No More Tears
by Shelby Lewis, contemporary (2003)
Arabesque, $6.99, ISBN 1-58314-325-4

Here's a public service announcement from Shelby Lewis: friends don't let friends publish books like No More Tears. This slim but incoherent book is a mess in every sense of the word. The writing is sloppy, passage of time and momentum in a scene are all stuck in a limbo, there's no showing but all telling, and the whole feel of the book is more akin to an enemy of Shelby Lewis secretly publishing this embarrassing brain gas under her name.

Miranda Evans, an artist, is furious when her husband dumped her for his pregnant mistress. Very well, very well. She goes back to her roots, living in the lovely countryside of Oklahoma and wandering around alone along the roads in search of a muse, when she collapses on the road and is found by our hero Brody Campbell. He wakes her up with a kiss - because you always kiss unconscious people you come across on roadsides - and woah, love. But can she trust him? Can he trust her? She's sterile - can she let him know? What about his ex-girlfriend?

Actually, the author has the right idea when it comes to Miranda. Miranda's self-discovery finds her deciding to stop blaming everyone else for her past, instead choosing to move on with life. Unfortunately, the writing is a complete mess. Points of view switch from paragraph to paragraph haphazardly. The dialogues are flat, the scene-building is even flatter, and the author doesn't show, she tells. In fact, if she is reading aloud her book to me, she'll be reading in a flat, rushed, garbled manner, as if she just can't wait to get to the last page and be done with this book. Reading this book is an unpleasant chore because the author is just going through the motions as if she's two-thirds stoned and one-third bored out of her wits.

No More Tears has "Written Under Duress" and "Rushed Job" stamped all over it. If you want to waste $6.99 to experience how shockingly sloppy and inept prose can ruin even the most interesting storyline, No More Tears is your book. Everyone else, well, go buy something else.

Rating: 44

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