I'm reading a book set in the deep south during the depression and the author definetely knows the local color. I'm getting a good feel for shadows falling in the swamps, and the wild barking of dogs as predators hunt in the dark. The main character, a well read but not formally educated ex-marine who is now a cop, is also well drawn. I like him and am rooting for him. But by about two-thirds through the work I've largely lost interest in the story, and the scene I just finished this morning really left me flat.
The problem for me is the absolute action scene failure. An early chase on horseback of wild dogs in the swamp wasn't too bad because the swamps were well described. But then we had a car chase in the night along country roads. Gunshots were being exchanged. And I felt not the faintest emotion. Nor apparently did the characters. In fact, at one point I had to page back to see that they were indeed "chasing" someone. And other than some description of the headlights bouncing up and down on the bumpy road I couldn't put myself physically into the chase.
Although I'm still not quite sure how to describe exactly what was wrong with the car chase, it's the next action scene that is making me want to cut my losses and bail on the book. A man who is suspected of murdering a young woman is in the hospital and is very ill. It's been building throughout the book in the mind of the reader that this guy might be a werewolf. Apparently it's true because he attacks the doctor who is caring for him and there are metamorphic changes accompanying the attack. Here's the problem. The reader doesn't get to see the attack directly. The main character--the ex-marine--hears of the attack and rushes to the hospital. The doctor then describes the attack for him, and for the reader. The description is handled very badly. The author is torn between trying to dramatize the attack and having the doctor tell about it, and the result comes off completely false. One paragraph is telling, the next paragraph is showing, but that paragraph is written in some bizarre combination of flashback and dialogue. We can never settle down and "experience" the scene.
I don't like to abandon books when I'm over 100 pages in but I knew I was in trouble when I found myself paging along to find out how much more I had left to read, and not because I hoped it would be a lot. I'm going to start scanning today rather than really reading so maybe I can stumble my way to the end. I won't end happily, though, and I probably won't buy another book by this author. I want to tell them:
Dramatize, dramatize, dramatize. It's the only choice for critical action scenes