Monday, June 27, 2011

Indie Author Robert Clear - The Cambridge List

The Cambridge ListJames is living a miserable existence. He has a crap job teaching English to mature students rather than the nice, cushy job that should have been his with a degree from Cambridge. He never got this job because he was cheated out of his degree so the college could push through another student, a special student.  James’s brilliant paper on Greek gods mysteriously lost pages in a file transfer, and due to this, he was failed.

James went on his way and began to merely exist in a dense fog of depression. When offered experimental antidepressants, he agrees with the assurance of the researcher, and friend, that they will be great. Soon after he begins these unapproved and untested pills, he starts to hear voices and singing in his head.  Finding this pleasant, he keeps taking the pills and never tells his prescriber. 

But who do these voices belong to?  The Greek Gods, of course.  They take up occupancy in James’s brain after he begins the antidepressants. Throughout the book, the gods lead him to exterminate everyone on the Cambridge List, everyone who had a hand in destroying the brilliant paper James had written. The gods do not do this for James, he is merely a vessel to carry out their revenge; they only want justice for themselves.  With the creation of the Cambridge List and the demise of all on it, they feel vindicated.

The fighting that goes on between the Gods, specifically Hera and Aphrodite, causes James much discomfort and stress, and sometimes pain.  He never knows what to expect and has almost no one on his side. Muse is the only god who seems to care what happens to him, but she must be careful to avoid detection of Hera and her wrath.

When I first began reading The Cambridge List, I was a bit disappointed. I felt that the plot was flat and too straightforward.  WRONG!  As the story grows, there is much more going on than originally expected.  A war among gods, fraud, murder; The Cambridge list truly delivered.

My typical complaint about a lot of self-published books applies to The Cambridge List. It needs to be proofed, badly. Commas seemed to be the author’s biggest weak point, but there were other minor formatting problems. The story was compelling enough that it didn’t stop me from reading it, as this problem has in the past.   

I found myself cheering for James despite his serial killer status. Even though others lost their lives in horrific ways, it was somehow still humorous, even if not laugh-out-loud funny. None of the plans that James concocts happen as expected; his plans tend to unravel rather than unfold. James was a bad guy that didn’t seem so bad, and his victims were far from good guys. It was a case of who was worse. Obviously the killer, right? I’m not so sure.

Even in the end, you just couldn’t hate James.  You couldn’t even dislike him; you wanted to like him.  Sometimes there are those bad guys that you want to hate but can’t.  James just wasn’t that guy.  You will find yourself cheering him on until the last sentence.

The ending, while complete, left itself open to a possible second book.  A book of revenge.  I felt the ending lacked nothing and was very pleased with how the author ended James’s madness. I may have picked a different drug, but that is inconsequential; the ending was good.

Be on the lookout for my first author interview with Robert Clear, author of The Cambridge List and check him out on twitter @SleevesRolledUp.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your review very much...I expected some all-out compliment, on the contrary, you were very much to the point, including the criticisms (self-pubbed authors do need proof-reading, I agree with you!)