This is the 2nd good review I’ve gotten for Downtown. Five of Five Stars!
Title: Downtown With the Book of Renown
Author: Tom Hendricks
Genre: Young Adult – Mystery
Rating 5 of 5 Stars
Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers’ Favorite
The synopsis for Downtown with the Book of Renown by Tom Hendricks goes like this: “Two boys have one big adventure, when Bradley finds a treasure map and two keys in a memo book from the hand of a dead gangster. He names it the ‘Book of Renown.’ The map in the Book of Renown leads him and his friend Tom downtown to the Clarks Hotel. But how will they get inside, and what treasure will they find if they do?”
Though I thought this blurb intriguing, I also felt it a little meager. As it turned out, it was perfect and the answer to the question was not close to anything I imagined.
I would not have known what to write as a review of this little story had I not done some investigation into the author and his other published works. With that information came enlightenment, so to speak. That Downtown with the Book of Renown is a well written, delightful read is, for me, a positive sign of Mr. Hendricks’ imagination and writing skills. That it is also far off the current standard for fiction storytelling regarding plot, characterizations, dialogue, narrative detail and backstory is both intriguing and refreshing. It reads more like a script or screenplay, with little location description or narrator detail. Dialogue is written with the name of the speaker, followed by a semi-colon and then the words. There are no adverbs or adjectives to show the speaker’s emotional state; the author leaves that to me (and you) the reader. Excellent! Conversely, it misses the mark of purebred script/screenplay by quite a lot, as well.
I discovered that all of Mr. Hendricks’ written work follows this style to some degree and that it is intentional. The author’s stated goal is to “give an alternative to generic corporate arts.” He has accomplished this objective with resounding success. I am a new fan and I will read more by this author.
Thank you Rex Allen for your review. I’ve written in this style so long I forget it’s not the normal style. I appreciate that you went outside the novel to see that.
My reason for it is to get the story going and never stop it or interrupt it for excess explanation or descriptions. A lot happens, and we learn a lot of personality in the dialogue and events. Compare how Brad’s parents tell the opening scene story with how Bradley tells the story. Or did you notice how many times poor Bradley got cut throughout the story?
I think there is enough layers of fun to read it a couple of times and see more each visit. In big events there is a lot that happens quickly and I wanted to express that exciting atmosphere. The writing is sort of a hybrid of novel and play. Hopefully I mixed the best of both to get a quick moving read.