On The Rocks With A Twist
By Jay Stritch
Alex, a freshman at university is invited into and subsequently accepted by a circle of four other students who tend to live live in as free manner as possible. However, they each harbor secrets and hide problems that, as time passes, become more suspicious to Alex. When Alex discovers evidence they’re involved in crimes, will his reactions and decisions get him into more trouble?
I’m not quite sure what to think of this plot, especially the way it was presented. I don’t see this plot a lot but it is familiar. This was taken from a bit different angle than others and there was a touch of surreal-ness to it.
Alex Longley: university student, works at the campus cafe, parents died when he was eleven
Diana Dakin: university student, beautiful, long curly hair, tried to be a Hollywood actress
Ben: university student, tall, claims his grandfather was the conductor on the Titanic, says he owns a cat
Leo Sasik: university student, smokes, plays guitar
Rose Dakin: university student, Diana’s sister
Peter Beck: university student
I felt I was looking at the characters through a very thin veil. None were entirely clear or focused. Leo, I thought, was the strongest and I so I was able to see him in a less blurred light. The rest didn’t come off strong enough to be…relevant. I didn’t feel a connection to them. Their roles were not distinctive enough to show me that they mattered. Alex had a crush on Diana so she was next in line for strength, but the author kept her so hidden and subdued. Peter and Rose, though included in the group, didn’t stand out, had no personality that grabbed me.
There are individual voices to the characters but the differences are subtle and could be stronger. Leo’s is the most distinctive because he’s a strong character. I kept looking for a point to the conversations, a reason, that they moved along the story.
Titled chapters. Story told as if Alex is speaking to the reader.
Okay, I have a slight issue with some of the problems in the writing. I was offered a free download and in this version there was a plethora of problems an editor should have caught. Punctuation/sentence problems, especially in dialogue. Where there should be a period there is a comma as if the conversation is continuing, but the sentence is new. Or sometimes there is a comma at the end of a sentence as if it is introducing the dialogue but it should be a period. Tag lines sometimes are capitalized when they shouldn’t be (…” She said.), or there are lines acting as tag lines that shouldn’t be. Misspelled words. Some sentences run on when there should be a definite period and break. This makes it difficult to stay ‘in’ the story. Incorrect words (‘then’ instead of ‘than’).
So, I’m about at the halfway point when the author writes back and mentions that some of the problems have been corrected, i.e. misspelled words. I requested three sample chaps to check on the others mentioned above. Although I didn’t see any misspelled words (I certainly hope they were corrected throughout because diamonds are not weighed in carrots), there is still the problems with tag lines. Not as bad in the chapters I reviewed again, but still existing.
I did enjoy the ‘twist’ at the end and actually, without playing spoiler, there is a double twist which set it up for a future happy ending.
There isn’t much ‘action’ as in shoot ’em up/explosions. A lot of explanation, conversation, introspection. I don’t think the story dragged as much as I wanted a bit of action, some deep tension that I could grab hold of and ride with.
I’m left with the problem of ranking. The corrected misspellings and some of the tag lines helped. I debated a long while about this because, like a previous story with a lot of problems I had to be fair to the potential reader and to my decision regarding previous ranks given based on the problems encountered. Thinking about it in this way, before the corrections I really should have given this an Orange belt. But I will give a benefit of the doubt to the corrects said to have been fixed and based on what I’ve seen and other issues involved here, I’ll have to stick with: