Daniel Hayes
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Buy *Tearjerker* online


Daniel Hayes
Graywolf Press
184 pages
October 2004
rated 2 of 5 possible stars
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If this book, the author's second, is shooting for "darkly humorous" (as the back cover panel indicates), it comes up as a little more "greyishly monotonous." Based on the premise of a would-be writer, caught in what seems to be an infinite state of self-imposed writer's block, who kidnaps a famous book editor, locks him in his makeshift cellar/dungeon, and then ostensibly plans to write about the experience, Tearjerker, at first blush, would seem to offer some real potential for emotional and plot development.

But the kidnapping takes place, Robert Partnow is stowed in Evan Ulmer's basement, and the chapters march on. It is neither macabre nor suspenseful, neither hellish nor harrowing. The pair become, well, friends, and ultimately the caged man is freed.

And without reading the last quarter of the book, you know what happens - Partnow writes a novel about his experiences, finds the fame Ulmer so desperately wanted, and Even returns to his life.

Author Daniel Hayes has made a valiant attempt with his second book. But somewhere between the head and the hand, his vision was muted. Not without ability, the opening paragraph of the book contains the line, "Mine was a Magnum .357 purchased in Nw Jersey, much more handsome than I'd imagined a gun could be." The image of a gun as handsome is new and fresh and promising; unfortunately, the remainder of the book contains too few of these conditions.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2005

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