Auntie Hook by John Arthur. Book review

Auntie Hook by John Arthur, Jasper Wensleydale, P/B, 212pp

Reviewed by Steve Dean

I can find no mention of the publisher, but I’m assuming it’s vanity published. Neither can I find a price, it’s not mentioned on the author’s website. Neither of these is a problem, as I think most of the people who are going to buy the book already have.

Anyway, to the story. Geoffrey Preach is a middle-aged ex hippy, who goes to visit his old stamping ground and meets an old neighbour, the eponymous Auntie Hook. He’s invited inside, and during the visit a man appears in a hot air balloon, landing in Auntie Hook’s garden. Geoffrey and the rest get in the balloon, and go for a ride, crossing realities to another world, much to Geoffrey’s surprise. This other reality is in something of a turmoil, naturally, and Geoffrey et al stick their noses… I mean help out as best they can.

The writing itself is competent enough, the author knows how to spell and where to put the tadpoles, it has proper paragraphs and chapter breaks and everything. But the story itself is a bit wandering, a pedestrian meander through the alternate reality with little variation in pace. The characters are also a little two dimensional, unoriginal and a bit samey. The plot is very shallow, and to be honest, quite dull, nothing original to speak of.

Apart from the above, the biggest problem with this book is a complete lack of warmth or passion. There’s no pacing, no identification with the characters, this is a complete cold fish of a book. Grammar and spelling can be taught of course, but storytelling can’t, and this book demonstrates that perfectly.

In summary, a bland, unoriginal story, pace-less and stone cold.