Tuesday, June 18, 2013

REVIEW: BASH by Mike Bartos

Title: BASH
Editor: Mike Bartos
Genre: Mystery
Price: $0.99 (ebook)
Publisher: XLIBRIS
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Psyche

This book creates an ensemble of characters connected by a psychiatric hospital that is mired in bureaucracy, weighted down by budget cuts and striving just to deliver basic care to their sometimes dangerous criminal patients. The story is constructed so you simply cannot hurry through it. You get to know everyone, for the most part nice, well-meaning, but flawed characters struggling through middle-age, professional crises and the demand for professional and personal duties, with a few villains sprinkled into the mix. I will admit that by halfway through I groaned a little as yet another character got introduced with a multi-page brief biographies of their life up until the point they enter the story. They are all marvelous character, but this is closing in on “too much of a good thing”.

At first I was surprised that the blurb discloses something that doesn’t happen until a third of the way through the book. But in retrospect you kind of need to know where this story is going in order to understand why you are strolling there through the lives of a dozen different people: patients, nurses, doctors, journalists and so on. I would say that having only the doctor in first person does not make sense to me as he first appears well into the story and Ash is much closer to being the protagonist of the piece. So the change in person seems a bit arbitrary, or like authorial intrusion.

While not every part of the book was to my tastes I have to give it 9/10 for sheer, pulled-together storytelling. I would, however, suggest that the cover doesn’t really match the book.

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