Read 1/6/14 - 1/14/15
2 Stars - Recommended Lightly - Humorous caper with some annoying grammatical errors and odd moments of character-building for the sake of.... character-building?
Publisher: Biting Dog Publications
Uncovering unknowns can be both a super-power and a curse, where my love for the underdogs sometimes finds me falling headfirst down the rabbit hole of strange indie fiction. And though these trips through indie-internet-wonderland always hold the promise of ending in triumph, more often than not I usually crawl my way out of it worse for the wear.
I discovered a free download of Biting Dog Publication's The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape through one of those very same rabbit holes. Though I'll never be able to reproduce the chain of events that led me to this thing, once I found it, I knew I wanted it. The cover looked pretty sweet, the description - "an adventure novel set in East Texas, “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” taking place in the trailer-laden world of the people of Walmart." - sounded pretty cool, it's a digital novella, and it was free, which always takes the gamble right out of it. I mean, if it sucks, what did I lose? A couple hours of my time?
So onward I trekked, into the scrappy East Texan trailer park where the missing $20 million dollar lottery ticket has just been found. Turns out this dude Skeeter bought it 6 months ago and forgot all about it, only just now realizing he's had it the entire time when the news reports that tomorrow is the last day for the winning ticket to be turned in. Skeeter figures he's got some time to celebrate before cashing it in, so he calls up his buddy Spider to tell him the news, then promptly wraps himself around a pole in a motorcycle crash.
On his way to Skeeter's place to search for the ticket, Spider bumps into a nasty old drug dealer he owes some dough to and in an effort to save himself from an ass whopping, promises to split the money with him. While they're crashing Skeeter's trailer, the local sheriff Cheatwood gets a call to check it out and makes a dirty deal with the two of them to get in on the fun. Meanwhile Jack, Skeeter's neighbor, is eavesdropping the whole conversation from outside the trailer's window.
And here starts the most goofy, poorly coordinated, and hilariously comic "be the first to find the hidden winning lottery ticket and become a millionaire" caper that ever was. As you read it, you can't help but envision this as a black and white silent film, with that funny organ music playing in the background as you watch these four characters fumble and bumble around, side stepping and back stabbing one another in a million different combinations. Who will be the last man standing, with more money than he could ever dream of spending? Well, c'mon, you're going to have to read the book yourself if you want to find out.
While I found the story itself to be entertaining and fun to read, the grammar and oddly timed moments of character-building kept getting in my way.
Some sentences were awkwardly phrased. And the author had a bad habit of creating new paragraphs for each line of a character's speech and quote-end quoting them, which looked as though someone knew had started speaking, though that wasn't always the case, momentarily throwing you for a loop when it happened.
Kerr would also deviate from the main story at odd intervals to give you a little backstory on each of the characters. Information that could have been shared about them when we were first introduced, but for whatever reason was held onto and added into the mix later on. It almost always stalled the story, which was frustrating. And if I had to hear one more time about Jack's broken leg and how he couldn't run yet there he was running and how often he forgot about the broken leg until the broken leg began to bother him because of something he tried to do with a broken leg that no one with a broken leg would ever try to do because its a broken leg broken leg brokenleg brokenlegbrokenlegbrokenaaaaaAAHHHHHHHHH! So yeah, repetitive much?
With some really honest feedback and a half decent editor, I have no doubt that this could become a much stronger book. So... my final verdict? Cool story, mediocre delivery. If you're more into what the story is than how it is told, and are a super forgiving person with grammar and syntax, you'd probably really dig this one.