July 16, 2013

On My Shelf: Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown

Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown is a really good book. She successfully cloaks the protagonist, a female radio personality, in mystery. Why does Paris Gibson wear sunglasses all the time, even in dim lighting? Every time Sandra Brown would show a glimpse of Paris’ past I’d literally ask out loud, “But why does she wear sunglasses?”

Sandra Brown was great at keeping the killer a secret too. Normally, I can figure out who the bad guy is half way through a book, but when I thought it was one character she’d make me believe it was another. She definitely tricked me at the end! So I give her props for that! It’s not easy to trick me.

If you want to learn more about adding a splash of mystery around a character and how to trick your readers with the identity of the killer, read this book!

I tried to pretend I was Paris Gibson . . .

The only downside that I found difficult while reading this book was all the different perspective changes, which is sort of a trademark for Sandra Brown. Each chapter was from another character’s point-of-view, and I lost track of how many perspective changes there were. At times, it became hard to follow and I’d have to remember who the character was. But somehow she made it work.

As a reader though, I find that when I’m reading a book that switches perspectives I always anticipate the return of the protagonist, the character who I feel more of a connection to. When I’m reading a chapter about a whole other character, I don’t care as much.

Writing a book with many character perspectives is an art form. You have to do it just right or you’ll muddle the story and confuse your readers.

TIP #1: When you’re writing a book that needs more than one perspective, two is always a good choice because it’s easy to write, and to follow as a reader. If you must have more, I wouldn’t pass four key players. Anymore than that and you risk your reader’s sanity! Also the plot could take a hit from so many perspective changes. Of course, this is just my opinion. 
TIP #2: Read books by authors who have mastered multiple character perspectives. Study how they keep the story going while flipping from character to character.

QUESTIONS: Do you like books with multiple perspectives? Do you have a favorite Sandra Brown book?

Mine is Chill Factor. This book is a great example of how to successfully write multiple perspectives. Chill Factor will give you frostbite in the heat of summer, and make you question every character’s innocence. 

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