Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review: The Ballad of a Small Player

The Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne
Suspense Fiction

My Rating for The Ballad of a Small Player: 2.5 Stars

As the lights of Macau come alive, Doyle-‘Lord Doyle’ to his cronies- descends into a casino to see if lady luck is with him. A lawyer who escaped prosecution, he fled to the East and found a place to call home in Macau while spending his nights gambling, drinking and his days trying to shake off the night before’s excess all the while trying to stay one step ahead of his past. Doyle’s fortunes rise and fall all on the whim of Lady Luck and when he meets Dao-Ming, he thinks he finds a soul mate as she gambles alongside him in various casinos. But as Doyle tries to find love amid the garish lights, he finds that all is not as it seems.

This was the first book by author Lawrence Osborne that I have read and I have to admit I am on the fence on his latest book, THE BALLAD OF A SMALL PLAYER. The setting is gorgeous and lush. The exotic world of the Far East and Macau resonate throughout the book. The author does a great job in capturing the lure and the appeal of high stakes gambling within the pages and the addictive power it can have over some people. What didn’t work for me were the characters, specifically Doyle. This main character felt unfinished in a sense that the author didn’t know which way to go with him. At times he was quite confusing to figure out and other times, he was so one dimensional it felt like the character didn’t have any personality at all. I felt disconnected to the characters and really didn’t care for them at all. Doyle was boring, repetitive and felt very unfinished as a character. There wasn’t much for me, as a reader, to care about in regards to him. The secondary characters were just blips in the story. They didn’t do much to the story in full and felt like fillers to me.

was at times confusing, intriguing and yet a book I kept putting down to go read something else. It just did not grab my imagination though I have to admit; the author’s descriptions of Macau and the Far East were quite intriguing. It just wasn’t enough to hold my attention till the very end. Add in some ghostly parts and you get a mashed up story that felt like the author was unsure which way to go with it. Overall, THE BALLAD OF A SMALL PLAYER will resonate with some readers and not with others. If you enjoy a mashed up genre of a book where the main character is not as likable as you would think, then you just might enjoy this latest book by Lawrence Osborne.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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About the Author

Lawrence Osborne is the author of one previous novel, Ania Malina, and six books of nonfiction, including the memoirBangkok Days. His journalism and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker,NewsweekForbesTin HouseHarper’sConde Nast Traveler, and many other publications. Osborne has led a nomadic life, residing for years in France, Italy, Morocco, the United States, Mexico, and Thailand. He currently lives in Istanbul.

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