The Charm School – Nelson Demille – 5/10 (DNF)

“Hello. Anything exciting happening?” “Yes, but it’s happening in Rome.”

Rich frat boy Gregory Fisher is driving his Trans Am across Europe. Because he can. When he gets to Russia he is mildly amused by the Big Brother control – until he meets an American war pilot, MIA since Vietnam, in the woods. He races on to Moscow to pass the message on to the attaché there, but something sinister seems to have happened to him since he made that phone call…

This thriller had plenty of potential. Gormless rich boy screwing things up? Check. Russians doing bad things? Check. American embassy two steps behind all the time? Check.

However, after 100 pages, the plot didn’t seem to be going anywhere (I had endured a lengthy restaurant scene where the American hero from the embassy dallies over Afghani food with another embassy employee before heading out to the aid of the MIA pilot), and there were just too many editorial errors! A date which should clearly have been 1969 was given as 1989 (the year of publication of this book, I believe), and on two occasions, sentences with very similar structures (“This, he thought, was a xxx thing”) occurred in the same paragraph; the structure is unwieldy once but twice it is careless.

I didn’t fancy wasting another 587 pages on something that hadn’t been properly proof-read, so on the DNF pile it went. Others may will be rewarded for being more patient than me.

Additional info:
This was a personal copy.
Publisher: Sphere Publishing, 687 pages (paperback)
Order The Charm School from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this, which goes towards giveaways.
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3 thoughts on “The Charm School – Nelson Demille – 5/10 (DNF)

  1. Leeswammes 11 November 2011 at 5:08 pm Reply

    I read a different book by this writer, Wild Fire. I gave it 3/5 stars. I did finish it but it had a very annoying main character.

    How odd this book hadn’t been proofread properly! I really dislike it when there are lots of mistakes in a book. If they author/publisher doesn’t care enough about the book to make it as mistake-free as possible, why should we care about it?

    BTW Sent you an email today, did you get it?

  2. Alex 13 November 2011 at 11:16 pm Reply

    Outch! No matter how great the story is, editorial mistakes totally kill a book for me. Still, you gave it a 5 – feeling generous? 😉

    • readingwithtea 14 November 2011 at 1:38 pm Reply

      Well I try to give the DNFs the kind of rating that I would have given them if I’d stuck with the book to the end, and this was a 5/10 kind of book! Bit of a plot, mildly interesting characters, decent setting… but the editorial mistakes were what caused the DNF!

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