Monday, 5 August 2013

Causality by Jack Tate - Review by Carlyn

I won Causality from Goodreads is a book community where you can write reviews, connect with other booklovers and enter giveaways. Causality is the debut novel by Australian author Jack Tate. The story is about Eric Rose, son of billionaires Anne and William who are killed during a jewellery store robbery. On the day of the funeral, Eric learns that his parents were the intended victims and that the robbery was just a cover. When Eric learns the truth he goes on a quest for revenge.

The story starts in first person and in present tense which is a feat that is hard to do well. The book reads like a screenplay as Tate tells the reader what is happening in a direct and unpoetic way. I believe this is done to add to the suspense. Afterwards, the story switches to third person when Eric hunts down his parent’s killers. The text remains in present tense like in the first part.

At first I found the story hard to get into as Tate’s straightforward storytelling has a lack of depth to it. What I found jarring was that most of the text was telling the reader what was happening rather than showing the reader and allowing them to make their own assumptions. An example of telling would be – Sarah was nervous. Her knees kept shaking.  Here is an example of showing- As much as she tried she couldn’t keep her knees from shaking. What if they say no? Thought Sarah. A writer has to balance between showing and telling as they are both important. If you tell too much your story can lack depth. On the other hand, if you are too descriptive the reader will wonder when you are getting to the point.  I thought there was too much telling in Causality.

Eric pulls off the freeway and heads into an industrial area about forty-five minutes south of Sydney. He pulls up to the main gates, winds his window down and types a pin code into an old rickety control panel and drives through. (Tate, 2012, p. 77).

I did get use to the writing style though. I found Eric’s vengeance on his enemies to be brutally violent and ruthless but if you watch horror movies or very violent action movies you should be okay. Most of the people on his hit list suffered agonising deaths and that was enough to appease Eric. However, I would have preferred a slow lead up to the revenge involving months of ruining the person’s social standing or whatever it is that they most value and then if needed ending in death such as what we see in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas or the tv show Revenge.

The typical things occur in the revenge, kidnapping, torture and monologues except Eric also involves hurting innocent victims associated with his enemies. This makes him into a villain as he does not feel any pity or remorse for most of his victims believing that they brought it on themselves. It is only at the end when Eric questions his actions and where redemption begins. While all this is taking place, Eric leads a double life. He has a loving fiancĂ© and good friends who have don’t know of his dark deeds.  They know that he hasn’t been the same since his parent’s deaths but they can’t get him to talk about it.  

What I did like about the book was the reoccurring theme that family is important and money cannot buy happiness. The book is all about the love of one’s family and what the loss of it can do. I look forward to seeing more books written by Jack Tate. He certainly has an interesting mind and I look forward to seeing development and growth in his writing.



  1. Great review and interesting information. I did not know about "telling" vs. "showing". Thanks!

  2. Thanks for your visit :)


    Coline ♡

  3. Nice post sweets...
    Maybe we can follow each other..!!
    Keep in touch,

    1. Thanks Pooja. I checked your site, it's cute.

  4. Very interesting points Carlyn, and I think you did a wonderful job with the review. Writing a novel is something of a learned skill I believe. I don't think too many people do their best work with their first book or books. Tate seems to have enough skill and ability to create a readable story and an interesting story, even if he can use to grow a bit stylistically. It would be very cool if he sent you any future novels of his. I hope he appreciates and is considerate of things you have discussed in your review.

    1. Thanks Jon Bear. I did message him on goodreads to tell him about the review and he appreciates my feedback. I do hope to read more of his books someday.


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