Katka by Stephen R. Meier
One of the dangers of joining a book tour is committing to a book and then not liking it. Unfortunately, this is the case for me and Katka, a novella about a man involved in a slimy mail order bride scheme in Eastern Europe. Gavin gets drawn in to this scheme after meeting and falling lust with Katka while in the Czech Republic. Katka is friends with Simona, the woman behind the mail order bride scheme. When the lure of money got the best of him, Gavin sells Katka. He doesn’t mean for her to actually go with the man he was scamming, but things don’t work out at all as he expected. The characters were underdeveloped, greedy, selfish, and unlikeable. Katka did not work for me.
Given the subject matter, crude language is to be expected. I don’t expect characters to use polite language or politically correct terms for the female body. Although the language didn’t bother me, I would have imagined it being used with more pizzaz, especially from a character like Simona. Perhaps of them all, she was the most whole character. I understood her and her motivations. She made sense within the story. I cannot say the same for Gavin or Katka. What they shared may very well have been passionate, but they knew very little of each other. The sex certainly was not enought for me to believe that they would have the strong emotional attachment they claimed to have for each other. I also couldn’t believe that someone as queesy as Gavin was after Katka and Meeka could really have been pulled into a business that amounted to white slavery. It seemed that every ten pages something Simona said or someone else inferred “destroyed” him. If his conscience didn’t stop him from selling the women in the first place, I hardly think he would be that thin-skinned. More character development would have gone a long way.
There were two things I noticed about Katka that bothered me as a reader from the very beginning: there was a lack of differentiation between paragraphs and editorial errors. New paragraphs are not distinguished in this book by indentation or extract line spacing in this book. Although I eventually got into a rhyth, I never really got comfortable reading. This may have been the intention of the author, but for me it was an unnecessary hurdle. Given the amount of short dialog, some extra line spacing between the paragraphs would have been helpful. I also noticed that often the letter I in the word I was not capitalized, especially when in a contraction. This, too, became a distraction for me.
When I first read the summary of Katka, I was very interested. The idea being involved in a mail order bride scam that goes wrong had the potential to be very interesting. In this current format, Katka just didn’t work for me. I could see it work more effectively as a movie script, especially if there was more development of Gavin’s character. I could not feel sorry for him and I didn’t find him believable. With more background, it might have been a completely different story.