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I am the author of Western books "The Assassin", and "Bounty Hunter", as well as Suspense/Thriller "Escape". As well as short stories Day of the Assassin, The Mason Files, and Misconduct....all of which can be purchased on www.amazon.com. Fury at Sundown is a short story available for free on my website.
Pavarti K Tyler
on May 18, 2011 :
I have to admit I struggled with posting this review. So far in my short reviewing history I haven't had a negative review on my blog. Everything I've written up has either been something I chose from my shelf and already loved or something I sincerely enjoyed. I have had two books I passed on reviewing due to quality, but they were written by friends and I felt like telling them my concerns privately was the best course of action. With this book, however, I have no personal ties to it and did not enjoy it.
Initially I was excited to read A Soul Worth Taking; mostly because the cover is awesome. It's captivating and the title is enticing as well. While I'm not a horror aficionado, I do like the genre and as many of you know have written in the genre. I went into reading this with high hopes and excitement.
Unfortunately my excitement did not last long. James' prose is flat and confusing. He falls into the trap of telling not showing the events of the plot and never gives us real insight into the character's emotions. Being told someone is tired is very different from reading about their vision blurring as they try to focus their eyes on the road in front of them. (not an example from the book). I thought perhaps this was a style vehicle the author was using to take us through the initial events of the plot so that we could be carried into the deeper story quickly; not a choice I would make but I've seen it done, kind of like literary snapshots to get us the facts. This was not the case. I am disappointed to report the entire book was written this way.
Even in the first scene of the book I was unsure of what was happening. Had the parents who were leaving the hospital recently had a baby, gotten pregnant or adopted? Why would they be leaving the hospital with a picture of the baby if they'd just had him? Was he sick? If they're pregnant why did they stop to show the nurses their sonogram picture? Why would the nurses care? Was this some kind of miracle pregnancy or special conception? Eventually I decided that it must be an adoption and they'd had to leave the baby in the hospital because it was the only explanation that made sense with the fuss being made. I was wrong.
This is only one example of the kind of confusion and lack of content editing which runs throughout the book. If the reader does not understand what or why the events are happening, then why should they be invested in the characters involved?
In addition to the lack of description or emotional depth the book was riddled with editing errors such as "you're" vs. "your". While I know all books have the potential to have these kinds of errors (I found one in a Steven King book once if you can believe it) there were too many. Also, the kind of errors I found were too elementary for me to believe this book was properly edited. Believe me, I hesitate to even make this criticism (especially since I had to look up how to spell criticism *sigh*). I know spelling and grammar do not a quality story make. However, this is precisely what editors are for. If you cannot afford one there are a lot of writers groups you can join to swap critique and editing services. Hell, go to the local high school and ask the English teacher to give your book a read. Not editing is not an option.
These issues distracted me to the point I was not able to enjoy the story James was attempting to tell. When errors are enough of an issue they pull the casual reader (meaning me, who can't spell my name, not my editor friends) out of the plot then you have lost the reader's attention and interest, and at the end of the day, isn't that the point?
So in the interested in full disclosure, you should know I did not finish this book. Part of me thought I should make myself read it before writing a review in order to fairly assess it. But I think the fact that I was uninterested and annoyed enough by the writing style and character development that I didn't want to finish it is enough of a review in and of itself.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)