Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Flat and Fine: 2 Novels by Popular Authors Contrasted


Kimber: Jackpot! It’s a beautiful July day. The sun is shining. The sky is a perfect bowl of blue. The neighbor’s cat is visiting relatives elsewhere. And  Her Grumpiness  is only half as grumpy as usual.

What a deal!

Speaking of “deals,” I’ve got a two-fer for you today. Sort of. One’s a  “repeat surprise.” I’ll let Her Grumpiness tell us about that in a min. So kindly keep your shirt on, okay? The other is a Second Sigh. As in, we loved the author’s first book but this second one is a stinker. Which is why Her Grumpiness is only half as grumpy as…

Well, wait. Here she is now. Mom, is that the second or third bowl of cookies ’n cream ice cream? “Mind your own beeswax;” Mom chirps.

So I’ll let her fill you in on these two books:


By Wm. Paul Young

Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2015

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Inspirational

Pages: 382 (large print)

Picked this one up at the library the other day on the strength of a previous title, The Shack, which we loved. Loved! LOVED! Eve is by the same author. Maybe that’s why Eve is so disappointing.

“I just couldn’t get into Eve,” spake Her Momness. “It has its moments. But it’s so obtuse, dense, and meandering at times, it’s like trying to navigate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. And the bread.”

Billed As

Eve is billed as “a bold exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship – yet with discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we’re made.”


Seriously? Are we talking about the same book? Cuz the Eve Mom read was pretty thin soup . Meandering. Disjointed. Random-ish. Even worse, it’s as dull as a blunt spoon. In the end, Eve is about as “bold” as a bowl of vanilla pudding. After 200+ pages, we just gave up. It falls flat. As in, kindly pass the No Doze. Zzzzzzz…

A Time for Mercy

By John Grisham

Published by Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, 2020

Genre: Fiction/Courtroom Drama

Pages: 464

Ever grab a book, dove in, and thought, “This sounds familiar. Have I already read this?”

That’s what Mom did with this John Grisham book. Sure ‘nuf, a coupla pages in, Mom had a Light Bulb Moment. “I have read this before! But Grisham writes such intriguing, compelling stories, with so many unexpected plot twists, he had me hooked from chapter 1!”


So Mom read A Time for Mercy all over again. You know. Like “seconds.” It’s that good.

Even though this legal thriller tips the scales at 464 pages, “it doesn’t feel that long” explains Mom. “That’s cuz Grisham keeps the action moving, the tension building, the storyline taut, and the characters robust. The legal maneuvering and courtroom drama are also top-notch. “

Well, hey. It’s Grisham. So whaddya expect?

Basic Plot:

It’s 1990. Sixteen year-old Drew Gamble is accused of murdering a local deputy in Clanton, Mississippi. The court appoints young Jake Brigance (Hello, A Time to Kill) to defend the boy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty. But Brigance digs in and soon discovers there’s more to the story than meets the eyes.

Jake puts his career, his finances, his house, and his family’s safety on the line when he launches a desperate but fierce battle to save Drew from the gas chamber. Can he?

Finely crafted and perfectly paced, A Time for Mercy is a riveting read from start to finish. Another winner.

Have you ever been disappointed in a subsequent book by a favorite author, after loving a prior work?

2 thoughts on “Flat and Fine: 2 Novels by Popular Authors Contrasted

  1. I have read a book quite a few times and then realized I’ve read it before!

    • Funny how that happens. 😊 Sometimes I continue after realizing I’ve read it before, sometimes I don’t. But this Grisham book was quick and engaging.

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