West, Cooper. “Mixed Signals”, Dreamspinner Press, 2018. Everyone Wants to Write a Book Amos Lassen For years now Cooper West has lived under the illusion that she can write fiction… and indeed she can write fiction but it is lousy. I do not think she even tries to improve because she has gone from bad to awful. She has stated that is it her life goal “to support myself via writing.”. You should put the same effort into finding a real job that you put into pretending that you are a writer. I have yet to read something new from West and there are only so many times that a plot can be recycled. This time she has named her characters Frank and Benjamin but you have met them several times before with different names. “Frank Sheldon is trying (not very hard) to put his life back together several years after his dishonorable discharge from the military for “conduct unbecoming.” The handsome son of a wealthy businessman, he’s doing his best to avoid family obligations when he meets eccentric programmer Benjamin Kaplan. Frank is interested, but unlike most people Frank’s ever met, Benjamin isn’t swayed by his name or good looks. Or is he?” Is it not interesting that this Benjamin suddenly appears and now Frank who says he is eccentric, he is interested in meeting him. It doesn’t follow naturally. Then Frank “gets dragged into the drama of his sister’s political campaign” (where did this come from?) yet “he manages to pursue Benjamin under the guise of funding Benjamin’s video game start-up.” Then we get a surprise “unknown to Frank, Benjamin runs a mysterious muckraking news site, and when the now-involved Benjamin takes steps to back down his coverage of Frank’s sister’s campaign, everything starts to unravel. Frank wonders if Benjamin was just using him all along”. (This must be a subplot). A reader wrote, “I really, really liked this one! I was in the mood for a pudgy character and while Ben isn’t exactly fat, he is kind of a recluse with an attitude problem.” Pudgy? She was in the mood for a pudgy character? “I loved how Ben and Frank were so different and total opposites but proved to be something else on the inside.” Yawn.
This was a very sweet read that had me smiling almost throughout the whole book. I loved the secondary characters especially Frank’s father and how he ‘approved’ of Ben before Frank even understood what his father was talking about.
“The plot was CUTE”???? and I enjoyed the way it played out. The only thing was it was too short 🙁 I felt like the ending was kind of abrupt and I just wished there had been more. Although that could be because I did love these characters.” West’s readers match the intellectualism of the plot.