The Customer Is Always...

The Customer Is Always... - Stuart Keane If it wasn't for all the buzz and the positive reviews for this novella I wouldn't have picked it up. The uninspired title and generic cover would have kept me away. I truly need to learn to listen to my gut. Don't get me wrong, the cover fits the book perfectly. Generic and uninspired is exactly what THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS... delivers. That, and unedited material. Now, just to make sure no one cries foul and claims I downed an entire gallon of Hater-ade this morning, I'm gonna explain myself. Settle in, because we're going to be here for a while.

Shall we start with word repetition? I believe we must, because that was the first warning sign that I had stumbled upon something which I should have skirted like the plague. Everyone in this book either "stood next" to someone or was "standing". "Stood" is used 15 times in this 68 page novella, and "standing" is used 8 times. Usually these two words are followed by the word "next". "Started" is used 15 times, and usually accompanies funny little sentences like, "She started walking across the floor." You know, as opposed to walking across the ceiling, or the wall, or the face of the moon. But the biggest culprit here is the word "felt" with an impressive showing of 36 times. And no, I didn't bother searching for "feeling" because I feared my head might cave in.

Then you have redundancies scattered throughout. There are simply too many to mention, but here's an example:

" "Fair enough, I understand." Vincent agreed with the statement." The dialogue is good enough. That dialogue tag is redundant.

Or peaches like this: "Vincent saw their body language physically change at the sheer audacity of the demand." "Body language" denotes "physically", but I think I'm preaching to the choir at this point.

There's little to no description in this novella. Mostly we're simply told things like, "A blond man was standing there, looking out of place." How did he look out of place? Was he doing a bit of Batman cosplay? Was he wearing red on Blue Friday? Did he have his finger up his bum when everyone else was clearly picking their nose? Gimme something to work with here, please. Oh, and I like this one, too: "Sarah smiled and leaned down to look at her watch." Was her watch on her ankle? Why's she leaning down? Are you fucking with me, Author Man?

Random funny sentence time!

"Her hand moved to her left butt cheek, remembering where the tattoo was." Did her hand remember, or was it the butt cheek reminiscing?

"She witnessed him smash her phone before her eyes." You don't say? I thought maybe she heard it, or perhaps "felt" it.

"Vincent's world spiraled. Time stood still, images became a blurred mess." But... but... time stood still... Do things keep going when time stands still, because if they do there's nothing still about it.

" "I'm sorry, Mr. Pierce." Vincent said the truth." Fucking really? You wrote that?

"The move looked more dramatic than it should have done." Now you're just being lazy.

"He remembered CSI and shows like that, where a background noise could identify a location. He always found it fascinating that such technology existed." What technology? Hearing? Because hearing has been around for a long time. Seriously, like since the dawn of man. Perhaps even before then, because rumor has it that animals hear shit, too.

Now, this next bit is hard to explain because the way it is written is confusing. A character is on the phone when he hears a gunshot. The line goes dead and he hears it again. So does everyone around him. It's the same gunshot, but for some odd reason it came through the PHONE first. Also, the author explains how the gunshot comes from inside the building, hence the reason everyone heard it, but later he says the gunshot happened out on the street. I fully understand that a gunshot can be heard from outside, but that's not what you said, Mr. Author Man.

One final question: Do cops in the UK always shoot suspects who have given up? The guy closed his eyes and held his gun aloft, as in up above his head, and the officers still upped his iron count. Remind me to stay the fuck out of England. Sounds too much like America.

In summation: Editors are lovely people. Stuart Keane should get to know one.