The Courtroom Massacre by Mark Porto
In the movie Funny Farm, Andy Farmer quits his job as a sports writer so he and his school teacher wife, Elizabeth can move to the small town of Redbud, Vermont. They buy a picturesque little farm where Andy plans to pursue his dream of writing a novel. Shortly after they move to Redbud, the Farmers celebrate their wedding anniversary; Andy takes Elizabeth into town for dinner and surprises her with a plan to stay overnight at the local motel. He also surprises Elizabeth with his anniversary gift to her -- the first few chapters of his novel in progress. He goes out to buy some champagne while Elizabeth starts reading the novel; Andy is impatient to have her immediate reaction to the book he has poured his heart, soul, and creativity into. When he returns he finds Elizabeth speechless. She tells him she could not follow the plot of the book; Andy wants her to tell him how he can fix it. Elizabeth's reply is, "Burn it." That is exactly what someone should have advised Mark Porto to do with The Courtroom Massacre. Don't even hesitate for a moment; just burn it.
I do not say this lightly. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who manages to write a book. I know it's difficult because I've tried, and I'm terrible at it. I'm much better at reading than trying to tell a story in book form. Which is why I feel it necessary to review this book so harshly. I read roughly 100 books a year, and that's on a slow year. I've been reading since I'm 5 years old. That's lots and lots of books read and for the most part enjoyed. This book, The Courtroom Massacre is the poorest excuse for a book I've ever read. Yes, ever. It had no sense of sentence structure; it was full of sentence fragments, and there was no rhyme or reason to chapter separations. The story was told in whatever verb tense the writer felt like using at the moment. We start out in present tense, and then we jump around to past tense or whatever tense the flip of the coin chose. There was no adherence to correct pronoun use. One sentence may refer to someone as "him", the next sentence referred to the same person as "her". There is no continuity to the plot; in fact the whole premise of the plot was absurd. The hero, Johnny, interrupts an armed robbery in his parent's convenience store. He shoots and kills at least one of the bandits. It is a clear matter of self-defense. And then, for no apparent reason Johnny is arrested for murder. There is some outlandish reasoning why this happens, and the rest of the book tries to show the reasons for it. It is so convoluted I gave up all attempts at understanding what or why anything was happening.
I received a free copy of this book at NetGalley in return for an honest review. I cannot be more honest than: do not waste your money or your time on this book. If GoodReads allowed no stars for reviews, I would argue for the option of minus stars for this mess. I did finish the book, but it became more of an endurance test than an enjoyable reading experience. In fact, I consider this book an insult to people like me who love to read.