Ms. Doanes does a respectable job with her first attempt at fiction. She provides a couple of aha moments near the end of the book about the old man and the suitcase which propels you to an almost perfect ending. In general, I found the overall premise of The Man With the Green Suitcase, and the characters Ms. Doanes develops, interesting enough to keep me reading until I finished it
What irked me straight away was that the entire book was written in present tense. As a reader and writer of fiction, I expect a special rhythm with the story that present tense may be able to provide, but the writer must be good enough to carry it off. Actually the writer must REALLY, REALLY GOOD, to carry it off. Unfortunately, the entire book read like a screen play, and there are a couple of moments when Ms. Doanes slips from present to past and then back to present tense again. There is a section of the book where the reader gets a present tense, happening now, view of Gerald and Tony speaking with Valerie on the phone and while Ms. Doanes does a respectable job of head hopping, I felt as if I was viewing an old Doris Day, Rock Hudson movie where the producer splits the screen so I can witness both aspects of the scene
Maybe that’s exactly what Ms. Doanes wants the reader to see, but this kind of writing always manages to put me off. The dialogue, although written very well was stuffy and formal and Ms. Doanes spent far too much time telling the story with analogies such as: hearts thundering like wild horses galloping across a plain, and crying rivers.
To her credit it is always difficult to show your story instead of tell it, and when you pick present tense as your vehicle for the entire story it sometimes becomes next to impossible
In closing I hope Ms. Doanes continues to write and improve her skills. I for one hope to see another of her stories soon, and when I do I will purchase the book and read it.
Keep writing Dee !