I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
“People Like Us” is a complete narrative story, written by our main character (which I would describe as a two-bit criminal), who recounts his adventures and misadventures in a small town where he ends up stealing an art piece, of supposed high value, to sell on the black market. He meets various characters, a couple of whom are killed. Some stick around and add color to the story, while others disappear.
The writing style of the author reveals professionalism. I only found a few grammatical errors, and the prose flowed smoothly. It was obviously well-edited. This type of story is different, a “think out of the box type”, because of the way it is presented. The overall tone is congenial, and the characters at times seem fairly likeable. The few action scenes in the story were excellent, making me wish there were many more.
However, the story went nowhere from almost the beginning. Unimportant details dominated, acting as a filler instead of moving the story forward. So many characters came and went along with a host of trivial details, that a large portion of the story was muddled and had little direction. I think it would have been better if these details were left out and more action-based elements were inserted.
The main character, for the most part, seemed unfeeling, jaded, and void of conscience. Personally, I want a main character that I like and can root for, instead of someone I have to put up with. I found his arrogance and snappy remarks tiresome after a while. He didn’t show a lot of intelligence, as he ended up planning his escape based on what he saw a detective do that would typically considered unethical.
The artifact itself was never described, which made me think there was no real work put into trying to persuade me of why it was worth anything. Why not simply make up something instead of keeping it a secret? This fell flat, leaving me unconvinced.
The story ending left many unanswered questions. What happened to Estrade? Did he get away with this? What happened to his fling? I understand that in a narrative such as this it is harder to describe, but it left the story unfinished. These are the elements that could have been developed, rather than the unimportant details.
Lastly, I wonder about the title. It seems to convey the meaning that the main character is an ordinary person you would likely meet on the street on any day of the week. In my experience, most people I meet every day haven’t stolen artifacts or killed people.
Overall I would rate the story as 2.5 stars.