Fallen Palm — Unethical behavior, fake reviews
Author Wayne Stinnette got his author friends from kboards to flood Amazon with bogus complaints, resulting in the removal of every review I've written simply because I wrote an honest review of his book. My honest review, and likely one of the only ones you'll find follows:
Clearly, Wyane Stinnette has been able to exhort many acquaintances into writing reviews of Fallen Palm, much of which are skyward pointing praises. Unfortunately, this tactic is something of an epidemic here at Amazon, making it impossible to use the number of reviews and overall rating as any sort of metric to determine quality or readability. Readers looking for actual quality books are left to look for the rare honest reviews in endless haystacks, or stuck reading a sample of anything that looks promising before shelling out for it.
The problems with Fallen Palm by Wayne Stinnette begin even before buying the book and they are two-fold. I had no idea the author was gaming his rankings by frequently lowering the price to get lots of buys and then quickly ratcheting the price back up to catch unsuspecting customers at higher prices. Price history revealed this, and there are various apps to help you track this and steer you clear of cheats. Second, this book says it's the first in the series, but the actual first in the series is a completely different book. From what I can tell the actual first book called "the beginning" was actually released first, but may have suffered from poor results and was replaced with this one later as the first. The other then being called "the beginning" but this book being named the first in the series. Unfortunately, I bought both books in my hunt to find the actual first book that would help explain some of the things glossed over in this one, and my review of that schlock will be forthcoming.
In the book itself, issues pile up quickly but I'll start by reiterating how ticked off I am at the deceptive ratings. There, I've said it and hoping the point is taken to heart by those who seem to think they were doing this author a favor by piling high unearned praises.
Narrative is a key area where the book suffers. Clearly, Wyane Stinnette doesn't know how to get out of the way of his own narrative. As a result, the book often bogs down in backstory and exposition when it should instead be kicking into higher gears. After a few pages, readers get Jesse is a crotchety old dude, pushing 50 with a long history. Don't need to keep hearing about '83 or '74 or '68. All these way back dates kept reminding me that Jesse is better suited to a membership in AARP than as the guy coming to anyone's rescue.
Sometimes all the backstory in Fallen Palm leads to unintentionally comical results. The whole premise that kicks off the story is about the "drowning" of his friend Russ, who Jess says couldn't possibly have drowned because 25 years ago he could swim 6 miles of open ocean. Added to that is another backstory about Jesse and Russ finding buried treasure underwater in 1983 and how they got $100, 000 for 160 pounds of silver bars they'd found no questions asked from another shady fellow.See the Top 10 Worst Complaints in Tampa, FL Unfortunately, the author didn't do the math, silver prices in1983 tanked and the haul's actual value was a tiny fraction of this, about 1/5th, and to a shady fence or such intending to melt down silver bars, even less. Thus, all this backstory to set up the reasons Jesse does what he does, don't even make sense. That's only chapter one!
Chapter 2 is where the reader knows for certain the author has a D & D-style character sheet for each character with little check boxes, stats, and such because we are treated to more and more information dumps from these. Has no one ever told the author less is sometimes more? Doesn't seem so as information dumps abound. Look a one-eyed half-orc lawful evil 6' 7" 320-pound blue-eyed brown-haired bad boy whose mother was a crack is approaching! Then ten weeks earlier, during his days off and several weeks later he took a walk! A month later he went for a swim, whereupon he finally meets our hero, Jesse.
Chapter 3 afternoon Sunday. It was early afternoon and... Well, gee, thanks for letting readers know twice in two lines it was afternoon and then for letting us know not only what was north, south, west, and east, but what was northeast, southeast, not far away and far off. Even more better every detail of getting ready for a storm, with even more endless backstory.
In Chapter 4 we get to go back two years, as if the past dozens of pages of little to nothing bogged down in backstory after backstory wasn't enough. To summarize, enter Alexis, the strong-willed, no-nonsense, yards yada yada stereotype woman to serve as the love/romantic interest.
Chapter 5 takes us to Bogie Channel, in the lee of Big Pine Key, approaching Spanish Harbor and Southeast Point, where Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge is located and our continued whirlwind tour of other things regurgitated from mapquest or Wikipedia, plus 5 more pages so Jesse can ask a riveting question about the storm approaching. Oh, yeah.
Chapter 6, oh joy nine days earlier yada yada yada happens, as if we needed more backstory in a story with negative forward momentum. Got that Boss?
Chapter 7 forward nine days, like Chapter 5, but afternoon instead of evening that day. Does the author think jumping around in time makes a simple story complex? Yes, he does, so he keeps doing it for the next few chapters. Unfortunately, simply rearranging the time order of chapters after the fact doesn't make the weak story work any better. The story is weak, the dialogue flat, the characters regurgitations from their D&D stat sheets.
I could continue with the chapter by chapter, but I think anyone reading this gets that this story doesn't live up to its high ratings in any way, shape or form. Since, I already purchased and read "the beginning" I will review that one too. I may read the rest too, if for no other reason than to ensure these poorly written books at least have a few honest reviews. Thankfully, Amazon allows readers to return books that don't meet expectations.
Finally, read paragraph 2 of this review to see why the "Afterword" of this book rings false. Whether a creative fiction or a loose play with truth, the afterward is meant to endear the book's author to readers, as is the author's gosh I'm just a regular guy spiel.
Readers are advised to avoid Wayne Stinnette and his books at all costs.