The Bone Trail by Nell Walton is a well-crafted mystery novel marred by a scattering of f-bombs, “Jesus Christ” profanities, references to excrement, and an instance of masturbation, none of which added to the story, but indeed detracted from what is otherwise a compelling page-turner by a gifted writer. This reader got the impression that the gutter language was more an expression of I am Woman, Hear Me Roar than anything else. However, in every instance of crass verbiage another choice of a lesser crudeness would have worked as well with less jarring to the sensibilities of readers who do not cotton to such verbal assault in everyday life, much more in recreational reading. Readers should be prepared also for an undertone of anti-establishment a la the hippie and yuppie movements of the Sixties and Seventies of the last century. Toss in a bit of PETA-like horse love, the disappearance of two women, a journey of self-discovery by a big city journalist who investigates the disappearance, the blossoming romantic entwinement of the journalist and a male hero in the form of a handsome and sensitive Native American soul-mate, a bit of Native American mythology, a satisfying ending, and you have the story. It was good. Very good. It could have been better.
A few pages into Death After Midnight by Dean Fetzer and I realized that the author's effort was not working for me. A page or two later and it dawned on me that the author was especially enamored of adverbs. Rarely was a verb allowed to rest on its own merits without an adverb that was both superfluous and amateurish. “Glared menacingly...glitter disconcertingly... raising a hand unconsciously...staring blankly...waved distractedly...eyes actually focused...throbbed sullenly.” And so it went. In addition, there was a similar problem with adjectives, not to mention pleonasm. Toss in a jarring new scenario every two or three pages that seemed disconnected from the previous scenario and that had no bearing on the next scenario, an unbelievable murder sequence involving a stiletto heel (including one of the more foul language tirades you will read anywhere), a female psychic who materializes out of nowhere, a 170 year-old blind entity (human? demonic?) and his muse, and, well, after reading some 60 pages of this literary effort, I gave up. The overall syntax and the disconnected scenarios did not meet my expectations for an entertaining read.