A Cambridge man wakes to find his home rendered strange, as if everything in it has been moved a fraction of a centimeter while he slept. In an irrational state he flees to the nearby international airport and purchases a ticket, certain that he is outrunning some horribly present danger. At the security checkpoint, the scanner’s monitor clearly displays a cylindrical bomb in his carry-on luggage, a bag that he hastily had packed with traveling essentials and has at no point in memory left out of sight. The smiling security officers seem to be waving him through…
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Release date: 20th September 2016
As soon as I read the teaser for There’s a Bomb in My Luggage, I thought this would be a fantastic, fast paced, fun read. I immediately expected drama, excitement, something to keep me turning through the pages from beginning to end. I thought this might be a mystery with elements of an action thriller. So, as you can imagine, I was thoroughly disappointed when I didn’t get any of this.
In fact, I can safely say I don’t really know what I got. The story seemed to jump around too much, I *think* it started out with the lead character relaying what has gone before back to his wife. Then the story switches for what feels mostly like the reader is following the action in time, with a few references directed at his wife. This in and of itself isn’t a problem, but it is just one part of the situation that makes for a story the felt disjointed.
The story also makes no sense whatsoever. I just didn’t feel there was any real thought put into it – by the end there were no explanations given. The entire story ended up becoming more and more silly as it went along. The lead wakes up one day, feeling everything is wrong – all the knick knacks and possessions in his home seem to have been moved, only by an inch or so. This leads him to checking for anything missing. On looking through his wife’s jewellery box, he finds an unknown broach. This leads to the discovery of a cut-and-paste letter warning him to leave his home immediately.
So he takes the somewhat irrational approach to pack a flight bag, grab his passport and run. He doesn’t think to call the police, his wife, or anyone, just makes a mad dash to the airport, and books the first international flight going – a one way ticket to Hong Kong. And the story becomes more ridiculous and farfetched from here. He finds a bomb in his case, which he didn’t put there. But rather than report it, he checks in and boards his flight. While finding himself here, he gets beaten and hospitalised. As he recovers, he opts to stay longer, setting up office here, before being abducted and transported through to Siberia. Obviously a lot of other bits happen in between, but it is of little consequence. No matter what goes before, the endgame of the story is in Siberia, with no explanations and no answers, which makes for a frustrating book.
And to top it all off, the vocabulary used made this a painful book to read. The author, for whatever reason, has chosen to go for unnecessarily big words, when simpler words would do. Not just once or twice, but virtually every sentence suffers. It feels like author grabbed a thesaurus and went through it with vigor as he went about writing this book. It got to the point that I was reading the Oxford English Dictionary alongside this book just to understand what was in front of me. To some this may well be refreshing in a world of dumbing-down. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a literary scholar with a ridiculous vocabulary, but I am not a simple person with simple language either. I am average on that score, but this book just felt needlessly pretentious, just to add to all the other woes it suffers. I felt this little meme I found summed up my feelings perfectly:
6 thoughts on “There’s a Bomb In My Luggage – G.P. Huffman”
weird word choices is why I like to read on a kindle – it has a dictionary!
Trust me, this went beyond! Whole sentences were almost alien to me!
Unnecessarily complicated word choices ruin a book for me!
It took too much away from the book and in my view didn’t need to happen. Add this to a weak plot and the book quickly unravelled.
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I’m the book reviews editor for an academic journal, and want to say THANK YOU for your review! I would not touch any of the fiction we receive with a ten-foot pole; yet it’s always returned with glowing praise. If I have to endure one more multi-generational Appalachian family drama, or one more “The X-s Daughter/Wife/Fish/Dog/Whatever,” I’m going to start burning all of these titles to ash. Sometimes, books just suck, and when they do, it’s ok to say so.
Wendy Academic Librarian, Editor, and Sufferer
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 13:11:30 +0000 To: email@example.com
Thanks for your comment! Let me put it this way-I would not have paid for this book! In requesting ARCs I am aiming to try new material, something I normally wouldn’t read. I have had some fantastic reads such as Darktown and The Last Policeman (which you can find reviews for on my blog). Others, like this were just plain awful. I don’t want to be unduly harsh when I review, but I won’t go easy on a book either.