Reviewer David W. Menefee: David is a Pulitzer nominated American author, ghost writer, screenwriter, book editor, and film historian. David’s career began as a writer and marketing representative for the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. His books have appeared under various imprints and in a variety of categories, such as biography, travel, historical fiction, mysteries, and romance. Two books by David were named among the 2011 Top 10 Silent Film Books of the Year: Wally: The True Wallace Reid Story, and The Rise and Fall of Lou-Tellegen. His most recent releases include Sweet Memories and the 1950s romance trilogy, Can't Help Falling in Love, Come Away to Paradise, and Catch a Falling Star (with co-author Carol Dunitz). David lives in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Whenever an emerging author releases his or her first novel, inquisitive readers’ ears perk up with interest. We never know who will develop into the next popular, prolific story weaver. People are now watching author Oliver Pearl.
Supposedly based on actual events, The Last Gentle Dentist comes forward from the avalanche of new novels entering the market. The author has high hopes that Suggestive Books can give the book a boost in the market. Whether the book becomes popular or not, the author has achieved a noteworthy debut.
Judging any author by their first novel seems like skating on thin ice because time may prove that the book ultimately fails to reflect the author’s talent or style. Many authors would dearly love to rewrite (or bury) their first published work, depending on how their careers pan out. Their feelings also sometimes colored by reader feedback. What they write about and their wordsmithing have everything to do with the public’s opinion.
Pearl opts to enter the publishing world by delving into the Fifty Shades of Grey milieu with what he describes as “an erotic novel that offers plenty of laughing gas.” Yet, few people were laughing when The Last Gentle Dentist was chosen to be part of the Oscar gift bags and autographed copies were given away to over 200 Hollywood stars, producers, and directors on Feb 22, 2013 in the 85th Oscars gift suite. Pearl’s publicist literally reached for the stars with that promotional coup, and there’s little doubt that a story about a modern-day Casanova wandering the streets of Europe and invading the lives of lovers steeped in drugs and illicit sex will strike home with Hollywood denizens.
Pearl deserves one star for completing the task of writing a book and pushing the project through the myriad hoops required to catapult from PC to publisher. He earns a second star for snagging a well-designed front and back cover. He receives a third star for writing with generally good grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and spelling. He gains a fourth star for constructing the story in well-defined, easy to follow chapters. He wins a fifth star for tailoring a tale that will be appreciated by some readers of his niche.
The Last Gentle Dentist may not appeal to everyone. The author seems to reach too quickly for the worst kind of profanity, which—arguably—may befit the wanton type of characters his protagonist encounters, but which will be a turn off to many. The author sometimes hits yet sometimes misses proper comma use in serial sentences, and he often elaborates into extremely long run on sentences. On the other hand, he has a talent for reaching for extraordinarily expressive words and word phrases. The author’s first person present tense writing style takes some time to grow on you, if you can embrace that trendy style that always makes a book read like a screenplay adapted into a novel:
“I walk into an alley. Thorny with stabled scooters, it leads into the predatory drone of Champs Elysees. Second hour into the night, it is full of strollers, mimes, Eastern European beggars and Middle Eastern thieves moving away and toward the sea like schools of horse mackerel, fished out in numbers by kiosks, restaurants, and street acts. That’s the place to be, the place to flip high the coin of petty anxieties and never catch it again, the place you can choose to leave or avoid, but once caught by the glimpse of its cockeyed smirk will be deprived of your volition and thrown into its heathenish mirth.”
Few writers can control first person present tense writing without veering off into minutia that detail what the main character does and thinks every minute, which also causes a problem with the story’s pacing. You also highly suspect that authors writing in this style might be writing about their life as they wish their life had unfolded, and so they drown the reader in trivial points that mirror their self-fascination.
We sometimes wonder why emerging authors so often reach for gimmicks that are all the rage, such as profanity, gratuitous sex, and odd writing styles. Perhaps they are merely trying to draw attention to themselves with shock values. Yet in most cases—as with Pearl’s—these cheap devices are entirely unnecessary. He has obvious talent, a genuine propensity for imaginative visualization, and a penetrating insight into characterizations.
In conclusion, Oliver Pearl’s The Last Gentle Dentist falls short of being a great book, yet makes for a good first effort. We can expect more from him, and we can probably anticipate that he will gravitate toward more uplifting themes. I suspect that he has in him the aptitude to produce a timeless classic one day.
Follow Here To Purchase The Last Gentle Dentist: Based on actual events