Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words
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An avid reader from a young age, Bill Cokas worked for several years as a copywriter, churning out advertising copy for major companies. Now teaching at his alma mater, a university in North Carolina, Cokas has taken up writing novels as well. Besides this one, Cokas has one other novel, Ring of Fire, also available for your Kindle.
For more, visit his website.
“When his neurotic mother reveals (at his father’s funeral, of all places) he was adopted at birth, 40-year-old Dorsey Duquesne is left reeling in betrayal. Emotionally adrift, he hires a one-eyed strip-mall detective to find the missing pieces. The trail leads Dorsey to the Black Forest--and straight to a jitterbugging, strudel-baking redhead named Mitzi, who claims to be his birth mother.”
Part of me found the character of Dorsey and his reaction (dare I say overreaction) to discovering he had been adopted at birth as humorous. Although I was amused, I also understood his response. Much of Battle Axe is the same, with humor, seriousness, and suspense, sometimes in the mix at the same time. Other examples of this are the character and actions of Brock, the night watchmen in a small German village, and Ruby, the one-eyed private detective.
Although a fun story, Battle Axe suffered from multiple continuity issues, which left me feeling disoriented. For example, a stuffed bear that is important in one story thread is “rescued” by Dorsey’s mother, who cleans it and gives it to his wife, and then somehow the bear makes it back into his mother’s possession for a subsequent scene. There were at least two times where it felt as if the story was out of sequence, as if the order of chapters or scenes had been rearranged for a better story flow, but had not been reworked for continuity or chronology. For example, in one scene we end with two characters at a gravestone near a house that is on fire. The next section picks up with another character the next morning and follows what she does for several hours. Then the scene changes again and we’re back with the first two characters just a few minutes after we left them.
If you’re able to ignore a few rough transitions or can mentally piece things back together when the flow becomes disjointed, there is an entertaining story here. But if you’re like me, it doesn’t take many instances like the examples above to decide it isn’t worth it.
No significant issues
Rating: *** Three stars