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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Lazarus Child

The Lazarus Child by Robert Mawson

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

August 5, 2002

This book had the potential to be a great emotional powerhouse. Here we have the Haywood family in total disarray: young Frankie is hit by a bus, Ben is wracked with guilt and denial, the father Jack has been kicked out of the house for having an affair and his airline business is tanking, and of course the mother Alison is caught up in the middle.

This potential drama is spoiled by Mawson's subpar writing. Of particular note is Mawson's uncanny ability to skip over the most intense moments. Instead, Mawson skips ahead, then backtracks through dialogue or a couple skimpy paragraphs. The ultimate example is at the end where at the end of Chapter 17, the kid is coming out of the coma, then the story skips ahead to weeks or months later. The whole story was building towards Frankie coming out of the coma (and I'm not spoiling anything for you, fair reader, since the book is titled the LAZARUS Child), and then Mawson glosses over the climax.

You can call it inexperience of a guy writing only his second novel, or if you're less generous, you would say it's purely lousy storytelling. Either way, Mawson's poor writing takes a potential 3 or 4 star book and drags it down to 2 stars.

The plot itself is pretty average and predictable, but the characters are fairly well developed. I did find Mawson's hypothesis of a neural network being able to bring people out of comas to be interesting. However, like everything else, it was poorly executed.

I would not recommend this book, but it certainly was not awful either. I can't say how much I paid for it, but it was low enough where I have absolutely no guilt about paying to read it. My advice is to check the bargain bin of your local book store (like I did) for this and if you got cash to throw away, go ahead.

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