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Endurance by Jack Kilborn

June 29, 2010

The title page reads: Endurance, a novel of terror, by Jack Kilborn. Aka Joe Konrath, writer of many, many novels and well-known to indie authors as the man behind the popular blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing. And it certainly is a horror novel. I know, not the sort of thing you usually get from me, but hey, even I can stretch. I should probably say that while I love horror movies, I don’t get the same thing out of horror books. I don’t know why. So when I say that this book didn’t scare me, we’ll just assume the lack was mine.

I’m not really sure how long this thing is. Amazon doesn’t give word counts, which is what I like to go by since page counts aren’t very helpful when you’re talking about reader devices. It did take me a few nights to get through it, despite the fact that it moved pretty fast.

Have you seen one of those B movies where a bunch of people are drawn to an inn in the middle of nowhere and it’s obvious that bad things have happened there and are going to happen to these people, and then wacky, blood-splattering mayhem happens? That’s pretty much exactly what this is, in book form. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I kind of like those movies, and this is written with enough interesting background and details to keep it from feeling omg not again while you’re reading it.

The characters are well done. They’re interesting people with good backstories and relationship drama enough to make you care about them. The villainous characters are…imaginative. And they’re horrible. And they’re almost too ridiculously freakish and evil to be believed. But if you like this genre and are determined to suspend disbelief, you’ll probably let it work for you. If you’re determined to find fault, you will.

Lots of action, a good deal of suspense, some interesting questions through the beginning that build to a whole lot of answers, and then chase scenes and bloody fights galore until the finish.

Now for my beef: proof-reading. I know that the more you read something, the harder it is to really see things. For this reason, no author should proof-read their own work unless it’s been out of their sight for so long that they can really look at it. If this was handed over to someone else for a read after it was converted for Kindle, that person failed massively. It is possible that when I converted this from Kindle format to EPUB for my reader (yes, it is “Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited, DRM-free and convertible for you non-Kindle readers), that my conversion caused some of the errors I saw. I haven’t noticed that before, but it’s possible. However, besides missing a beginning letter or end punctuation here and there throughout the piece, there was also a weird cut and paste incident, and two places where a the wrong characters’ names were used. While so many indie authors are trying to get past this image of indies as unprofessional writers putting out stuff riddled with errors, it was disheartening to see something by a professional going indie with so many problems.

But I’ll forgive it because it’s Joe Konrath, who writes a kick-ass blog and we love him. Just don’t do it again.

So…it feels kind of harsh to give this only 2 out 4 cookies, but that’s a middle score here at ATFE. The writing is vivid, story is solid, great characters, interesting details, pacing is excellent. But the story is right out of a B movie, the cavalcade of monsters gets so ridiculous it gets hard to take the story seriously enough to get scared by it, combined with the lack of line-editing have to earn this story some demerits.

Oh, and hey, this is a horror novel. I shouldn’t have to say, but just in case: serious gore warning in effect. Also sexual violence against women, mutilation, insane hillbilly mutants, incest, there’s an animal you might be concerned about… If you’re a delicate reader, please look elsewhere.

Endurance is available in Kindle format at Amazon, for reading on Kindle compatible devices. It’s DRM free so that others can read it by converting the .prc format with a program like Calibre (which rocks).

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