The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

A Crime Not Worth Solving



Rating: ½  out of 4 stars



By Abigail Hernandez

Staff Writer


What promised to be an interesting story of two star-crossed lovers entangled in human trafficking and organized crime, turned out to be an anticlimactic read in Connor Fleming III’s novel What A Difference A Day Makes


Trying to pinpoint where Fleming went wrong with his first novel is difficult. It could be the story that fell flat or simply Fleming’s writing style. The most criminal thing about this book was actually his complete lack of proper grammar. At first readers may be able to overlook a misplaced comma, or a forgotten question mark at the end of a question, but punctuation mark errors occur so often throughout every page it is impossible to pass them off as overlooked mistakes. 


Another constant mistake, though thankfully not as often as the punctuation errors, was the change from past tense to present tense within the same sentence. Even worse was when Fleming would switch pronouns from “they” to “our” within the same sentence and end up including himself in the story. If the basics of writing can’t be followed how are readers supposed to expect his stories will be well written?


Aside from the improperly placed periods, Fleming’s book also lacked dialogue. The book consists of “he said” and “she said’s” throughout. There is not a single page of actual direct dialogue between two characters. In a story supposedly full of unique, colorful characters, dialogue was severely needed to help flesh them out by providing examples of how they interacted with others and show how they differed from other stereotypical mobster characters. Instead, readers are left with blocks of paragraphs that go through entire conversations paraphrased between two stale characters. 


Direct dialogue would’ve also helped Fleming cut some of the excess from his book. It is understandable that as a new writer, eager to illustrate the entire world he has created, Fleming wanted to share all his characters’ unique backgrounds, however giving a history of characters only mentioned once in the novel was unnecessary and irrelevant to the story that already dragged. There isn’t an action in this crime story until halfway into the book, and even then it is all poorly written and ends so soon it takes a re-read to understand what happened, making it a chore to read.


Overall, the problem lies mostly within its plot and characters. One of the worst characters of the entire book was the impossibly perfect main character, Donny O’Mara. O’Mara is well loved by every single person, has an abundant amount of cash to spend without worries, is incredibly smart, and manages to get away with everything with absolutely no consequences–in short, the character is flawless, except that maybe he is such a grandma’s boy. Not only is this impossible to believe, it is also boring to read. 


It’s hard for readers to get into the heart of the action that surrounds the almighty O’Mara who helps a stranger (Anna) escape from being a victim of human trafficking and puts his criminal job at risk by doing so. It initially sounds romantically dangerous, but once he returns to the scene of the crime at the burlesque club, everything is fine and Anna’s disappearance from the club doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. The entire conflict becomes seemingly useless. However, Fleming still wrote of O’Mara’s “struggle” to escape from the crime-filled lifestyle and disappear to live with the “love of his life” Anna. 


Fleming describes his first novel as a love story, however the love aspect of this book is written so horribly it makes the action sequences seem like literary works. Readers shouldn’t be told that a couple is in love, they should be shown through the characters’ actions and dialogue, or at the very least descriptive detail. Instead, important events like a first kiss or a marriage proposal are literally written with such an indifferent, unenthusiastic tone, that a reader cannot root for the two characters’ relationship. The fact that the couple doesn’t even know each other, and spends more time apart than together doesn’t help readers believe they are truly soul mates either.


The final chapter in Fleming’s book consisted of every single character’s (even those mentioned once!) happy, or not so happy, ending. Fleming’s self-proclaimed unique story was as basic as any other. The bad guys got what they deserved while the protagonist got away to live happily ever after.


Even the biggest protestor of the Twilight series would agree that the vampire romance series is a literary masterpiece in comparison to this novel. With a plot that has so much potential, What A Difference A Day Makes requires serious editing and revision before recommendation to others.

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