TGS Book Club: “The Replacement”, by Jason Pellegrini
I thought I would mix things up a bit, seeing as how I am an avid reader, and that our book review section has only been graced once with a book review, of sorts. To be honest, I’m not sure how many of our readers would be interested in this sort of thing, but, well, here goes…
The Replacement, written by Long Island native Jason Pellegrini, centers around disgraced NYPD officer Patrick Sullivan after he beats a drug dealer to death and the serial killer case he gets roped into after his highly unlikely return to the force as a Homicide Detective. Such more or less reads the synopsis on the back of the book. Thanks to a Twitter ad campaign, I was made aware of this debut novel by Mr. Pellegrini – and I almost wish I hadn’t been, as the novel’s premise sounds good, but is ultimately ruined by bad writing, half realized characters and very predictable story beats.
Now, when I say bad writing, I mean to say that he runs the gamut of everything wrong a writer can do: simple spelling errors that make the reader wonder if he even hired an editor; having a middle school level of confusion regarding the meaning of words, but opting to use them anyway; not understanding that having your characters yell over poorly manufactured drama doesn’t constitute tension, while also failing to realize that blood and guts don’t mean something is scary. I had to force myself to go on reading this book, despite my frustration, due to two things: I wanted to do him the justice of actually having finished the outcome of his endeavor (writing a novel is no easy task), and the fact that I spent almost $12 on the soft cover edition.
As I stated above, writing a novel is no easy task. I know, because I’ve tried a few times. But what is harder is to write a mystery that is genuinely befuddling, and on this count, he fails miserably. The killer is rather obvious less than a quarter into the book, and the pay off is insulting, to say the least. When I got to the portion where the main showdown happens and the killer reveals his motives (because why wouldn’t he, right?) I just gave up. It was so ludicrously stupid, I put the book away on my shelf and moved on other things.
There are only two other books in my life that I haven’t finished, they are Moby Dick and Atlas Shrugged; and now The Replacement joins their ranks. Maybe I wouldn’t be so hard on this book if I had gotten it for a couple dollars, or for free, but either way, the one reason I would advocate anyone to buy this book would be for an aspiring writer to see what mistakes not to make. The Replacement is a text book example of what not to do as a writer.