Please join me on my blog this coming Saturday, October 16 for an exclusive interview with these 4 authors, as they tackle The Eleven Questions to Fame Blog Tour. Very funny, hopefully insightful.
Joe asked me last week to look over his new release, and when I agreed, I was given the full copy to peruse. He and I met years ago in an online writing group, and I designed Joe's first web-site. With the horror genre not being my particular favourite in which to write (although I have two published short-stories in the genre), I wasn't sure what to expect. But knowing Joe's writing, I also knew I wouldn't be disappointed.
And I wasn't. The book certainly delivered on its promise to supply the reader with fresh meat, blood and lots of mangled bodies.
At first, I was taken aback by the inclusion of a Prologue. Editors generally cut these, as they hardly ever lend anything of interest to the story. But this one was done in a cleverly-deceptive way, so as to make you forget you were reading the prologue, and therefore I put my blistering fax away, without needing to give Joe a good piece of my mind (I need all of the pieces I can keep).
The book doesn't have the average chapter headings--it's merely written from various POVs from the different characters involved, and I found myself loving that device the longer I read.
The action starts almost immediately and is just relentless, so for a while, I caught myself thinking, 'How in hell are they going to sustain this momentum for another 300 pages?' And then I realised the story itself isn't that long. So in retrospect, it was just long enough to be satisfying.
I'm a professional stand-up comedienne, tv/stage comic actress and I've been published in the comedy genre, so it's VERY difficult to make me laugh. I think all comics are that way. But I must admit, I laughed out loud in SEVERAL places. And it wasn't cheap one-line humour that kept me laughing--it was comedy, sparking across the gap of the character's reality and their comic premise, which is where you mine for true comedy gold. When Randall corrected himself and said, "Motherhugger," in front of the kids, I just about coughed up a lung.
I was surprised, however, at the scenes with Stacie and Adam, awaiting the birth of their daughter. Sorry guys, but I'm always amazed when I see a man writing prose so tender it makes a woman cry, and I was sitting there with huge tears streaming down my face. I won't give away what happens, but let's just say, Joe, you done good, kid. And while they worked hard to make the writing seamless from everyone, I knew of two separate times when it was Joe's writing that I was reading. Maybe from spending all that time in our writing group.
The story's ending was perfect and ambiguous enough to make room for a sequel, which I think is planned. And it shocked me to learn that the total page length of the book, in .pdf form, was 411 pages, yet the story itself was far short of that. I'm just now getting into the extras of the book, and think it's great that they threw these in there. Makes you feel as if you're getting more for your money.
But, aside from some stray typos and minor repeated words, I gave this book a hearty 5-stars, because when everything is said and done, it did everything that a good story is supposed to do:
- engage the reader
- make the reader care about the characters
- don't infodump or use exposition to the detriment of your story
- tell the story in such a way as to make your reader want to keep turning those pages
- make your characters fully human, with exposed goals and flaws
- don't throw in extraneous humour just for the sake of a cheap laugh
- leave your reader with a sense of needing to read about this story and the characters even further.