Monthly Archives: January 2016
By Annaluisa Socher
Sarah Smith thinks she has a happy life now because she’s found a family who hasn’t returned her to the orphanage. However, when two people show up at her doorstep one morning to take her away, Sarah goes on the run. What she discovers in her flight, will bring back memories of a time and place far removed from her life in present day England.
This is a short introductory story that will lead to a longer SF novel. For something like this, I think it’s a good premise, however, there are problems.
Sarah Smith: 12, blonde, green eyes, orphan
Andrew Flanagan: says he’s a lawyer with an orphanage
Anne Miller: says she works for an orphanage
Matt Andersson: bearded
There is a limited number of characters. While I liked Sarah, I found some of the others annoying and inefficient. Too much movie bad guy action/no action. (“We’re going to kill you but we’re going to act all mean and evil before we get around to it.”)
B movie dialogue in many instances. Too many repetitions of a bad guy call Sarah a brat.
Here’s where a lot of the problems show. The main problem was POV. This should have stayed with Sarah throughout but it switched back and forth and while I can understand omnipresent POV, I don’t think it works in this short.
Some punctuation problems. There was one case where a sentence has an aside for further explanation but the author used two different punctuation to separate the aside: This is the beginning of the sentence-while this is the aside, and this is the end of the sentence.
Choose either the dash or the comma for the separation.
Some overwriting and weak writing:
Example: As the seconds pass a noise came closer. It was a train and its sound grew louder and louder, signaling that it was getting near. (No need to repeat that something was nearing.)
Example: By saying these words the man put his right foot between the door jam and the door itself. (‘By saying these words’ is badly written and no need to overwrite where he put his foot.
Example: …realized almost immediately that…she was in danger. (There are some extra words in this sentence which makes it, first, too long, and second, Sarah had been in danger long before this. By this point she’s already been caught by the bad guys. Of course she in danger.)
Example: …was a guy rather than a man. (I don’t know what that means. Is it some British colloquialism?)
There are others.
As mentioned above, I think the story has potential but if these problems are seen in a longer novel, I would have difficulty reading and enjoying it.
No spelling errors so I’m giving this an:
By J. M. Harrison
When Sara and Alex Bunton decide to get away from their problems, they visit a relative in France. Soon, they’re involved in a mystery spanning back thousands of years. A sacred object to bring enlightenment must be found because if others find it, the end of the world will be near.
Who can categorize this? A nod to Da Vinci Code, some supernatural, some thriller, some adventure.
Sara Bunton: married, has had a miscarriage, blonde, blue eyes
Alex Bunton: Sara’s husband, former military, mom dead, ponytail
Jean Michel: gray hair, owns a dog, knows martial arts, was in French Foreign Legion,
Alina Wickey: black hair, married
Zarco De Vlinder: owns a motorcycle, ponytail, blue eyes, platinum blond, 40s, mercenary, tattoo, smokes
There is a nice cast but I wanted more from the baddies. They do almost nothing in the first half of the book. There are a whole bunch introduced late in the book that reminded me of something out of a Ludlum novel, but they should have been in there sooner to keep the reader intrigued. The baddies didn’t do much in the way of putting the heroes in danger. Here and there, yes, but not much throughout the book until the end. I didn’t understand Alina. She’s been abused by her husband all her life but at the end stands up and helps the heroes when they save her husband.
A lot of storytelling. Long passages. A few distinctive voices.
To follow up on the above Chapters 7 and 8 are ALL storytelling with few breaks. Long lecture type explanations and ‘what-if’ history. These two chapters, really threw me out of the because there is nothing going on in the way of action. It’s all telling. They should have been broken up and pieced throughout the book.
I didn’t feel a connection to the tension. Before the long story he keeps teasing Alex and Sara with something important but when I expect to hear something, they have tea or dinner or told to come back another time.
I also didn’t feel that anybody was in real danger from the baddies. Everybody is still walking around seemingly not caring that bad people might be lurking around the next corner. It’s not until later in the book when the action starts.
No profanity unless you want to count a foreigner saying “fok”.
This story just didn’t get off the ground for me. I keep coming back to 7 and 8 because up until then I held out hope. But having to wade through too much history and stories, I lost interest.
The supernatural/enlightenment parts were interesting but, again, I didn’t feel a connection to the heroes and the plot.
By John A. Autero
When three friends discover a secret meant to be covered up, they find themselves on the run from government forces determined to keep their knowledge from going public.
Oft seen plot. Nothing new here. Sometimes, though, the familiar can be entertaining. Unfortunately, this falls short of the mark.
Jerry Taylor: engineer for a fuel refinery, attended Michigan University, Masters in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D in Petroleum Engineering from M.I.T.
Bart Richard Thomas: 22, 6’1” brown hair, works for a hazardous recovery company, smokes, drives a Ford F-350, parents divorced
Bruce Jacob Macinson: works for the same company as Bart, 6’3”, 250 lbs
Pete Andrew Johnson: works for the same company as Bart, wiry, black shoulder length hair, nickname ‘Worm’, father owns a funeral home
Russell Ferdomski: nicknamed ‘Beaker’, 100 ls, light brown hair, pale complexion, computer geek, has a brother, dad dead
There are a couple baddies but the three main characters often acted and sounded like the Hardy Boys and Chet Morton or the Three Investigators vs the federal government. I felt very little emotion that these guys were in mortal danger. The federal baddies didn’t impress me.
Again, YA stuff except for a few bits of profanity here and there. The Commissioner and his agent (baddies) didn’t sound professional.
I found only one misspelled word and a missed quote mark. Some chapters are headed by location.
There was too much telling throughout and not enough showing.
As mentioned, I didn’t feel immediate danger. Except for the first chapter, nothing much happened in the first 1/3 of the book.
One of the problems I had with this book is that there was so much more happening beyond the main plot that didn’t quite fit with the story. There were statements made that seemed to put the story in the world of ‘tomorrow’. For instance it was mentioned that Kansas City was destroyed by a nuclear bomb. Okay, but when I read that, I said, Huh? That’s interesting, but did that have anything to do with the rest of the story? Or the fact that the government misled the world about Osama bin Laden. There should have been a bit more explanation and the author should have let the read know a bit more about the state of the union or the world.
Hardly any women show up in the story and what’s a thriller without a bit of romance?
There’s a mind probe used but not much detail about it. This could have been much stronger.
Another problem I had was the title of the story didn’t make sense throughout the entire book and was only mentioned, literally, at the very end.
I felt there was a lot of weak writing to a story that could have been so much stronger. For that reason I have to give this a:
By Sylvester Pilgrim
1. What is a young woman seeing out of the corner of her eye? 2. A holiday and heinous murder. 3. A businessman plans to kill his wife. 4. Do you dare look into a cursed mirror? 5. A dying man makes a deal with the mob. 6. A theater cast summons the spirit of a murdered actress. 7. The prequel to the first story. 8. Should you beware of you inner demon? 9. Sometimes imagination gets away from you. 10. An idyllic picnic turns gruesome. 11. Roommates can be difficult to live with. 12. The first story continues. 13. Think twice before you get that tattoo. 14. Sometimes being lost is really lost. 15. Sometimes beauty isn’t realized. 16. Sometimes a wrong number can save a life…or not. 17. Working backward through a terrorist bombing. 17. The first story concludes.
Some horror, some suspense. Some good, some predictable, some weak. Here’s a collection of short tales, some of which aren’t too bad.
Faye Morgan: 29
Connor Sandford: married with four children, wealthy, owns a silver Mercedes SLR and a BMW M5
Frank Martinez: has cancer, married
Miyuki Sato: long black hair, fit
Marcia McGill: attends Oxford for her Ph.D in psychology
Malcolm Dean: killer, drug user
Ronald Miller: teen, has brothers
A wide variety of characters, all pretty well pictured. I think for short stories to work, the characters shouldn’t resemble one another through each story.
With short tales, it’s difficult to keep separate voices because there isn’t enough material to develop that dialogue. However, I think, for the most part, no character sounded like another. I think in the ongoing story throughout, the Italian dialogue runs a bit long, especially since it’s not translated.
As mentioned, some of the stories were predictable because of the nature of the plot. Oft seen before, nothing new, and when there’s nothing fresh, the enjoyment factor drops. There is profanity and graphic sex. One story ran too long with sex scenes. I was wanting to get on with the story.
I think the death scene in one story was not believable. When someone kills another by a gun in the mouth, the person would probably die instantly. She would not be twitching for several minutes.
As mentioned, some of the stories are enjoyable with some interesting horror. In the end, though I have to give this: