I'm going to try my best to be objective and polite in order to provide my criticism as I don't believe any writer should be ridiculed if they have enough bravery to submit something to the public. It is my hope that he will take what I have to say, as well as everyone else and learn from it. That he's actually passionate about the craft and not simply cramming words onto a page in an effort to make himself famous. Given his constant Twitter posts requesting people to download his book I think I may be way off, but I've been wrong before.
So, Phil. Book Of Hartwell, the first in the Blood Of Shadow series...which I wonder about. I'm sure I'm not the only one but I feel as though I missed something. Some advice: I know you may not want to ruin anything upcoming but at least give a touch of detail. I had no idea where the mind reading came from, nor why Daniel didn't have a stronger reaction to someone else invading his thoughts. It just seemed like that was something he encountered every day and I know it wasn't because it was some...three pages into the story. Creating mystery is one thing, but a complete lack of detail says the desire to actually build a story isn't present. You just ramble through it, desperate to get it out. I'm the same way, but go back over it later. If you're not willing to put the effort into writing it, why would anyone do the same to read it?
Second piece of advice that lends validity to the above statement: Proof read. Seriously, I can't stress this one enough. I caught and and in one place, but awkward but later and several others I won't mention to keep the list small. Go through it at least once before you publish it, please.
And focus. You switch narratives, bound between flash back and present so abruptly it's jarring and toss in random bits of information about the characters that would be far more fitting elsewhere. Not to mention Chapter two ends with a fight. Chapter three begins with a fight. They are obviously two different occasions but there's no lead in. Even you saying Two months later Belinda was at her desk...etc. I know it's not, but it makes it seem like it's the same occurrence.
I'm not trying to be mean here, but I can't imagine these mistakes could slip passed someone who writes professionally all day. Maybe you're tired when you get home and in no mood to do something of this magnitude. Maybe they're old stories that you thought "Hey, I'll put them out there" and have yet to look at them again. Considering this one was released in July and the most recent the end of October I would say that's true, or you spend all your time in a fevered rush to get them out...for what reason I'm not sure.
There's no life, no charm and no passion. It's like your day job is bleeding over into your novels and they're two completely separate things. Bring a little personality to it, and share that with your pro/antagonists. I read it five and six times, trying to recall who these characters are because there's nothing to discern them from the others, minus the main one.
Not trying to dissuade you in anyway, or try to stifle the amount of downloads you're getting but if this is a series you love and something you truly care about, I hope you take my advice to heart and remember, above all else: It's better to spend twenty years publishing one great book than one year publishing twenty books no one will remember.
(review of free book)