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By M. Maitland DeLand, MD
Deland Media Group
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
If it seems sometimes that I've been feeling worn down lately by the books I've recently been reviewing here, it's because I am -- ever since the new year started, my reading diet has almost exclusively consisted of vanity projects from basement presses by middle-class dilettantes who have an extra couple thousand dollars to hire a publicist specifically to send the book to people like me (i.e. litbloggers with an open promise to review any book that gets sent to them), and books sent under such circumstances almost never turn out to be more than mediocre at best, unreadable at worst. Take Dr. M. Maitland DeLand's Nashville Mercy for a good example, an utterly by-the-numbers crime novel that leans heavily on DeLand's actual medical background for most of its setting and plot; for while it's not actively terrible, it's also not even the tiniest bit better than some random B-grade episode of some random B-grade television show on some random B-grade basic cable channel (the important difference being that the latter only eats up an hour of my life, while the former consumes two entire days), less a polished novel and more a collection of obvious cliches that kept getting strung together until they reached 268 pages. Every time I read a book like this, my soul dies a little, precisely because such books are not out-and-out horrible and it's not like you can actively pan them; it's instead that they're so totally and pleasantly unnecessary, the literary equivalent of unconsciously scarfing down a bag of high-fructose, empty-calorie junk food while surfing Facebook without even thinking about what you're doing, then suddenly becoming aware of your behavior and being overwhelmed with existential nausea for the utterly disposable nature of the world around us, for the hollow clock-watching pleasure these little trifles give us. I know, a heavy reaction for some poor part-time author who just wanted to write a simple little Nancy Grace crime thriller, but this is what happens when you read too many books like these in a row.
Out of 10: 7.0