Sunday, February 05, 2006

Killing Britney, by Sean Olin

Years ago, Britney's mother died and her body was never found. Now, friends and family are dropping like flies to a mysterious murderer. Is it the strange Adam who arrived recently from far away and has a past he is trying to hide? Or is it obsessive Bobby who is trying to "protect" her? Or someone else?

Gack! I will rate this as one of the worst books I have read so far, certainly the worst for 2006. Even if you like murder mysteries, this one lacks all sorts of plausibility or coherent writing. Oddly, the whole thing is set in Madison WI (where I live), with people and places changed to avoid slandering anyone, but it is patently obvious that Olin has never been here as he has no idea what the place is like. Some minor (but representative) examples: the action takes place in "northwestern Madison" (where? on Lake Mendota?). Worse, he talks about the Packer's green and white colors (Excuse me? You don't even have to be a native to know the green and gold). But skipping past that amazing sloppiness, this story is full of two-dimensional characters with ridiculous motivations and poor writing. Good descriptions of gorey deaths if that interests you, but there are better examples of the genre if that's what you want.

22 comments:

princess17 said...

I liked this book it was one of my favorites. Who cares if you think the setting doesn't fit the book I thought it was fine. It's a fiction book it's supposed to have imagination in it. The charcters were boring in some parts of the book but aren't they in every book. Their emotions changed a lot I thought. I loved how it kept you guessing until the end when you found out who the murderer was. I couldn't put this book down.

Paul said...

It is not a question of the setting fitting the book, but of the author using a real setting that is distractingly inaccurate. If he wanted to use his imagination, he wouldn't use a real location (and if you use a real location, get your facts right).

There are so many books out there with great characters that keep you interested from the beginning until the end. I'll admit that I don't know much in the murder mystery genre, but if you want to read a much better book, look at Looking for Alaska or Bringing Up the Bones.

1371019 said...

I liked this book very much as well. I don't believe that every detail must be true, as if it had to be, it would be extremely difficult and almost impossible to get everything right. I loved how the plot twisted and the descriptions of everything were very well thought out.

QueenBee07 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lostbutterfly said...

"Killing Britney" wasnt one of he best books i have ever read ,but it does have you wondering until the very end. Obiously the author didn't do much research in writting this novel,so that in a way makes the book uninteresting. The characters weren't very interesting either ,olin really didnt give them a real personality.He should have build up his characters a little bit more, so that the readers got to really know them.Also the author should have been more realistic in writting this novel.For example if Britney was the one who was killing everyone how come the investigator never questioned her? And where did she find the time to commit these murders? Didnt anyone wonder were she went at times? and how come she was never caught?. The author didnt really ever say what britney did during the day ,or where she went or who she talked to.And as the author wrote about her feeling at the time when all these murders were happening he desribes britney feeling really bad and sad about it. Was she sick like her mom was? Was she schizophrenic too?I thought the ending was alright,it did leave me wondering what was going to happen to Nick and Britney . Is britney going to ever get caught? Is Nick going to die too? And why would Britnet tell Nick the truth about everything?

AuraOfChaos said...

I find it sad that some people say it's one of the best books they've read. If so, you've obviously not read many books at all.

The characters have absolutely NO definite personalities. One second they're the normal teenaged idiots, the next second they're insane, the next second they're normal again, and then the next second they're dead.

and to princess17, imagination is a LOT different from BUTCHERING an actual location. and honestly, I didn't find almost ANY true emotion in any of the characters at all. and they don't even tell you who the murderer is! Is it really bobby? or is it britney herself?

the only reason I managed to sit through this book was the murder scenes (deliciously gorey) and the fact that I had no fucking clue where the story was going to end up.

and really, even if its fiction, you'll never find someone THAT in love with a slut to kill off ecveryone around them. especially a slut just as insane as them.

i just gotta say, BLARGH. thats how i describe this oh so lovely book.

you want a good book, go read the Golden Compass.

and if you want a kick out of it, read it in front of a priest. ;] (sorry. >>)

Bri said...

This book is rediculusly stupid, and it's author, Sean Olin, must be just as sick as the books ending. For most books(most good books, anyway)the ending is the best part, but it's the exact opposite for this horror. I must say the book was very exciting and for most parts I apsalotly just couldn't put it down, but that doesn't change the fact that most of the peices to this puzzle were unsolved just because the person with the misteruos info gets murdered. I think it's quite obveuis to anyone that reads his book, that Sean Olin really doesn't know how to write misteries. My advice: DON"T READ THIS BOOK! Not only is is a waste of your time, but it'll probably creap you out, as well.

paige said...

I just read the book and I liked it alot.. not the best book I have ever read, but it kept me interested. I would have to say the setting never came across as a unrealistic, maybe because I have never been to madison, and I bet most people didn't know he butchered it until they read your blog. Anywho, I think the character could have been presented better, in a sence that we should get to know them better, but i got a feel for them. At aruaofchaos, it clearly states at the end that she did the killings after karl was murdered. so if I have to rate this book 1 to 10 I would give it a 7

AuraOfChaos said...

to paige,

it says she claims to have committed all the murders herself. But then again, she's insane. it ALSO states that Bobby was convicted for all the murders.

They never specify which is fact and which is not.

read lostbutterfly's comment. it says it all.

Kat said...

I liked this book. i found it somewhat confusing and the ending odd. I wondered what she'll do with the rest of her life, if she'll commit more murders. i think the review was a bit harsh, but if i were a writer i would want to go to the place my novel was set and not just try and get it right. i can see why the people living there would be offended if something was wrong with the setting.

KAZL8 said...

I found this book was ok. I found the ending very confusing, like obviously Nick gets killed and so does adam, but i mean was it Britney or was it Jan? I mean was Jan pretending to be Britney? Call me stupid but its m y opinion. I also couldnt put it down, so it was pretty good.

sammydotcom1 said...

The book was definitely not the best book i have ever read! I am so confused about the ending, was it Britney or Jan? It was just stupid!

cryptono said...

omg i love this book. I wish sean olin would make a sequel so you didnt feel like he left you hanging. those of you who disagree with me obviously this book wasnt for you. Every book you read isnt going to be exactaly what you want it to be some may but not all of them will if you find one that does go as planned than good my sugestion would be to look into that author but if it doesnt go as planned think outside of the box go outside of what you think would happen dare to wander theres alot of books out there if one doesnt satisfy your needs read a different one.

xmrszxelmox said...

i think that this book was exteamly good.
and even though they dont use the colors it doesnt matter.
because it has a really good story line and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.
this is one of my favortes.

Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna Moore said...

To those of you confused about the Bobby/Britney who killed everyone issue...

1. Someone being framed for murder is not a new concept.
2. As for Britney not being interviewed, etc. It also states at the end of the book that she 'never makes mistakes'.

Not completely plausible, like a few have said, but they DO explain it.

Overall I thought it was okay, not one of the best, but awesome nonetheless.

chloe said...

I must agree that the characters were not well built up and the plot was kinda thin. But through the whole book, i loved how there were so many different perspectives and that kept misleading you to who the killer was. I personally felt the ending was clear, that Bobby knew all along that Britney was sick, and she preteded to jump into the lake to lower him into it so he would freeze and drown. As for Nick, I think that Britney, who obviously has iether schizophrenic like her mother or a multi personality disorder, takes on the role of Jan to toy with Nick before she finally kills him. If she really did have a multi personality disorder, than that would explain why Britney was so sad when she was actually the murderer all along.

Nicole-Lynn said...

I give Killing Brittney a four and a half out of ten.
The characters lack depth, aparently the location's been butchered, and there are probably more plot holes than an actual plot.

It did, however, keep me guessing till the last minute, and leave me kind of confused. If gore is your thing read the book, if not then ....

lisa said...

I read this book and it wasn't great, but it did keep be guessing. What I didn't like is that it never explained it Britney killed her father and Melissa. It never really said that she did that. And why did she kill Adam? He was going back to New Hampshire. He wouldn't be any threat to her. The book wasn't very well written, I have to admit, but I think the "twist" was worth reading for. I just wished Sean Olin would have been clearer about who killed who. I understand that Britney and Karl killed her mother, then Karl killed Ricky, then Britney killed Karl and Adam, but I cannot get over the fact that it didn't say who killed Melissa and Britney's dad!! Was it Bobby? That absolutely irks me to no end, because I don't know who killed them.

Johnna said...

I just read the book and it was ok, I don't think yall should be so tough just because the setting wasn't to your liking. I believe you all said that you couldn't put the book down so obviously he did something right. In the ending Britney said to Nick what really happened, Bobby was convicted and he didn't do it and she is crazy so she started over and called herself Jan.

Jessie said...

I have to say to all of you giving bad criticism to this book, get a grip. So what if you didn't like it, you don't need to bash it, or the author. It was his first published book. Give him a break. I honestly was shocked to read he hasn't written more. Because i honestly LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down. The location and details regarding the sort mean nothing. Especially to me. It was the story that got me. I kept guessing who the killer was and couldn't place it. And not to sound like a psycho, because i'm not, but i could relate to Britney. Right until the end. And i love being able to relate to characters. So i'll say again, i love this book. I even chose to write a 5 page paper on this book for my mystery fiction class. And i'm sticking to it.

Loraine said...

Hi, nice review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/09/killing-britney-by-sean-olin.html

Thanks and have a nice day!