Author's Showcase: The Plot Twisters
February 23, 2012
Great books, especially those that take the reader through unexpected turns and unanticipated directions with every twist of the plot, deserve great reviews, and these novels receive them.
The Book: Who Else Is There?
The Author: Philip Catshill
The Reviews: “The title of the book is perfect for the story. When cops go bad, ‘Who else is there’? As a police constable I found myself drawn into the story quickly. Mike’s troubles seem to pile on as he moves through the story and I found myself hoping he’d make it to the next page.
“The story takes place in the ’80’s which can be a tough sell for a story but the author does it well and I found it akin to reading an old case file. The hints of its date are everywhere, “Polaroid Camera” etc and I found myself chuckling about when I had used Polaroids at crime scenes. Some of the phrasing was pure British and I had to re-read some a couple of times before it sunk in, but I didnt find it detracted from the story.
“The pacing of the story is ‘spot on’ and the characters well written. As ‘good cop/bad cop’ stories go this one hit a home run. Verdict? “Recommended.”
Review No. 2. “If you like a whodunit, and are prepared for brutal accurate description of murder and general physical and sexual violence then you will love this book. Let me be clear that when the plot requires these pictures to be brutally accurate they certainly are. Generally though graphic description of murder and sexual and physical violence is avoided, or rather left to the deprivations of our own imagination. When we the plot requires that we see every tear or drop of blood we do.
“The main characters are very well rounded and believable, but personally I found it hard to keep up with the entire cast. This was more my fault than Philip Catshill’s. The first requirement of any whodunit is to keep up. My reading was too broken to allow this. When reading Agatha Christie as a youngster I always used to write a key word or two on each character on a rough piece of paper. Unless you can read this book in a couple of close sessions I would consider doing the same here. Those who have the opportunity to read this book quickly will obviously not have this problem. The book certainly has the power to keep one going provided the real world doesn’t intervene.
“The main characters, all as flawed as any real people, and all add real dimension to the story. We soon have a deep understanding of what makes them tick as individuals, with always a little held back for an appropriate moment of revelation. This is an adult book, which brings out many dark emotions as it explores some of the extreme aspects of human behaviour. Both mental and physical sicknesses are described very believably, as are so many of the raw emotions associated with these conditions.
“Perhaps by chance I did second guess the murderer, but never with anything like a freedom of doubt that could have spoiled the story. And although I can’t be certain, because as I have said I didn’t always keep up with all the nuances of every character, I certainly didn’t see any flaws in the plot. Generally speaking the reading was very easy, though I was rather irritated by being told by the author what certain medical words he had just used meant. I would have preferred that the word was explained, if really necessary, in a more natural flow of the story, or an old fashioned use of the asterisk had been employed. I rather felt as though a pedantic editor had meddled.
“I look forward to reading more from this author. I don’t except in very rare cases give five stars to any book. For those who like this crude device and regret that I have broken the full sets of previous reviews, let me say that I am inclined to five for plot, and five for the complex psychologically and mostly very believable characters. I can’t think of any aspects of the book that failed to score well.”
The Book: The Black Witch
The Author: Micheal Rivers
The Reviews: “This is one of the best novels I have read all summer. While I’m reading a book, I always keep a notebook handy so I can write down lines I particularly like. I would like to list four I loved from The Black Witch:
“1. The wonders and mystery of the Black Witch wound through their imaginations conjuring dreams of fortune, fame, and the glory of sailing the high seas once more.
“2. She holds you like a whore in the night, but she’ll take your soul and not think twice.
“3. They were playing a dangerous game with an entity that was unfamiliar to anyone in the room.
“4. So exquisitely perfect was the darkness of the heavens above that one would have difficulty believing it was a prison to the passengers and crew of the Black Witch.”
“This was a non-stop action novel. I absolutely loved the end. Like another said in her review, would be great if Micheal Rivers were to write a sequel to this novel. Even a series of books could be written, continuing on with the horror and unpredictability of Dorian Coe.
I look forward to reading all of Micheal Rivers’ novels. He has a great imagination and a style of writing I love.
Review No. 2: “’She holds you like a whore in the night, but she’ll take your soul and not think twice.’
“Yeah, The Black Witch is that and much more. Not my usual … well ‘thing’ I guess you could say (I love paranormal, horror type reads but know nothing of sailing) I was greatly pleased with what was within the pages of this novel. When Dorian Coe first set his eyes on The Black Witch, he knew in his heart that he must have her. Right then and there, Dorian is willing to give up his house, business, and everything he has to set sail along with his wife and friends. Nothing is as it seems and this ship holds a very dark and disturbing past.
“Not to mention that Evil itself is aboard and soon, in some way or another, takes over everyone on board. Set in the 1930’s what was thought to be a grand sailing trip turns deadly as the unexpected happens time and time again. One lesson to remember … when an old sailor gives you a warning, you ought to listen!
“A dark tale of good vs. evil, The Black Witch will suck you right in and spit you out at the end. Greed, murder, selfishness but also a tale of hope and faith. Author Micheal Rivers has done an outstanding job and will have you feeling like you are right there on the ship, in the story. Highly recommended!”