Book Review: High Striker by G.T. Rigdon
Author’s summary: In 2018, Dr. Amos Konklin, a renowned neurosurgeon dubbed “Doctor Golden Hands,” is arrested for a grisly double-homicide at the Old Wilderness Campground. During a mesmerizing interview with reporter Peter Wild, Dr. Konklin reveals a shocking secret. For decades he’s wrapped those golden hands around a twelve pound sledge-hammer, his instrument of choice in numerous executions. As the reporter probes deeper, he is led into a world where a brain surgeon who spent his childhood running the “High Striker” carnival sideshow game is connected to Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, The Bible, and tormenting visions. High Striker is an unparalleled Old Testament/Carnivale thriller whose central character could be described as a God-obsessed fusion of Hannibal Lecter, Dexter Morgan, and a carny. It’s a remarkable journey through time and place and dares to confront the challenging question: What is the line that separates good and evil, coincidence and providence, delusion and reality?
- Book cover – 5 points – vivid and all-encompassing of the themes in the book
- Cohesive storyline – 2 points – The book doesn’t unfold as outlined in the author’s summary. The last part of the book betrays the beginning parts of the book in that the beginning chapters spend far too much time telling a story about people and events that have little to do with the reasons Amos Konklin becomes a surgeon or a serial killer.
- Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation (SGP) – 3 points – There were some misspelled words, misuse of words, missing punctuation, and missing words, but they weren’t so overwhelming as to detract from the flow of the content. As far as SGP goes, the book would benefit from a quick edit.
- Character development – 3 points – Based on the author’s summary, the characters aren’t developed in a way that seems to have been intended by the author. As mentioned before, the author also spends a great deal of time developing characters that aren’t necessarily integral to what his end goal seems to be, and I’m basing this on the summary also.
- Credibility – 5 points – The book is believable even in its hard-to-believe places when you look at the incredible parts as just a particular character’s perspective.
OVERALL: First, let me say that I enjoyed the book, and I enjoyed it in spite of the constructive criticism I have for the book. I liked the unique nature of attempting to center the book around a carnival sideshow, because other ways of approaching the idea of serial killers have been done, re-done and overdone.
Overall, however, the book was not well executed, and it all goes back to the author’s summary. This is important since the first two things we see about most books are the book cover and then the book’s summary, and it’s often the summary that piques our interest and causes us to give the book a try.
The book I read compared to the book the author told me I’d be reading are not the same thing. Had the author written the book as it is laid out in the summary, this would have been a 5-star review. That’s because G.T. Rigdon writes well, and he writes compellingly. Unfortunately, the summary is only about the last five chapters of the book and not the 20 chapters that precede them. The first 20 chapters tell a nice story, but it’s not the story I was expecting based on the summary.
If what’s important to the author is what’s in the summary he provides his readers, then High Striker would be an even better book if some chapters were removed, some content was relocated and some chapters were rearranged. With a bit of shuffling, I could actually see High Striker being made into a movie.