Review of: Still Life - the novel 

reviewed by worshipman on 04/03/2008
Credited Review
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 (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...

Other Reviews by worshipman 49

  • by worshipman on 03/07/2008
    The Adventures of the Mad Hatters more than lives up to its title: crazy risks paying off time after time. I enjoyed the exploits of these two lunatics and their schemes. Characters were good, and some of the information behind how they got away with it each time more than intrigued. The only downside I found was in the style of the narrative. The story unfolds in a single,... read
  • A review of Onward, Exodus
    by worshipman on 01/08/2008
    Blimey. This novel must have taken some time to write...? This tale/opus is indeed of a scale to match its setting and storyline, but I wonder if that acts to its detriment. It took me a while to really get into the story and WANT to read more, finding the myriad of characters initially rather confusing (something which didn't entirely rectify itself) but come page 100 or so... read
  • A review of One Up
    by worshipman on 11/30/2006
    Nice! Very affecting. I really appreciated the split screen technique, and especially the framing ideas and choreography thrown in with it, too. I liked it so much, that it was a little disappointing to see it disappear when they hit the fruit pie section. I can see why it needed to go, two separate souls MEETING, hence the loss of a separation, but I still found that short... read
+ more reviews