Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer

Book Review: Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer
Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer
Paperback: 305 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606965506
ISBN-13: 978-1606965504

Rating: 2/5
Source: Author Heath Sommer


Book Blurb:
Months after his mysterious disappearance from a routine fishing trip, no one really expects over-the-hill Texas housewife Lory Latchley to find her missing husband - especially her husband. The Manufactured Identity is clinical psychologist Heath Sommer's ever-escalating immersion into the world of unlikely friends who each awaken to find their faithful companions missing without warning or reason. Desperate to find meaning in their pain, they are thrust by the auspices of fate into a common thread of mystery and human frailty. In the end, the fate of all may reside in the unstable hands of rookie pastor John Joe, but ultimately Lory and her new found partners will uncover a truth so unnerving it makes even infidelity look palatable.

My Review:
Not really sure what to make of this book. The synopsis sounded interesting enough, but it was a very confusing read for me. Put this book down several times only to pick it up again, as I was determined to figure out what was going on. This one was a struggle for me to read, and now to review.

We have a prologue with two men in the desert, but I've found that most prologues don't make sense until after you've finished the book, so take them with a grain of salt. The proper story starts off by introducing us to a man who wakes up on a park bench, not sure how he got there and whether or not he's been mugged. Chapter 2 introduces us to Lory Latchley, whose husband has been missing for two weeks. We find out in chapter 3 that the man from chapter 1 is Curtis Rowly. At this point, I'm not sure what Lory and Curtis have to do with one another, but figure that the chapters will alternate between these two and will eventually make sense.

After 5 chapters, we come to Part 2 of 4. What a minute...who's Addy? Who's Ann? John Joe? Pete? So many new characters being introduced, and none of them seem to be related in any way. What happened to Curtis and Lory? Who are all of these new people? Do I need to take notes?

The writing is a little choppy and the story doesn't flow as smoothly as I like. Some of the descriptive passages were a little confusing, and I needed to read them a few times to try and figure out what the author meant. It also felt like some parts were missing or inconsistent. For instance, someone who was referred to as missing is now suddenly dead. When did that happen? Sommer is obviously an intelligent person and knows his stuff, but this book just didn't work for me. All of the bouncing back and forth between the large cast of characters kept throwing me, as I had to go back and reread parts to remind myself who was who.

Maybe I simply wasn't the right reviewer for this book, as it was a struggle that left me unsatisfied when finally finished. Other reviewers have sung the book's praises and raved about it, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Gave it a 2/5 rating as while I finished it, I didn't really enjoy it. Sorry.

About the Author:
Doctor Heath Sommer earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Idaho State University and holds an additional degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. A native of Sacramento, California, he has enjoyed many opportunities for public speaking and regularly conducts workshops/gives lectures on psychologically related as well as theologically related domains. In addition to his literary interests, Dr. Sommer specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma, anxiety, and marriage, family, and child development. The success of his breakout suspense novel, The Manufactured Identity, has lead to the publication of two more novels in The Manufactured Identity Series, The Grand Delusion, and The Human Obsession due for release in 2010.


15 comments:

  1. I almost accepted this book for review but didn't think I had the time to do it, now I'm really glad I didn't. Thank you for your honest review.

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  2. I've ran into this also where most everyone just raves about a book but I can't figure out why after I've read it also. It happens to us all, thank goodness for book reviews. :)

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  3. Sometimes it just doesn't work for us. It happens. Thanks for being honest.

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  4. The synopsis does sound interesting...

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  5. Thank you for the honest review. I always appreciate the reality of a reviewers emotional response. :-)

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  6. Just like the reviewer when I started reading this book I did some chapter jumping. I found that the story did not flow and I was lost so I decided to start from the beginning. This book made so much more sense when I read it in the order that the author intended. Some things I learned about this book while reading is that you should not book jump, or put it down. I have found that if you do then it is like watching every 5th episode of Lost or just watch the ending of The 6th Sense. It does not work. You lose all the happened in the middle that is vitally important to the development of the story. Reading it as it was meant to be read made it possible to follow the character progression and the keep track of the facts. You know who Addy, Ann, John Joe and Pete are and you understand how their characters are connected. I ended up really liking this book and I am excited for Sommer's next two book to come out this year. It was well worth the time and money that I spent. I give this book 5 stars.

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  7. Hanna - Thank you for your comments. Sorry if I gave the impression that I book jumped, but I did read the chapters in the intended order. Was simply too choppy for my tastes, and the large cast of characters was hard for me to keep track of. Strictly my opinion of course, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

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  8. What can you do? They're not all winners. Good for you for finishing! :-)

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  9. Thanks for the review! I think I am going to pass on this book for now. I have so many others to get to that I just am running out of time. This was a very nicely done review.

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  10. Thanks for being honest! It sounds...complicated. (It's hard when too many characters get introduced, when you're still trying to figure out what's going on!)

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  11. kudos for picking the book up again.... not sure if I could have done it. :)

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  12. Thanks for reviewing this book. I would have a difficult time following something that jumped around so much. I admire you for sticking with it. However, I have had to teach my students that sometimes it is okay to abandon a book. Yes this is coming from the person who has abandoned exactly one book in her life.

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  14. Thanks for the honest review! I have found that books by doctors tend to be over-complicated or over-simplified. Not everyone can write!

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