Real estate issues connect the various characters in The Crooked Boundary, a novel by Australian author Ian Bradshaw. The title provides a play on words, referring to a misplaced boundary dividing two pieces of land in which the owners have a history marked by crooked business dealings related to dot-com businesses in Australia and Brazil.
The plot revolves around Cruz Bardot, a Gulf War veteran who becomes aware of the shady dot-com dealings, the profits from which are being invested in a proposed country club and golf course. Cruz is inspired to find some form of justice for those who were cheated out of their money.
Had Cruz achieved a resolution to the issue that would satisfy readers, The Crooked Boundary would deliver a fairly compelling plot. Unfortunately, the conclusion is anticlimactic at best — and that’s just one area where the novel fails to engage.
The problems are clear from the start, as the book spends no time fleshing out characters before diving straight into the story. The flow of the novel is greatly hampered by unnatural dialogue, used to deliver information, both relevant and superfluous, rather than enhance action or character. The exchanges are often presented in large, dense swaths, causing the story to become a dry, colorless recitation of facts. As a result, the plot never gains momentum.
The Crooked Boundary has other readability issues. Persistent sentence structure problems make both the third-person narration and dialogue confusing, and grammatical errors are pervasive.
In sum, the book requires revision before it can satisfy a reading audience.
Also available as an ebook.