Jim MacLachlan


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Smashwords book reviews by Jim MacLachlan

  • The Second Coming on March 19, 2010

    I've read a fair amount of fantasy, adventure & horror over the years - enough that I don't often find something really new that I like. I did this time - it was both unique & thrilling. An excellent dark fantasy or horror fantasy that sets the background in a post apocalyptic world based on our current one & the Christian myth, adds in some others, & stirs the mix into an intriguing mystery-adventure. It is not for the faint-hearted. All of the characters are flawed, most badly enough that they're not all that likable, but the reasons for this are revealed - slowly. Against my will, in many cases, I was drawn into sympathetic agreement with their plight & their actions. Revelations were logical, redemption plausible & plights were chilling. The action was well described & the scenery was awesome. Wow! What a trip! Usually, if I don't like or can't identify with one of the main characters, I put a book down. I couldn't this time. The writing was too good & the plot too intriguing. I was very surprised that a self-published novel (it is, isn't it?) read as if it were professionally edited. One of my biggest turn-offs is poor punctuation, logic flaws, rambling text & 'favorite lines'. (Pieces of text that don't quite fit, but are kept by the writer because they like them.) All of these are typical of self-published novels. I didn't find any here. The writing was tight - sometimes requiring close reading or I would miss an important point - Perfect! That's the way it should be, but often isn't, even in commercial publications. As I write this, the book is available only in electronic format for a couple of bucks on Amazon (or write the author). I hope to see it in paper format, someday because it is complex enough that I wanted to flip back & forth a few times to double check names, which I find hard to do in electronic format. If it does come out in paper, I will buy it & likely re-read it when the sequel is released & I read that (hurry up & write, David!). Definitely a keeper & a book I'd like to add to my collection.
  • 24:01 One Minute After on Sep. 25, 2012

    A bunch of short stories free from Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/122483 I wanted to review each story & they deserve it, but I didn't. They are often quirky, other times horrible &/or twisted, but all were very good. A lot of different genres were covered from Medieval fantasy to SF. I probably should have rated this as 4 stars, but it's free & very well written. That earns it an extra star & I'm not sure it doesn't deserve it anyway. "Nanny" is about nanobots with a great ending. "A Simple Trade" is a fantasy story. Excellent. "Spirits of the 'Cane" - plain horror with an interesting cast. "Edgar" A quirky game of magic. Very neat. I'll never look at cats the same way again. I could see them doing just this. "Galinda" Shades of Grendel with a Gardner twist. "A Kingdom for the Taking" A Medieval conspiracy. "A Darkness of Spirit" Magic, dragons, Medieval war, & spirit. Interesting on several levels. I'm still thinking about it, so it must be good. "Verdara Lightstar" Space opera - fun! "Science & the Greater Good" Wow! I thought I'd seen most SF twists on this theme. Didn't see this one coming, though. "The Roots of Fate" Not bad, but not my favorite story in the collection. Still, it was interesting & worth reading. "A Second Rising" Aliens have taken over our world & turned us into ignorant livestock. I highly recommend getting this & watch out for more by this author. He's good!
  • The Boy In The Box on April 24, 2013

    The story was excellent, full of twists & turns in a great noir style. The hero is more of an 'everyman'. He's not brilliant nor do we get to see how tough he is in a fight, but he's honest & dogged. There were some excellent characters, although not all were fleshed out quite enough. That made some a bit more intriguing, but left me hanging on others. Hmmm... that pretty much sums up the novel. It's well on its way to being a 5 star book, but it wasn't quite consistent enough. It didn't start out well. The first chapter was one of the weakest, but I kept reading & I'm glad I did. The story got stronger all the way and the end - well, I'm not sure if that's good or not, but I'm still thinking about it. Any book of this sort that leaves me pondering has a lot going for it. Editors are expensive, but necessary. There were quite a few words that even a decent ARC reader would have picked up - 'to' instead of 'too' & such. The whole story felt as if it could have used a bit of evening out. Still, I enjoyed it & this is an author to watch. He has an excellent imagination.