Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dark Matter Heart by Nathan Wrann

Title: Dark Matter Heart
Series: Dark Matter Heart
Author: Nathan Wrann
Length: 2893 Kindle units
Rating: 2.5 stars

The Plot

Cor and his mother are hoping to get a new start in their new town. He’s making new friends, and he’s met a girl that he really likes, even though she is dating the school bully. But Cor has a dark secret, one he thought he left behind in LA, and he is about to discover his problems are only just beginning.

The Good

There were a lot of things that I liked about Dark Matter Heart, but I don’t know that I can say what any of them are because they would constitute spoilers. I guess I can say that the basic premise of the story is that there is a serial killer following Cor around and killing people tangential to his life, like a homeless man he gave change to and a runner he bumped into. I thought that this was a really cool premise for a mystery novel.

The paranormal elements of the book were arranged so that the reader discovered them as he or she went along. So in the vaguest terms possible, I’m going to say that Cor has something special about him, and the way that he and his friend Taylor research the issue is pretty cool. As a trained behavioral scientist, I always like to see people investigating the natural laws of paranormal phenomena in these kinds of books.

The Bad

I often read books for my blog in thirds or quarters over the course of three or four days so that I can keep up my posting schedule. And sometimes, as happened with Dark Matter Heart, I get through the first day of reading and find that absolutely nothing of interest has happened. I think it was supposed to be set up to have the reader slowly discover things about Cor and what has happened in his life. But, really, it makes very little sense to have the character from whose viewpoint you are seeing the story hide large amounts of information from the reader. I think the whole thing would have actually worked much better if it was from the point of view of Cor’s friend Taylor, who was slowly discovering things as the reader was.

I also found as I was reading the story that I really didn’t like Cor. He seemed to be perpetually cocky for no real reason. His sun allergy/illness and quick friendship with the class nerd made him easy targets for bullies, but he seemed to be totally unconcerned for this, even when they beat the crap out of him. And the arrogance didn’t really fit in with the victimization thing he had going on re: the murders. Of course, it did fit with the idiotic method of tracking the killer, which seemed to be to see the killer, follow him, lose him, and then get upset when someone died. Not that I think it was his fault that this plan did not work; it’s just that after several failures, I would think that he’d try something new.

The Romance

As soon as he gets to school, Cor is drawn to Caitlyn, the smart girl who is inexplicably dating Trace the uber-popular jock. Cor says that he feels a connection to her, but I am unsure whether this was supposed to be one of those meant-to-be-together soulmate kind of things or if Cor is just overly sentimental. Regardless, I’m not sure how I feel about Cor deciding to try to steal someone else’s girlfriend. I mean, her boyfriend is clearly a jerk, so it’s not the worst thing he could ever do, but I’m not sure that Cor is a much better choice. Especially since he keeps saying that he doesn’t want to have any friends because he might put them in danger.

Will I read more?

Dark Matter Heart ended with a revelation that sounds like it could have potential for developments in the next book. However, the combination of disorganized plot and unlikable protagonist in the first book make it unlikely that I’m going to be picking up the second.

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