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Review of Urgent!: inspired by events in Central America that really happened

The book, titled Urgent! by author Roberto Palomo, is based heavily on the political and military events that occurred in the Spanish Embassy Guatemala in the 1980s. Instead of placing the story in Guatemala, the author instead writes a more creative rendition of events in the fictional country of Guatedora

The author changed up which character of the story was being focused in on, so that the reader could see the story develop from several different sides. Chapter 1 starts off with the prostitute, the next chapter focuses on the father who the prostitute calls with a warning, and the following chapter is about the son who was being talked about. It's very logical how it goes, so it's easy to follow the story. The reader also really gets a sense of a bigger picture, that there is a lot of complex dealings that the author is very decisively showing off to the reader. That's where the clear vision for a story comes into play. This book was definitely thought about and organized before and while it was being written. You won't see a whole lot of contradictory statements and the actual depth of the content is very impressive for a single person to have pulled off.

That being said, though this book is definitely one of the better ones I've personally seen, there are flaws with it that I should bring up. Though the author had a clear vision for writing this book, he had perhaps a less clear vision of how to format the book and how to really sell this story to readers. When I initially spoke with the author, he did not yet have a synopsis for the book and later added one. The formatting too seems like a secondary consideration as opposed to a primary one. That's not necessarily a bad thing; I think the content is very good and that should be the most important part of a book. The formatting though is also an important factor, and really the biggest and only drawback to this book.

I wasn't totally sold on the title. The subtitle is very long and comes across as being one of those "dude, you will not believe what happened last night" kind of vibes. The cover too throws out some imagery that I was confused about. Despite all of that, the book has one central focus and sticks to that one central focus throughout the entire thing. Some of the finer details were not stylistically something I prefer, but didn't contradict or undo any of this core consistency.

The language is often very mechanical and stiff as though the dialogue was not as planned out as was the actual plot. As the book goes on, it does get much better and much less mechanical. Some of the metaphors were a little odd and I wasn't sure if they were supposed to be humorous. The dialogue was also a little stiff and had moments where it did not flow incredibly well. Again, these things do improve as you get further into the book. I didn't feel that these problems really took anything away from the story as they weren't enormous problems and quite possibly problems that others might not see as such at all.

I had originally noted to the author that there were some technical flaws, though most of the worst ones have since been edited by the author, which makes it easier to follow the story without as many midline breaks. There are still some stylistic things that I am personally not a fan of, such as no quotation marks around thoughts and the tense occasionally changing from past to present and some of the lines break in weird places which is a little distracting. It can be confusing when the thoughts seem to jump out of nowhere with any warning that they are thoughts such as in this part, which is in Chapter 1: €She prayed he would respect her wishes, for most men will bend their demands when they see tears falling from a woman?s eyes. Especially one as beautiful as me, she thought. People tell me that I look prettier than Miss Universe.€ That happens throughout the book, so it's something to be aware of when reading this.

Right in the beginning, I felt that the some of the characters, Colonel Garza for example, revealed way too much about themselves than would be expected in a real setting, even for a drunk person. The consistency of the characters' development isn't as tight as it should be, but was still believable and still made the intended impact. Even with those inconsistencies and the near-uncomfortable level of information that some of the characters divulge at the drop of a hat, the author shows that he is creative and focused. That he played on Ingrid Berenson, the prostitute's political connections added a level to the story that was unique and very interesting. The character development too is very good at parts, and even nauseatingly so. The author clearly intended to make the main antagonist, Colonel Garza, someone who is evil, twisted, and someone that readers would absolutely hate and he absolutely hit that one on the head. The likeable characters are also developed in a meaningful way that makes you like them. Dr. Edward Boyle and his son, Kevin, are both very likable characters that got caught up in something totally above them, which makes the reader genuinely empathize with them.

Overall, it's not bad and changes up enough to keep a reader engaged in the plot. There are so many points where the author could have totally lost all interest in the plot, but then quickly changes gears to keep things dynamic. He obviously wrote this with a clear vision and that comes through when you read it, despite the odd line breaks and other formatting mistakes. If you can forgive the technical errors and formatting weirdness, it's really not a bad read. I give this book four out of five stars.

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