on June 3, 2011 :
There are a few errors with the writing in terms of grammar and composition. I don't normally notice such things but some of them just seem to stand out for me. There was one part where the things Henry and Tim said seemed to be mixed up. I agree with David Roth that certain phrases are used repeatedly.
For the story, it feels a bit far fetch as everybody is so willing to tell Henry everything and except for one person, everybody tells the truth. It feels like the whole story is made up of conversations between Henry and other people. There are several mentions of Henry being good at profiling people but I don't see any profiling being done on either the victim or the suspects.
(review of free book)
on May 27, 2011 :
What do a dead realtor, a sexy redhead, a missing photograph, a retired chief of police from Eagle River, Wisconsin, Palm Springs and a slew of mid-century tract homes that may or may not have been owned by movie stars have in common?
These are the key elements of For Sale in Palm Springs, a book by novelist Albert Simon (© 2004-2010 by DesertDreaming.com at Smawshwords.com, ISBN 0-976200-34-1) a thoroughly delightful murder mystery that could have been, but sadly isn’t.
It’s too bad. The material is there. Everything you need to make for a good, stay up late, sit on the edge of the chair, page turning thriller. You have a lush setting. Likable characters. A few dead ends. A decent, likable protagonist in the retired cop turned consultant, and a few wacky comic relief characters. All that’s missing is the thread that stitches them all neatly together.
Good novels are good stories that are well told. Simon has a good story. The problem is that he doesn’t tell it well. It may be forgiven since his native written and spoken language is Nederlands (Dutch), and this is his first novel, although at 160 pages, ‘novel’ is a bit of a stretch by today’s standards.
Simon’s mistake is two-fold. Good writing ‘shows’ rather than tells. Simon tells rather than shows. And he is in desperate need of good editing, something I find to be a problem with many self-published writers. The best story in the world will fail to gather an audience if it is poorly edited.
The problems with this first attempt are legion. The dialogue sections are not only shaky – remember this is not his first language – but every single one of them is tagged. He said. She replied. He answered. She agreed. That just isn’t necessary. Now and then, yes, but not every spoken line. The dialogue isn’t believable. When characters interact, you have to believe they would speak the way they do. I didn’t.
Another problem has to do with things like describing an action the same way repeatedly. In one page and a half section, a character is twice described as “turning the same color s her hair”. The same description is used of the other character in the same scene: “It was his turn to turn the color of her hair.” This descriptive technique is used in other places as well, as if the writer ran out of ways to creatively not show the action.
For Sale in Palm Springs is the first of five Henry Wright mysteries, and perhaps they get better. The seed is there, but it needs more time to be harvested. 2 ½ stars out of five for this first attempt.
(review of free book)
on April 13, 2010 :
I gave up after two chapters, so I suppose there could be a good story here. All I know is that I can't deal with the writing any longer.
The blatantly ignorant misuse of commas was a major factor. Each paragraph averaged a half-dozen commas stuck in it that didn't belong there. I'm counting comma splices in that; I don't think that Mr. Simon has a clue what the proper ways to join two clauses together are.
And I thought that *everyone* knew that each person's speech gets its own paragraph. Putting an entire dialogue exchange into a single paragraph is confusing as heck.
The story-telling was also deadly. The first two chapters were almost entirely exposition and backstory. Not a hint of tension anywhere.
I recommend that you take a look through one of the 'View' links above and see what you think before you download this one.
Also, for some reason, the EPUB version of this wouldn't let me select the font to read it in. The only available font was a sans-serif.
(review of free book)