My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Playing Harry, by Nick Wastnage

Playing Harry
Nick Wastnage

Star Rating: 2.5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Harry Fingle’s brother is killed in suspicious circumstances. Harry, an acclaimed investigative journalist, is fired, for no reason. He vows to discover the truth. Two people are murdered, a pharmaceutical factory is bombed, and Harry’s loyal ex-girlfriend is stabbed. MI6 and the CIA pull him in to safeguard his life. They tell him he’s been the ball, while they’ve been the players.

Harry Fingle is trying to find his brother’s killer. On his brother’s computer, he discovers a mysterious encrypted file that he thinks contains a cure for HIV. Together with his ex-girlfriend, Amie, and six other tragically flawed strangers, he becomes immersed in a violent and disturbing international conspiracy, that unearths the criminal activities of two of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, and exposes the American and British security services as having blood on their hands.

Playing Harry is the story of one man’s epic fight against powerful organisations. His terrifying journey brings him back into contact with his former partner, who never came to terms with their break-up; a successful career woman, grieving over the death of her teenage son; a sad, pathetic alcoholic, who’s continually trying to kick the habit; and a supposedly-reformed drug dealer, who can’t escape his past.

My thoughts:
This is a complex novel with a lot of players and a lot of moving pieces. This is a the type of novel that's difficult to write really well. The characters themselves are portrayed well, their motivations and emotions are clear and understandable.

I had a hard time getting into the story because it flashed quickly between points of view, and it took me a while to put the pieces together to figure out where the story was going. Nick himself is portrayed as kind of a dick, and the fact that he's been through a good amount of crap, doesn't make him any less of a dick in the way he handled the situation...especially to the ex-girlfriend. Granted, at the end he recognizes that he's been a dick, but I went through the whole story not really liking Harry all that much because, you know, he was a dick.

In fact, as well as the characters were portrayed, I really didn't feel much attachment to them.

The dialogue didn't flow well for me. Most of the speech sounded unnatural and robotic and extremely formal.

The biggest draw back for me is that the characters' movements were diagrammed to the point where there movements started appearing mechanical. It was really distracting.

I think I spent part of the time being confused, part of the time being annoyed, and part of the time being bored by this one.

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