Good news and bad news. The good news is, I've acquired a second beta reader for my novel The Single Eye, a guy I work with at the Big Blue Box Store. As of last night he's three-quarters of the way through and remembered where he'd gotten to. This tells me he at least finds it readable. Last night he finally handed me a CD copy of his own book, which he's shopping to agents. One agent, he tells me, has said she's interested in it. So here I am today, languishing home sick with a cold, and I've been reading his effort. The bad news? Though the adventure story premise is intriguing enough, the characters are a colossal pain in the arse. They're supposed to be professionals but they lack the basic knowledge for their field, they haven't the common sense they were born with, and they're always provoking and getting into inexplicable fights for the shallowest of reasons, even when doing so will directly thwart them from achieving their goal. At this point (eight chapters--only about 8,000 words-- in) I'm wondering if I mistook the genre. I'm pretty sure my coworker said it's an adventure-mystery-horror novel. But so far it's reading like Indiana Jones Meets the Marx Brothers, with a heavy dollop of White Men Can't Jump thrown in. (And let me say that WMCJ is the one film my friends and I rented in grad school that none of us could stand to finish watching, it was so stupid). I'll likely soldier the rest of the way through. But what do I say to him when I'm done? Get him to critique mine first in case I make him mad? Gently find out what the genre's really supposed to be and give my crit accordingly? The only reason I can imagine that any agent is interested in this is because there's a market here for random, unmotivated, over-the-top violence. I hope that's not it. Maybe the book gets better . . .