Cover image of "All the Way Gone," a book in need of a proofreader

Here is a potentially terrific novel, a police procedural with consummately clever plotting and believable characters, where the reading experience was spoiled for me by the most trivial of writer’s errors: the failure to employ a proofreader!

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Admittedly, the story is intriguing and suspenseful. Detectives in two different Brooklyn police precincts are simultaneously pursuing three different cases, each very different from the others. As their investigations move forward, the connections among these seemingly unconnected events begin to emerge. Of course, that’s not surprising. Any seasoned reader of detective fiction knows to expect that. What’s surprising is how these disparate storylines are shown to merge into a fascinating whole.

Now back to the spoiler.

When I was a kid, my mother, a former English teacher, constantly complained about the spelling of “this new generation.” The culprit, as she saw it, was the phonetic approach to reading then in vogue. NOBODY under the age of 25 could spell, she insisted.

Well, here we are again. I have no way of knowing whether D. James Eldon learned to spell because he was taught reading by the phonetic method, or whether he suffers from some sort of spelling disability, but I can say this: I have never, ever before understood clearly the value of proofreading.

All the Way Gone by D. James Eldon ★★★☆☆

All the Way Gone is riddled with boneheaded misspellings. Throughout the book, Eldon uses “you’re” when he means “your” and “it’s” instead of “its.” He substitutes “loosing” for “losing,” “boarder” for “border,” “coarse” for “course,” “quite” for “quiet” — and those are only the errors I caught on the run. Undoubtedly, I missed a number of others. Where was the proofreader when we needed her?

FYI, Mr. Eldon, spellcheck doesn’t cut it in cases like this. (For the record, they’re called “homonyms” — words that sound alike but have different meanings.) Please get a proofreader if you write another book!

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