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Review: The Art of the Deal by B. A. Stretke

The Art of the Deal - B.A. Stretke

I wanted to like this so much more than I did and I can't tell you how disappointed I am that I have to say that, especially since I was convinced it was going to be my new favorite novel. Written in a way that's the perfect example of tell not show, I couldn't help but feel from the start that the author had a good idea but just didn’t know how to execute it. At least, he didn’t know how to execute it in a way that wasn’t, literally, flat out summarization.

I’m not even kidding about that: the entire novel was one big summarization with an occasional break for “real time” events to play out. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun summarization but it was still a summarization that left me disconnected from the characters and disappointed that I didn’t get to ‘see’ more of the things the author described. Incredibly dissatisfying, to say the least.

As for the characters, they left me somewhat frustrated, if only because I never felt like I really got to know them. Sean, who I was convinced I was going to be cheering on, started out strong only to seemingly turn into a doormat. He was constantly railroaded by Coleman and seemed just as disconnected as I was. Coleman, in turn, just seemed like an arrogant jerk (with an absurd amount of power and sphere of influence which was incredibly unrealistic) that needed to be brought down several huge pegs – I actually thought that’s exactly what Sean would do for him, bring him down and humanize him, but instead he just got run over in the whirlwind that was Coleman West.

Another thing I wanted to touch on was this: how ridiculous some scenarios were. A good example of this was the rivalry between Brittany and Sean that eventually culminated in Brittany’s brother, Adam, jumping Sean and beating the hell out of him. Not only was it ridiculous, but Coleman’s reaction to it (which was to go track down Adam and beat the hell out of him) was just too much for me and made me wonder what the hell the author was thinking. 

Coleman ‘s a lawyer, for god’s sake! He’s not going to go put the beat down on someone – he’s going to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and very probably ruin their life in the process. C’mon! 

Anyway, though, I don’t want to make it seem like I didn’t enjoy this novel at all. It really was a great premise – kudos to the author for that (I’m a fan of ‘Suits’ so, you know, yay lawyers!) – and there were some really good chestnuts hidden within the story. I just wish the author would have taken more time to develop it – maybe with a good editor who wouldn’t be shy to say ‘no, that doesn’t work; no one actually talks like that.’* Overall, a good read that could have been better. 

*Some of the (limited) dialog was just bizarre and stilted at times. No fist bump for you, B.A. Stretke: 


no fist bump