I received a complimentary copy of Stratagem for an honest evaluation of its merits.
The book’s premise took the reality TV concept and stretched it to its limits, which intrigued me. I am glad I was not disappointed. Carrol established compelling characters (with one small deviation which I will address later) and the story line is very well paced. At one point, I was fascinated how the description of the video replay made me think the author was writing a screenplay, as she constructs the narrative with such precision that I could easily visual what was happening. Carrol also makes a big deal about the timeline which is important. I tend to read quickly, which I do not advise during these key segments because it is easy to not keep track of characters and their movements if you are going at too fast a clip.
Carrol also does a good job with her red herring of a suspect, as I did not figure out the actual culprit until near the reveal. The wrap-up was rather pleasant as well.
The only real complaint I had was motivation of the female detective. To her credit, Carrol provides an explanation for hard-line approach, but it seems to wrap up a little too neatly and the character is back on the right page before you know it. Again, this is the B story, so it’s not that big of a deal.
In short, if you enjoy a good suspense story, you really can’t go wrong with Stratagem, or, if this work is any indication, with Carrol’s other titles.
And, for a fortunate reader, here's your chance to win an $25 Amazon gift card.
Whether laced with abject fear or indescribable giddiness, one thing all writers dream about is going on a book tour.
You have visions of flying into a faraway town and being swept from book shop to book shop. You meet fans, sign copies of your masterpiece and get interviewed about you characters and what makes them tick.
When you’re an indie writer, this is where the bubble bursts. Forget jet-setting and limo rides. The only book tour you can afford to take is to chatting up about your latest tome with the cashier at Trader Joe’s or Target.
But there are economical ways to get people buzzing about your book and one of them is the virtual book tour. Basically, you sign up for a service where people agree to read your books and review them, providing that much needed booster shot either before or just after a book launch (Before works best).
The plus side is that people who others listen to are reading your book. They are sharing their thoughts, discussing the relative strengths and weaknesses of your story line and character descriptions. You have arrived. People who enjoy your genre have picked up your book and are telling their friends about it.
This also is the downside.
The problem with indie writing in particular is that you tend to live in this isolated bubble where your family and friends who love you are just amazed you wrote a book (or another book). They likely aren’t going to say anything too bad.
When you ask people to give honest opinions in their reviews, that is exactly what they are going to do. While I have more Amazon reviews than any of my other titles, my overall rating is lower than with my previous books. I still have really good reviews, but I’m probably not as good a writer as those who love me kept telling me I was.
All in all, I wholly recommend creative and cost-effective ways to promote your books, even if not every response is glowing.
There is an axiom about too much heat and a kitchen that comes to mind.
I received a complimentary copy of Chosen People in exchange for an honest review of its merits.
For years, Robert Whitlow has been marketed as the John Grisham of Christian Fiction, which I think might be a bit unfair. While it may have been true in the beginning of the Christian legal fiction genre there was no one but Whitlow, but that is not the case today (Cara Putman comes readily to mind, for starters).
Also, it presupposes there is one style in which one can write a legal fiction: in a conversational, around-the-campfire storytelling yarn. That may be how Grisham writes, but Whitlow has his own style.
Whitlow has matured in his narrative prose (as do all good writers) and that is on display in Chosen People. The characters are well formed and there is some humor to break up the tension that runs throughout the story. The author clearly has done his research and the locations both near and far feel real. As the characters walk the streets of Jerusalem, for example, you feel you are doing the same. And there were some secondary characters that were a nice addition to the tale.
I suppose that my chief storytelling concern was that the love triangle was not resolved in a way that made sense to me. In Whitlow’s attempt to set up both potential partners as interesting prospects, I thought Hana made a choice that went against her character. Then again, Whitlow might argue that he wasn’t setting up a triangle at all, or that I didn’t truly understand what was driving Hana and her decisions. The ending also seemed a bit rushed, but that tends to be an unfortunate trend in contemporary storytelling.
But, to be fair, these are smaller concerns when weighed against the positive elements of the tale. All in all, nicely done, Mr. Whitlow.
Check out this chance to win three of Whitlow's books.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.