Lair of the Geek

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The Pack by Jason Starr

Publisher: Penguin
Review: Martyn Elwell
Price: £7.99

I had a choice of two books to review recently and wanting a slight change from the usual type of setting I opted to review the above book. I did the usual routine upon getting my hands on the book which was to flick through the book and casually read a sentence here and there. I know that sounds very slapdash, but please indulge me. Usually I get the general feeling for the book in that first quick scan. I was taken off guard with his book though. I felt it was going to be a fairly dull and slow book that I would probably not enjoy.
Dear reader, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
The style of writing is so easy and comfortable that when I got to read the book I was surprised at how I lost a couple of hours very quickly. Jason Starr expertly weaves a tale that can be very familiar to us in some way. The day to day life of a big city couple may seem quite mundane, but it’s written with a richness that places you as an audience member in this car crash marriage that opens up before you.

As a die hard fantasy fan, I was amazed at how genuinely interested in the minutiae of the couples life and how it was teetering on collapse. No wizards. No dragons. No sudden apocalypse from the depths of some deranged gods mind was affecting the protagonist. No, simple emotions, simple truths such as money and friendship and love were the strings pulling me into the first few chapters. Jason Starr created a main character I actually empathised with. I could understand his motives, his fears and his insecurities, but he is created to not be a pathetic looser, just realistic. The fact that the author could do this and still keep me interested was how I managed to digest hours with this novel.
Under all this everyday, hum drum life there is a sense of expectancy, that something is not quite right. Again, another clever string written into the book that gently tugs you from one chapter to another. Overall, the story progresses in a very easy going manner. The protagonist dramatically changes and with it the usual issues ensue.
The story is, sadly, the only let down I have for the book, but I feel that is mainly due to my own knowledge and expertise and certainly not the fault of the author. He has crafted a book which is very well written and a real pleasure to read, but it has a steady a gentle pace. No extreme shocks or crashing surprises, but in that simple gentleness is an excellently written story. In summary I would say that this book may not be for everyone, but if you don’t give it try you will be missing out on a mighty good read.

By Mart

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