Mason’s Missing

by Teresa Burrell

Read this in about 4 minutes

I like mystery. From my Champak-and-Tinkle-reading days to trying to steal books from our clubhouse library (because they wouldn’t issue books to kids), I’ve dug mystery a lot. When I received the gift coupon for the book for review, I was sure I’d read it myself and not give it to anyone in the crew.

Mason's Missing

Cover page

I wish I didn’t have to start here. Incomplete. Unprofessional. Disappointing.

The cover shows a blanket of snow, a lonely road, and a disproportioately large teddy bear with what looks like a poorly-done shadow and… I did not like the cover at all. It looks like a work of someone who just discovered WordArt in PowerPoint.

And does zero justice to the content within.

This book is a good example for “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Characters

There’s Tuper, there’s Clarice, there’s Lana, there’s a whole lot of names in there. At a point, I kind of lost track of the characters, and just three or four stuck in my head. I think the author could’ve played a little with names and ensured the names seemed a little different, perhaps?

As for the depth, I did not find any.

Pick any series, including any TV series, there’s a back-story that runs in parallel with the main story of the episode/movie/book. This back-story was missing in this novel. Tuper is the central character, but you have no idea who he is. You don’t know what he does for a living. You know he charges only what one can afford, but what’s his main mode of income? He’s been in the town for a very long time, he’s getting old. So he knows most people over there. Granted. Other than mentions of his past that run for a few seconds, like being jailed once for five days, there’s no real insight into his life. That could mean two things: one, the author didn’t work on it, or two, the Tuper series is long.

Then there’s Lana who finds amusement in all the “investigation stuff”, and is no “script kiddie”; she’s a hacker. At some point, in fact, I felt this was more of a Lana series than a Tuper series. Tuper has the personality, Lana does most of the work.

Or to look at it another way, not all of the focus is on the protagonist.

Some of the characters had some twists, making the second half of the story well-paced.

Content

I feel the author has put in some effort in technical research. Being a “techie” by profession, I felt the hacking part was taken advantage of, a little, but it was far better than what they show in movies where it’s all click here, click there, open some random consoles, run some zeros-and-ones, look around the screen, type in some random commands and BAM, you’re into NSA. What was that, four seconds? The author doesn’t do that here; she stretches the time to a few hours into the night. Fair.

The descriptions given for places are just right, and not draggy.

While the story meandered in the beginning, it slowly picked up pace, and things started unfolding one after the other, after a point. Good.

The last few chapters did have enough unfolding, too. I don’t see any major loose ends. The content’s good.

Language

Cowboyish, when it came to Tuper, with all the ’bout and ain’t no good. And his weather-freak friend.

Also, some of Tuper’s responses are pretty fun to read. But there were some punch lines which seemed a little odd sometimes, and sometimes a little too much.

Although, throughout the book, I noticed some minor inconsistency in the language (I’m unable to put a finger to it), which kept nagging me. And I still cannot figure it out. Or I’m being a little too wound up.

The story is good, though. It starts a little slow, meanders a little, but once it picks pace, it delivers.

Good points

The story, and the descriptions of locations, the arguments between a teenager and ‘pops’.

Bad points

Some of the descriptions could’ve been converted into dialogues for better delivery, because they seemed to dilute the impact.

Also, I felt the author has tried hard to avoid semicolons to split clauses. That kind of took the colloquial out of conversations. But again, style is subjective.

Some of the punch lines and some of the hacker clichés could’ve been avoided.

Overall

Seven on ten.

I liked the story, but the delivery could’ve been better. But as I said, I’m unable to put a finger to what made me feel like that.

Whom do I recommend this to

Series fans. And fans of mystery novels.

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This review was paid for either by the author and/or the literary agent and/or the publisher and/or other entities connected to the book. We at Meraki Post work on ethics, therefore, we treat paid and free content equally, which means, paying for a review doesn’t make the review favourable or unfavourable to the requestor. Visit the Legal page for more information on paid reviews.

Ram Iyer

Writer, PowerShell addict, typographer, self-acclaimed rationalist.

Bangalore, KA ramiyer.me