Duncan is a long time practitioner of the Arcane Arts. His interests range from archaeology to classic literature and occult research. In his youth, he spent time abroad while in service of the United States Navy. Duncan now lives happily with his wife and children in rural Tennessee and enjoys family above all.
Where to find Duncan McGonall online
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Smashwords book reviews by Duncan McGonall
- Ring of Truth
on Feb. 20, 2012
The imagery is very well laid for the imagination. A tale of implication...the action could go a hundred directions, even at the end! I enjoyed it.
--Duncan McGonall author of Bread of Fools Smashwords Edition
- Midnight Hunter Book One in the Midnight Hunter Trilogy
on May 02, 2012
Midnight Hunter by Bonnie Bernard
The first book of the The Midnight Hunter trilogy sets the character scene extremely well. Physical surroundings not germane to experiencing the characters are kept in check. What stands out the most in Midnight Hunter are the characters. The art gone into them seems natural and this quality induced the reader to endear even the purposely annoying ones.
Foremost is Donna. She is “different” struggling in vain not to be. She has “goddess toes.” Everyone who knows about the trait except her seem to recognize and understand their meaning. Donna is successfully portrayed as a tad socially awkward but of solid internal constitution in spite of her habit of second-guessing herself. Donna is a wholly believable character and nicely paired with her rather mysterious lover, Hunter, who is a rather incredible character. Yet revealing all there is to know in the first book of a trilogy ruins all the fun! Donna’s misgivings and quirks of personality are both convincing and endearing. Desperate for a “normal” and “orderly” life, that she knows deep down is outside the ken of her destiny, this character does most of the heavy lifting in the plot.
Speaking of heavy loads, Mo, is another very well-crafted character. Bossy, opinionated and pushy are just a few words that come to mind describing her. But she genuinely loves Donna, her best friend. Both aspects of this rather rough-edged character are well played throughout Midnight Hunter. If this book were a movie, Mo would win, hands down as best supporting actor. Mo is fierce one minute, tender the next; hateful then ogling. There is a reason for it but telling you may be a spoiler.
The interaction of the characters is what kept me reading. The dynamic of secondary family complications was well done for both Mo and Donna. They each have their issues and it adds to their roundedness as people rather than merely characters. After just a short time reading the dialog between the characters, each developed a “voice” of their own in my imagination. That’s not common.
Review by Duncan McGonall, Author of Bread of Fools
- The Citizens
on Aug. 22, 2012
Review of L.M. Smith’s The Citizen
The Citizen is a character driven story of a group of individuals abducted and thrown together in an apparently deserted, or perhaps mocked-up, “town.” All their basic needs are met, food, shelter and clothing and some latitude for choice is afforded. There’s just one catch, none of them are free to leave, yet there isn’t a captor or a minion anywhere in sight--only video cameras and ankle monitors that pack quite a punch. Of the five stranded, two develop a romance, the development of which is almost but not quite out of place, given personalities involved and circumstances afoot. My reaction to a few isolated elements was immediately mixed, but given time to ponder, I believe I have a fair grip on their purpose.
Character development of the protagonist, Jasmine is well done. The story is saturated with her voice and the frequent mention of her astrological sun sign is not actually needed. She is quite a bitch, at times, but the author’s earliest treatment of her suffices to establish a rationale. Left to her own devices she might prefer the loner lifestyle, but is thrust against her will into the setting of the story. That’s enough to make anyone permanently crabby. Still, the author displays high talent is her back-and-forth struggle to grow and yet remain true to herself in the process. Jasmine is wholly human and a wholesale believable character. Her humanity is never compromised even for sensation and this demonstrates to me a high calibre author with real potential.
One would not think that in the purposefully limited setting afforded the reader in the economy of The Citizen that there would be not much room at all for secondary characters. The temptation to highlight such beings is often too much for most authors to resist. Smith; however, does a marvelous job using secondary characters to support her protagonist. It should be noted also that the ideal romance is purposefully and skillfully sacrificed in the novel to forward the story. L. M. Smith shows courage as an author, here.
The twist in The Citizen, while not wholly original in basis, is original in treatment and an enjoyable lens through which to view the latest craze of supernatural creatures and beings in more naturalist terms. Smith’s rendering is an understated, nonetheless, chilling possibility for origins of some of the more overused mythic monsters present in the popular canon since the debut of Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight. The sequence used to lead the reader to that point of origin is done with an entertaining mystery-solving frame that does not reveal too much at one time. Accomplishing such a feat in a singular setting is at best difficult and an approach few authors will brave, yet Smith does a fair job with it and manages to keep the pace and flow interesting.
The reader is as limited as the characters in the novel within the limited frame. The predicament the abductees find themselves in is a real stumper and the weirdness factor is set early to a creeping pace toward a boil--like the frog in the kettle. Characters figure out what’s going on in pace with perceptions of the readers, only on occasion is the reader given a glimpse around the corner, and even then it is brief. The effect is the reader, in a sense, is in every way as limited as the characters. Well done, L.M. Smith. I give this one a solid four stars.