92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Rob M. Miller
- Published on Amazon.com
Though I'm sure to upset some authors and publishers who, understandably, want five-star reviews, I've my own definition of the five-star system.
*One Star: A crime against God and man.
*Two Stars: Poor, or otherwise not ready for publication.
*Three Stars: A solid work worth the money/read.
*Four Stars: A superior, award-worthy achievement.
*Five Stars: A standard setter, a work to stand the test of time, a work to be studied and read again and again....
"Progeny," by Patrick C. Greene.
The title made the sale. And it was a hard sale. Having zero interest in Bigfoot stories, I nonetheless had to give this one a try. Be it a science fiction work, fantasy, or piece of horror fare, the word "progeny" makes quite the seductive lure. Why not give the work a chance and read a few pages? Soon, however, I found myself click-click-clicking away on my Kindle--and for far longer than planned.
Was the story formulaic?
Was there certain things quite predictable? Like knowing at some point, the fated Bigfoot would be making an appearance?
And that was fine.
Some formulas or recipes, when the various ingredients are properly portioned and mixed, produce exactly what's promised, be it a fluffy omelet, a well-engineered car, or yes, a fine reading experience.
Such is Greene's "Progeny."
The author pulls this off by maintaining a slow, but ever-increasing engine of suspense coupled with characters that might mistakenly be thought of as cliche, but who, in reality, are merely very familiar. Because they're human. Not entirely bad or good, but with virtues and flaws, fears-hopes-and-pains. The story's hero, Owen Sterling, a man with his own believable regrets and self-doubts, is wonderfully painted as a divorced man who gets annual visitation time with his son, who has to struggle with reconnecting with a child who every visit, is changed, grown, and matured into a slightly different person that dad has to get to know anew. But even with the story's "villain," if he is one, Mr. Zane Carver, a one-eyed King amongst his inner circle, there's a father to sympathize with, an imperfect man who desperately wants to help his boy become a man--even if it kills 'em all.
And then there's the creature responsible for the footprint on the book's cover, portrayed in the novel in what I found to be a very believable and human-esque fashion.
If I wasn't entirely riveted, I was at least engrossed and immersed.
Click click click.
What about flaws in the work? Yes, there's those. The editing could've been better. Should've been better. But editing's expensive, and even then, every editor has his or her own set of long suits and shortcomings. For this self-appointed expert, a writer who's sure to end up taking his own hits, there were bugs I found distasteful: firearms listed as forty-fours instead of .44's, a thirty aught-six from a guy running a gun store, instead of a .30.06, errant extra spaces, punctuation outside of "quote marks", like the writer's from England, sentences ending with multiple exclamation marks!! (if you're going to use two, then why not three?) or worse, multiple punctuation marks?! ...The misuse of elipses starting sentences without any discernible reason.
Everyone's a critic. According to my own definition of the five-star system, I felt sorely tempted to give the work only two, as a work not quite ready for publication. So why the pass?
The clicking on my Kindle.
I read the work within a couple of days, and amidst a busy schedule, the glitches never really bumping me out of the story, and the errors, when made, at least being consistent, pointing to a style guide that needs to be improved, reminding me we're all ignorant, just about different things.
For most, should they dare to pick up Greene's work, "Progeny" will deliver what it promises, a tale easy-to-be-entreated and enjoyed, a simple story that holds a mirror to humanity's humanity ... and inhumanity. With the author, I'll be looking into more of his work, believing that with every piece, the prose will only shine brighter.
As for storytelling, Greene's already there, knowing how to hook a reader, then keeping the line taut and without ever breaking the line.
I'm glad to now have the man's footprint in my library.