Isabel at Midnight @ Joe Bob Briggs

Isabel at Midnight by Ken Knight offers a fascinating world of organized crime, white supremacists, and “psycho-kink.” The novel centers on Isabel Marcano, a scion of a Virginia-based Mafia family. She suffers from helios-porphyria, meaning she would get serious burns if she exposed her skin to sunlight. With this ailment, Isabel worked various night shift jobs. The novel opens with Isabel winning a wrongful termination suit thanks to the work of an arrogant lawyer named Diego Tanner.

Knight throws in a few more characters. Isabel’s friend Danielle Kenyon, a successful escort, has a hidden agenda. There is the corrupt cop Richard Corry and the white supremacist Duncan Horsehair. Isabel visits her therapist following her contact with a couple armed robbers. The therapist discusses the concept of “psycho-kink” with Isabel, inadvertently giving her inspiration to act in daring and dangerous ways. Meanwhile, Duncan Horsehair begins a vicious race war that leaves both the Virginia police and the FBI helpless.

The story is compelling but Knight botches the execution. Riddled with formatting and grammatical errors, it takes serious effort to get through the novel. Every error acts like a pothole that runs against a smooth reading. The factor that annoyed me the most was that most of these errors could have been spotted with a thorough proofreading. In the end, it reads like a first draft. Not even Knight’s compelling characters can save the error-filled novel. Just because this is a self-published work does not mean one should unleash such shoddy work on unsuspecting readers. The worst part is that Knight, in not proofreading his work, further underlines the stereotype that all self-published writers are amateurs who turn out sub-par work.

If one is interested in the potential of books by self-published authors, then one should head over to the Chicago Institute of Literature and Photography (www.cclapcenter.com).** Isabel at Midnight is not good writing. Caveat emptor.

1 star
Publisher: 1st Books
Date of Publication: 2002
Price: None listed.
ISBN Number: 1-4033-5353-7

**CCLaP is defunct. It’s a dead link.

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