The Thirteenth Unicorn (Ben Alderman, #1)

The Thirteenth Unicorn - W.D. Newman Initial thoughts: I'm going to meditate on my rating for this book before I put up a full review, but I have to say that I struggled quite a bit with "Promise Me Eternity", and while the novel did start picking up in the latter parts when the mystery/crime elements started falling into place, I couldn't get past some of the more glaring faults the book had with respect to its characterization, pacing, among other structure elements that I think a more thorough editing process would've alleviated to a degree.Full review:I humbly accepted a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review."Promise Me Eternity" is a novel that seemed to have all the right pieces in place to make an interesting story. When I picked it up and noted its respective genres, I'll admit I came into it willing to see what it had to offer. But there is a distinct difference between having all the required pieces and intriguing starting points versus being able to mold them in a masterful way where the observer is captivated by the action and players in front of them. To expound upon the premise a bit: the central plot revolves around a crime committed where Dr. Simon Patterson is accused of murder and having to deal with proving his innocence among a host of other character interactions that are portrayed alongside his story. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to follow.The biggest problem I had with "Promise Me Eternity" was that none of the players in this crime/mystery/suspense ever engaged me. Considering the book has such a large cast of characters to watch unfold, that's a problem. Being able to identify with any character, however flawed they may be, is difficult when there's a disconnect between their interactions, voices, ambitions and the reader. The dialogue felt static, choppy, and unrealistic. Pretty much every female character that was portrayed in the novel either seemed abrasive, passive, or just bland in their overall personalities. The male characters weren't much better, as you have your typical mob boss and assistant crafted within a bit of a cookie cutter stereotype, a doctor who seems to hate his job but was engaged in his own personal pursuits (which felt a bit at arms length and vague), among other players. Plus, there was no real character growth or development. I feel like there was a lot of telling of the situations and an overfocus on details that weren't essential to the overall plot. I think if Fox had tightened up the narrative to the most important plot points, fleshed out the characters, and perhaps kept the narrative to one or two central perspectives instead of the larger cast, it may have made for a more interesting novel. Granted, the intended mystery itself was sound in some respects, but the path getting there was difficult.As much as I would've liked to have enjoyed "Promise Me Eternity", I couldn't on behalf of the issues that I saw with it.Overall score: 1/5