Author: Grant Reed
Genre: Humor / Fantasy / Mystery
At thirty-one Garrett Willigins has finally earned his private investigator’s badge. Unfortunately, the bills haven’t stopped coming and building a solid reputation won’t happen overnight. Forced to take employment wherever they can, Garrett and his miniature dragon partner Merle, must dirty their hands any way possible to make a buck. Shoveling manure, chasing cats, and dock duty seem to be the order of the day.
Working off back rent for a notorious gangster isn’t the safest of jobs on a good day, but when the other workers start turning up dead, Garrett finds himself elbow deep in a mystery that could spell a quick end to his short P.I. career.
I was eager to get started on “Garrett’s Mulligan”, because it sounded like the kind of book I’d enjoy – mystery and fantasy mixed with some humor. The book follows the adventures of Garrett Willigins as he tries to earn a living as a beginning P.I. and is forced to take on every odd job he can come across to earn some money. One of these jobs throws him smack in the middle of a murder mystery that he has to solve before his career, and even his life, are threatened.
The setting was all right, as was the plot. I loved how Garrett’s partner is a miniature dragon named Merle. We’re introduced to Merle in the first few pages, and this immediately sets the mood for a murder mystery with lots of fantasy elements thrown in. The mystery itself was done rather well, and the characterization worked too. I felt like Garrett was the only person really evolving though, throughout the book. The secondary characters more or less stayed the same.
What annoyed me the most however, was the grammar and spelling. The prime example of this was the endless use of adverbs. For example, on page 10.
The door to the office was opened forcefully and Garrett Willigins stomped into the reception area.
Why the use of the word ‘forcefully’ here? Especially when Garrett stomps into the reception area, the reader already knows he probably didn’t give the door a gentle push. Why not make this sentence active, like: “The door to the office flew open and Garrett Willigins stomped into the reception area.” Or something along those lines. Adverbs are never good, and they show weak use of verbs.
There are more examples on the same page. Some sentences later, this happens:
“Pardon me,” replied the dragon meekly.
And then this:
Garrett nodded solemnly.
There are lots of other grammatical tidbits that annoyed me, and which aren’t related to the use of adverbs. There is also a general wordiness to the book that slowed down the pace.
“That reminds me,” said Merle taking a sip from his coffee cup. (page 11)
“How many Piddles does that make now,” asked Garrett, adjusting the mirror. (page 11)
And then there’s the constant use of words like sulked, confided, etc. when just “said” would’ve been enough. Like on page 12, you get the following.
“It was only an observation,” sulked Merle.
“It’s been bothering me all morning,” confided Garrett.
Later on that page, the characters insist, huff and stammer. It goes on like that, page after page after page. The author and/or editor obviously never read this (and the reason why I’m linking to this particular article, is because I stumbled upon it yesterday, but I’ve read dozens of similar articles and tips before).
It’s tiring and annoying to read a book like that. While the plot and characters were all right, these errors, the wordiness, the awkward sentence structure, made the experience not as pleasant as I would’ve liked. The author has a story with lots of potential, but I wish he’d hired an editor (or if he did, another editor), because it really needs polishing.
I felt bad while writing this review, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have to be honest to my readers. The way it stands now, I would hesitate to recommend this book to anyone.