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on Sep. 09, 2012 :
Judge vs Nuts is a strange, somewhat off-putting title but an enjoyable book. It's two tales in one — partly about a new lawyer learning the ropes, partly about a murder investigation. I particularly liked the lawerly portion because of an interest in the way things work. As far as I can tell from my years of being dragged through the court system, it quite realistically describes our sometimes vain strivings for justice. The story is written in somewhat amateurish fashion, but that adds a bit to its charm, since the narrator is a rather amateurish lawyer as the tale opens.
It could use more dialog tags in order to make who is speaking clearer to the reader. It gives a great deal of Chicago history and myth, and so much description that at times I was reminded of Victor Hugo. An unusual homonym error crops up in the mention of "coffee clutch" rather than "coffee klatch" or Kaffeeklatsch.
And it has examples of the all-too-frequent confusion between plurals and possessives. Here's a quick lesson: Plurals add [s] or [es] except for certain old Germanic words such as mice and oxen. Possessives usually add ['s] (that is, [apostrophe s]) because they are abbreviations of an older formula: "John Smith his book" shortened to "John Smith's book." Possessive pronouns (its, hers, theirs, ours) are an exception.
There are some awkward sentence constructions, including the very first in the story, where a man waits for "the elevator filled with regrets." Pretty sure it's the man who is filled with regrets. And there's at least one passage where paragraphs are confusingly intermingled, as if the writer edited but neglected to remove the older version.
I don't particularly blame the author for the foregoing complaints, as these all should have been corrected in the editing process. What it indicates is that anyone who publishes with Echelon Press shouldn't expect much in the way of either content or copy editing.
The tale's narrator, Fiona Gavelle, is quirky, suspicious, nervous, and worried about her future — in other words, very much a real person with certain dryad overtones. The other characters are well-drawn and believable. Chicago is depicted quite as fully corrupt as it actually is, although the author denies the city's reputation.
Well worth reading despite minor flaws.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)