Home » Book reviews » SMOKE SCREEN; A Review


I live in Charleston, and try to read as many novels that use my hometown as a setting. Unfortunately, as Charleston has become the #1 tourist destination over the last 5 years, more authors are using us in their fiction. Usually with bad results.

smoke screenThis book is awful. One of the clues that you’re reading a poorly written (re: poorly designed plot) is when all the characters spend A LOT of time at the end explaining the story. It’s the writer’s job to get that information to the reader without the clunky conclusion of endless explanations. We are no longer living in the age of Agatha Christie.

Brown seems to have studied Charleston via Google maps for her location descriptions. And, by the way … seems like she was reaching for a little bit of Carl Hiaasen feel at the beginning by creating an eccentric and wacky hermit (Delno Pickens) living in the marsh, but for no reason except local color. Pickens has NOTHING to do with the story. 

That being said: the plot is something about a fire and city corruption blah … blah … blah. Pretty sure that producers of the CBS show “Reckless” (also based in Charleston) must have read this novel for research.

1 palmetto



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