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Wasted Resource by Steven Preece

Title: Wasted Resource
Steven Preece
First Published:
April 2011
No. of Pages:

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis (back of book):
Four former soldiers, who are brought together by fate, realise their military skills have become a wasted resource. They form as a team, utilising their specialist skills to steal a vast sum of money, previously recovered by the police and guarded by the RAF Regiment. The task is initially deemed impossible, but a stroke of luck changes this.
Two illegal immigrants on the run from their own country, enter the UK via the Channel Tunnel. They plan the same heist without knowledge of the other team, carrying out a raid on one of two heavily guarded security vans.

The money is stolen, leaving one group empty handed and pursuing the other; resulting in kidnapping, torture and death. Eventually, the captors are led to a hidden weapons cache in Northern Ireland, where the money is stashed.

Newly promoted, Detective Sergeant Dave Watson is assigned by the police as lead investigator and highlights the likelihood that the robbers have military skills and backgrounds. CCTV film footage is acquired from the channel tunnel and motorway cameras and is scrutinized, identifying the team and also two Kurds as known hardened criminals.

Meanwhile, M.I.6 express an interest in recruiting the former soldiers, wanting to setup a covert operations group and cover up their part in the robbery. However, changed plans alter this course and the team are double-crossed, leaving them to attempt to getaway!

When reading a self-published novel, I often try to overlook the spelling and grammatical errors that crop up, but in my heart of hearts I just wish all writers would employ a professional proofreader to get rid of the worst of them – perhaps then self-published authors wouldn’t get so much of a bad rep. There are errors of this kind in Wasted Resource but not as many as I’ve seen in others.

However, there are other problems here that might have been solved with a good editor.

I continually felt that the air was rather condescending. An author should always assume their readers have a modicum of intelligence and so do not need constant reminders of the meanings of certain words and expressions, especially if their meaning is already made clear by the context, and if explanation is required, then the author should include a glossary or footnote, rather than continually disturbing the flow of the plot. It should also be assumed that once the reader has been told something once, they will remember it themselves and do not need to be reminded every time that word or phrase crops up. The most constant example of this was that every time “Physical Training Instructor” cropped up, it was followed by “PTI” in brackets – and vice versa! There was also continual use of marine terms followed by “a marine term for…” in brackets. I found this incredibly annoying as it not only insulted my intelligence, but interrupted the flow considerably.

The story is sound enough, if a little implausible at times, with useful items suddenly appearing with no prior mention. However, if you read the blurb on the back of the book, you don’t really need to read the actual novel as almost the entire plot is given away, meaning there is little in the way of surprise as you read.

I wanted to enjoy this a lot more than I did, as I love both military and crime drama and I expected a little more from this given that it is written by an ex-marine. The basics are there, they just need a little polishing. This being a debut, perhaps Preece’s next offering will improve on this.

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