Review of: Still Life - the novel 

reviewed by worshipman on 04/03/2008
Credited Review
worshipman
Still Life Credited Review
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Jameson and Charley make a great couple and their predicament(s) serve to engage the reader beyond a mere desire to know what happens next, you want to know HOW and you want to know NOW. This is the first page-turner I've read here, I was engrossed.

A couple of issues spring to mind:

1) The killer's motivation is understandable but not actually convincing. I'm not saying try something else, just find the means to help us believe it. And Jameson's a little too detached emotionally about it in the last couple of pages. I did have the culprit up as prime suspect as soon as I met them, too; I don't mean that smugly, just to help you realise that perhaps they're not as well hidden as you'd like. Maybe make the other suspects smell less like red herrings and become a little more obscure themselves? And/or find a way of "ruling out" the killer's identity so our thoughts lead elsewhere? It's a game of redirection and sleight of hand...
2) The narrative still needs some work. Too many times does the same word appear three or more times in consecutive sentences and it jars. Carry a thesaurus around with you, or use thesaurus.com (always on my Firefox search bar!), they're fantastic tools. Missing words are still common. Just give the story a scan through and you'll find them. Generally, much of the prose works (especially during Jameson's middle act at the cabin) but now and again it suddenly dips to a different level of writing, almost as if you've concentrated on certain parts over others. A lot of the dialogue follows the same pattern. It's obvious you're capable, but more self-editing is required.

The book is a touch overlong for the same reason: self-edit and you could shave 50 pages off easily without losing any depth. It'll only benefit.

Overall, this is a good book and it could be great. I've just realised who you are, and recall Hurricane Killers as a great, great script. You clearly have talent, and have high chances of a future in the world of professional fiction, so keep on writing...

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