Review #19: While the Savage Sleeps by Andrew Kaufman
I decided to get this book after reading The Lion, The Lamb, and The Hunted, by the same author and enjoying it quite a bit. This book is also listed as:
#1 Bestseller, While the Savage Sleeps, Tops SEVEN of Amazon’s Top-Rated Lists:
#1 Occult Horror
#1 Mystery and Thrillers
#1 Suspense Thrillers
#4 Overall Genre fiction
How could I not be excited and willing to read this? Totally up my alley I figured. OH MY WORD. This book was so bad that I could not even finish it. I was 75% the way through on my Kindle after nearly 5 days, and I just could.not.do.it.anymore. I decided to stop, and maybe I’ll go back to it, but truthfully I believe I have read enough to write a review.
There are two apparent protagonists in this novel: Cameron is the deputy sheriff of Faith, New Mexico, a small town with zero crime rate. Seemingly out of nowhere there are four separate, brutal, yet seemingly unrelated murders. Oddly, the only thing that seems to connect any of them is that two of the suspects (kids, nevertheless) had flu symptoms. The second is Kyle, a doctor with some psychic abilities. She lives several hundred miles away, and keeps having disturbing and vivid dreams of a dead young child asking for her help.
The parts of the novel set in Faith are not awful. In fact, the mystery was fairly interesting until the writing fell apart with awful dialogue, hokey situations (such as reporters getting to a murder scene before any cops showed up), and terrible investigating by Cameron and his team. Almost three-quarters the way through and there are only more bodies piling up with minimal movement towards a climax. On the flipside, the parts involving Kyle were simply insipid and ineptly written. I personally despise dream sequences in books and movies (unless very briefly and strategically used). Here, however, they are used in the worst way possible. Kyle keeps having the same dream (or waking experience) over and over, with each chapter adding just a TINY bit more detail to why this child is appearing to her.
Beyond this, Kyle has no personality and no characterization. She is a boring, blank slate that the author is using to push this outside storyline. When I stopped the book (again 75% of the way through) Kyle had just figured out who the girl in the dream is and is on her way to the town of Faith. Three pages were spent on a phone conversation with her brother, where he wanted to go with her, she said no, he told her to be careful, and she said okay. THREE PAGES. It was at this point that I had to give up. Kyle’s storyline was about to be totally shoehorned into Cameron’s investigation and quite frankly I was not interested. If these two storylines had been weaved together earlier on then I could have kept going, but as of right now that simply wasn’t going to happen.
Essentially, I learned my lesson. Bestselling does not equal quality. This book is simply not good. Do not be roped into the bestseller schtick.