My Friends are Dead People by Tony J. Ortiz

I did not want to read past page 19 of this 184 page book. Finishing all of those 184 pages was an exercise in perseverance that yielded nothing but disappointment.

The synopsis sounded great.

“In a secret world that coexists with our human one, a selected few among the dead are given a second chance at life. But there’s a catch. They must become hideous monsters that can only live one day each year.”

Sadly this book comes nowhere close to living up to this. The writing is sub par, sentence structure is choppy and does not flow and the use of some phrases and basic English vocabulary is awkward at times. Ideas and themes that have potential to be interesting are not fully developed.

Conversations between characters seem forced and stilted. None of the dialogue feels natural.

Right from the start the book just doesn’t make sense. The main character a 13 year old boy named Jesse is at the veterinarians with his mom and a very odd cat. For some reason a group of “renowned vets” are going to come in and evaluate this cat and decide whether to euthanize it or not. No real reason is given for why this cat would warrant this kind of special attention not that it matters because that whole storyline is just kind of dropped before page 20.

Ortiz created some very unusual relationships between his characters but fails to provide any basis for those decidedly odd interactions. The entire book reads like a badly staged school play written by 10 year old boys who haven’t really decided what they want to write about.

The underlying idea could be very intriguing if developed into a well thought out and executed story. There are some great descriptions of things but great descriptions are not enough to make a book worth reading.

I wanted to like this book – it just didn’t happen. With some rewrites and a good editor’s input I’d certainly try it again but as it stands I won’t be reading anymore in this series. 

I was provided a free copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it.

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