Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Here Is The Review I Just Gave "The Hazards Of Love," By PT Dilloway

I am a huge fan of the Scarlet Knight, and this book carries on the quality writing, great storytelling, and emotional depth of the first two books in this series.

One of the hardest things for a writer to do is keep a character fresh on the 3rd (or later) telling, while not also destroying the ethos or feel of the major characters: it's tough to have your heroes and villains and supporting cast members stay interesting through change and development, and yet not deviate too far from the characters readers first loved.  Great writers have failed at that (I'm thinking particularly of Kay Scarpetta, here -- her development from slightly-overqualified ME to near-superhero eventually turned me off of the Scarpetta books).

Dilloway manages that trick in this, the third book in the series, and does it deftly, allowing his characters to grow and become more realistic while still holding their roles in the world he's created.  All the major players from the first few novels are here -- Becky, Lt. Donovan, Mr. Graves, Marlin -- but in this book we learn even more about them and each of the supporting characters takes on new characteristics.

As does the lead, Emma Earl herself: far from being a cookie-cutter goody-two shoes, Earl is a complicated and fascinating character in her own right: she's constantly fighting her own inner urges, to love Dan or to kill the bad guys, and Dilloway makes those inner battles a good complication of Earl's personality: her own goodness keeps one-upping itself, making her life far harder than it has to be.

I think that sort of a character must be the toughest of all to write. It's easy to have a dark tormented hero these days: Anyone can do Wolverine/Batman/Man Of Steel.  What's a lot harder is to write a character who is inherently good, but doesn't necessarily want to be, and still make that character interesting.  Emma Earl isn't driven to heroism by her parents' death, or because she was taught to use her powers for good, or because she is trying to get the world to accept her: she's a hero because she was chosen to be one, and now opts to live up to that even when it requires insanely large sacrifices-- sacrifices Earl makes, but regrets, because she's human.

Those characters remove this story from its comic book/superhero roots and make it a novel worth reading.  But, lest you get the idea that the book is all heady literary stuff, don't worry: there's plenty of battles, explosions, twists and turns to make the most ardent fanboy happy.  There are about three different intertwining plots as major storylines: Earl's seeking Isis, the new villain on the scene here, Lt. Donovan's capture (finally!) of Don Vendetta, and Earl's relationship with her best friend, Becky -- but there are dozens of subplots, ranging from Marlin's backstory to more corruption in the police force.

All in all, a solid, excellent book that combines the thrills of police/superhero stories with an emotional depth that's rare in books like these.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.

You can get the book on Planet 99 publishing, for just $0.99!


Pat Dilloway said...

Glad you enjoyed it!

Andrew Leon said...

I will, eventually, get to it.