Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One by Harlen Coben

Reviews have been almost universally glowing for the recent French Movie Adaptation of Tell No One by Harlen Coben, the famed American thriller writer.  After watching all those Truffaut films back in College, I find it interesting that anyone in France would deign to make a film by any American writer, much less Harlan Coben.  Go USA!  

I’ve read Promise Meby Harlan Coben, and I have to say that I found it a little too twisty. My suspension of disbelief hangs by too thin a wire, I guess.  Also working against me was that Promise Me is one of the later books starring “Myron Bolitar”, and I was coming in cold to Myron’s story and his large cast os supporting characters.  Coben’s writeup in The Atlantic certainly makes him seem like a great guy, and I can only wish him continued success, but the writers of these Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One would tell no one to read the book:

I’m sure I’ve read worse books than Harlan Coben’s “Tell No One”, but at the moment, I’m hard-pressed to think of one.

…and:

Honestly, it reads like it was written by a ninth-grader with a great imagination but little knowledge of the writing craft.

…and:

This third-rate prose style is further sabotaged by the author’s relentless penchant for shopworn cliches and similes and metaphors so egregious that even the likes of Mickey Spillane wouldn’t think twice about blue-penciling them.Thus, we are treated for lines like “His pounding heart was like a bird desperately trying to escape from a cage.”, or “the shocking realization hit him like a falling piano.”

…and:

The story gets too ponderous to believe, by the time you realize the plot is as leaky as an Enron tax return, you’re sucked in and you owe it to yourself to finish. Don’t expect to be enchanted and mystified with the ending, it’s not Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz in climax but more like Archie and Edith Bunker.

…and:

This is the most stupid, unbelievable, shot full of holes BS I’ve ever read. I can’t even bring myself to write a

…and:

The reason I give it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I actually finished it and there was something that made me want to see how the whole bloody mess would finally end. What an unbelievable plot, flimsey characters and mediocre (at best!!) writing style.

Scathing Reviews of The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller

With the recent release of the movie The Dark Knight, it seems appropriate to take a look at one of the books that served as an influence. Yes, its time for Scathing Book Reviews of The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. If you were around in the 1980s and reading comics – uh, I mean graphic novels – you couldn’t escape the hype. The Dark Knight Returns was one of those books that made mainstream media mention in Time Magazine in other periodicals, because it made a big splash by “making Batman dark.”

Well I read it. And I have to say that even then, I couldn’t understand all the praise. Batman as a dark, grief stricken, unhinged creature of the night? Heck, that take on him goes back to the 1960s, with the writer/artist team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. My first introduction to the character in any depth was in “The Untold Legend of the Batman” in 1981, which made the character’s craziness central to the storyline. Guess who was trying to kill Batman in that one – HINT, his initials are BW and he lives in Wayne Manor.

Anyway, while Frank Miller’s books are usually pretty edgy, he seems like an awfully nice guy in interviews. So I’ll have to say – like the author, and appreciate the book, but think its been overpraised. These Scathing Book Reviews of the Dark Knight Returns wish he would just leave Gotham for good:

The art is terrible! rather then giving it a dark feeling, it looks like something from a childrens book that might be called “The Rainy Day” or “the Wet Dog” it uses water colors and weird-shaped heads.

…and:

I love the Bat, and I have tremendous respect for Frank Miller. I was crushed to find this book such a piece of mindless drivel, and frankly, offended. I have lost every bit of respect I ever had for Miller.

…and:

I gave up after about 20 pages of not being able to tell what was going on because of how terribly sloppy the drawings are.

…and:

While the book’s premise (Batman coming out of retirement to save Gotham from a disatrous crime wave) is worthy, Miller’s execution, as both a writer and an artist, sinks the book like a rock.

…and:

This is full of tired cliches of ‘the gritty and dark hero’. I nearly puked reading this book. One of the most overrated comic books ever written by man or beast. Plot? SUCKS. Characters? SUCKS. Writing? SUCKS. Art? SUCKS.

…and from the inevitable ALL CAPS Department, with a great point about the virtue of having Robin along:

WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING A 12-YEAR-OLD (OF EITHER GENDER) COMING ALONG WITH YOU, WEARING BLINDINGLY BRIGHT CLOTHING AND LEGGERY. FRANK MILLER SAYS IT’S TO MAKE BATMAN LOOK BIGGER, BUT I KNOW THE REAL REASON; TO DRAW GUNFIRE AWAY FROM BATMAN.