Wayne Williams,
Mystery of the Golden Table
(Protea, 2000)

Protea Publishing is what is known colloquially as a "vanity press," a place where authors of books can pay to get their books published. I've reviewed several other vanity press books here, and I think it's safe to say that most (though probably not all) of them have serious quality problems.

Mystery of the Golden Table is not an exception. The plot is barely existent and has little point, which does not help one overlook the mediocre writing skills of the author. It seems to have been intended as inspirational, although exactly what it's meant to inspire seems no more concrete than nebulous good vibes with a vaguely Christian bent. Since the thing that best inspires readable novels is the author's desire to tell a story, not communicate a Message, these books usually fail to either entertain or inspire. It's set in Jamaica, but evokes nothing of the setting. The people have no discernable personalities. The basic sentence structures and punctuation are poorly done and hard to read.

This book reads like a rough draft -- a very rough draft -- of something that might become a novel with enough additional work and skill. As it now stands, I can think of no reason why anyone would enjoy this book.

[ by Amanda Fisher ]