Author:  Edward Smith\

ISBN: 978-1439257586

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

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Crime, money, love, sexual intrigue, passion, power and beauty are the elements needed for a fast paced story. Edward Smith offers a good premise for his novel Dan Knight’s Journey but he falls short on the delivery.

A twelve-year old Danny befriends Paddy Trolen, one of the local ruffians. He also becomes the secret boyfriend of the “Princess” of Yorkville. Five years later, he meets and later assists Robert, a master thief. Dan holds the key to pulling off the perfect heist. When things turn ugly, he seeks the help of his old friend, and now powerful gangster, Paddy.

I found myself particularly interested in Dan Knight’s seventeen-year-old world of thievery. The introduction of Robert, his sister, Lauren and the envelopes stuffed with cash added an element of mystery that I would have liked expanded on to better understand the main character’s motivation and development. Betty Davis’ stolen jewels are the height of excitement in this novel and this is when the largest wrench is thrown into the story, a wrench that will later come to haunt Dan Knight. Unfortunately, the actually heist is glossed over and rather than feeling caught in these intense moments, we are catapulted to a Dan Knight ten years in the future.

This twenty-seven year old Dan Knight enters the world of advertising, with no experience. He quickly climbs the ranks to success and finds himself romancing and juggling two beautiful women. His world couldn’t be more perfect until Robert reappears from his past and threatens to alter his life completely. Except that he doesn’t. Robert is too easily dispatched by the re-introduction of the mobster Paddy and what could have been the apex of the story fizzles within seven pages.

Paddy is an intriguing character who rises from neighborhood thug to powerful mobster. Dan Knight’s friendship with such a powerful and violent figure could have been developed more to reflect something about Dan himself. Paddy appears when needed and acts as a plot device to extricate the main character from difficult situations. He could have been scratched altogether to enable Dan Knight to face his own difficulties and to subsequently evolve.

This story is told from the main character’s point of view and although that would typically allow the reader to delve into the character’s psyche and think about him later, long after the book has been read, I finished the novel knowing only superficial details about Dan Knight. These details were told by the author, rather than shown. Dan is resourceful, handsome, bright, a cad and an opportunist. Nothing seems to endear him to me despite struggling to find something to hold on to. The problem lies within the fact that this story reads like a grocery list. This happens then this and then this. The author explores every superficial detail from how Dan Knight is dressed to what he eats and drinks but he never lives off the page. Dialogue is intended to advance the story and flesh out the characters while providing a break from straight exposition but the dialogue in Dan Knight’s Journey pulled me out of the story as it was stilted, often repetitive and unrealistic.

There are gold nuggets within this story but too much time is spent on minutia or Dan’s sexual and often clichéd conquests rather than on the stuff of intrigue, suspense and character development. Authors often get their characters up a tree and throw rocks at them to see how they react. Dan Knight is thrown a pebble or two and is lobbed one or two rocks. He never carries the theft with him into his advertising career and his attempt at juggling women is never threatened or exposed. Loose threads hang in this story but they are never weaved in tightly enough to give a satisfactory flow. The ending of this novel, although intended to be a twist isn’t much of anything because the story has long since fallen flat.

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