“The Counselor” by Joshua Starnes Makes a Point… Eventually
By Marcus Julianus, Associate Critic
Joshus Starnes latest contribution aspires to be a work of art, but ends up being a piece of work. Starnes’s “The Counselor” is quite simply a meandering yarn of grandiose posturing with sprinkles of content mixed in. Readers be warned: when delving into this murky text, be sure to bring plenty of breadcrumbs.
The reader will find themselves immersed in Starnes’s words from the beginning… which is not a good thing. Verbosity flows like swamp water in this endless spiel. The audience is forced to trudge through cautiously, as the risk of losing their footing looms. Attention spans will no doubt wane as they eagerly await the next period.
There is a message here to be sure, but the effort one must exert to derive it is akin to sifting through a mountain of earth in search of a diamond… then finding that diamond shattered… then having to piece it together again.
The pointless quips, unnecessary embellishments and lengthy transitions first disillusion the reader, then drown them—not the most beneficial approach to retaining one’s fan base. If literary suffocation was a crime, the author would be serving a life sentence.
This is not to suggest Starnes is untalented. In fact, he is quite the opposite. There is some truly beautiful craftsmanship underneath all the rubble. But alas, the audience will likely abandon the search before it’s all cleared.
If Starnes truly wishes to redeem himself, he’d do well to reread the hypocritical statement he makes at his work’s conclusion: There is good in there, and it might have been appreciated if only he hadn’t gone too far.