them, much better. See: Malik is Pakistani, Aig Le is Hmong, Riley Spartz is white and ex-husband Boyer is dead - and that's it? Oh Jesus of Narareth pure or plain, this book was written like a text message from James "Short And Sweet" Patterson at a Minnesota press junket on "craft": badly and evidently for an audience of house wives whose idea of "suspense" lays somewhere between watching bread rise and paint peel.

The characters get more annoying and more annoying as they trade one-liners from The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca and then immediately indentify them by name and year. Do you know what it's like to have people constantly regurgitate movie lines in public? Aquatic mammal w/in city limits or no - it's worse than packing my ears full of Wrath of Khan bugs who sing nothing but upbeat and off key show tunes. Now you've got me reading this crap every few chapters? No ma'am. Your career spreading superficial smarm and luke warm thrills ends at page 111 for me. Good day to you and your book.

To further compound my grief, this unreadable, shallow and repetitive book was nominated for a literary award in 2009 - the Mary Higgins Clark Award for it's "suspensefull qualities" didn't win.


Julie Kramer Books, About Julie...

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