Book Review: Arizona Free by Doug Martin
Three white collar schmucks sign up for a classic pyramid scheme selling energy drinks known as DINAmite. Gradually, they start noticing disturbing changes in the consumers of the energy drinks and find themselves pulled into the world of a nefarious plot to change humanity as we know it.
Not in years have I read a book I disliked this much. I generally try to find at least one redeeming quality when reviewing a book, remembering that not everyone likes what I enjoy, but honestly. This book is terrible, and I have zero idea how it managed to get published in the first place. The publisher’s website doesn’t give very much information on how and why they choose books to publish, so no answers to that particular question were found there. Anyway. On to why this is the first book ever to receive one star here on Opinions of a Wolf.
First, there’s the writing. I felt like I had landed back in beginner’s creative writing in high school and had been assigned the worst writer’s short story to critique. It abounds with showing, not telling. The dialogue is painfully fake sounding. Most of the characters are completely unmemorable, and the few that managed to put some image into my brain were simply charicatures lacking any dimensions at all.
I’ve read books before that struggled with sophomoric writing but that at least showed potential through a strong, uniquely imagined plot. There is none of that here. The plot changes its mind so many times throughout that I honestly have no idea what actually happened in the end. I’m completely baffled. You can’t throw that many surprises at a reader without offering some modicum of explanation or elaboration. The characters are simply straight up told “This is happening now,” and they go along with it.
Of course writing and plot are the core of what makes a good book, so it’s bad enough this book fails on both of those already, but it’s topped off with a nice icing of homophobia and womanizing. The characters and the narrator repeatedly make slams against gay people. One of the characters, Catherine, plays tennis with a lesbian, who yet again is a characature who speaks in the most fake Russian accent ever. This lesbian tennis player is interested in Catherine, and this of course grosses out everyone in the story, including Catherine. Also, the lesbian is turned into a hulk-like villain, complete with horns. I was so disgusted by the homophobia that I almost stopped reading the book, but I refuse to write reviews of books I didn’t finish, and frankly, I wanted a bad review of this homophobic piece of trash out there.
Bottom line, I can’t recommend it to anyone. It’s completely made up of bad writing, terrible plot structure, and rampant homophobia.
1 out of 5 stars
Source: Free copy via LibraryThing‘s EarlyReviewers program