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Book Review: Crystal Bay by Brandon Ford

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All of us have a watched at least one movie at the theater and walked away wondering, “What was the point?” Weak characters, a meandering storyline and empty scenery never capture our interest. This often leads to an ending so predictable that you often walk out, angry that you wasted ten dollars. These are the fatal flaws that define a bad movie. Unfortunately, they are the same flaws that define a bad book.

Crystal Bay follows Gage, an English teacher who is tired of grading papers and wants to write his break out novel. To do this he plans a trip to his childhood lake house to spend some time alone and let the creativity flow. There he is confronted by a gorgeous woman who aggressively seeks to steal his youth through numerous sexual encounters. Meanwhile Gage’s wife, Beth, is frantically calling because she misses him. Gage is caught between two women, and under the grip of duel jealousy, he starts to write like he never did before. So does he continue the affair in order to finish his book? Or will Beth find out the truth?

Within the plot is the potential for limitless drama but to my dismay it is never fully explored. If anything took center stage in this book, it would be the affair. Having been in a similar situation, I know what it feels like to draw inspiration from a tempting but damaged woman. Gage displays this conflict well by exhibiting the appropriate emotions for a man in that position. Other than that, Gage is a classic stereotype. He’s an English teacher who never lived a real life but assumed that he had the ability to craft a great novel without so much as breaking a nail. Apparently, the author had the same idea because Crystal Bay takes no chances. It doesn’t teach or explore any ideas at all. It doesn’t compel or reflect. It doesn’t chill or romance. After a sleepy and laborious read I was left wondering, “What was the point?”

In the modern marketplace, as thousands of new titles hit the shelves, every author must ask themselves a simple question: “What do I have to offer that is unique?” Brandon Ford was unable to answer that question and because of that, his book is likely to accumulate more dust than sales.

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About Alex Hutchinson

  • Avid Reader

    I have read this book and enjoyed it immensely. Interesting and it is a I can’t put it down type book. I felt the plot was excellent and I give it 10 of 10 stars. Thank you Mr. Ford for your creativeness and an excellent read. Good luck on all your future endeavors. Mrs. Diorzio