Book Reviews – Learn from them

I recently requested a book review from Bob Slaven, a reviewer I had been following for some time. I was extremely nervous about what he had to say, because this man is very honest, but I value his opinion. I am going to share this review with you and tell you what I learned from it.


By Rob Slaven “slavenrm@gmail. com”

This review is from: Dead of July (Paperback)
As is usual, I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. Despite that kindness I give my absolutely candid opinions below.

The high-level summary of this book is pretty straightforward. Our main character finds herself in a new city and almost immediately embroiled in trouble just because she tried to help out a child in need. What ensues is a mixture of violence, suspense and the paranormal.

On the positive side, our author has taken great and obvious care with her work. Seldom has an independently published novel come across my desk that is so well edited and free of grammatical and spelling problems. Thompson also has a knack for creating characters that pop with realism; these are the sort of folks I’d like to invite out for a drink sometime. They are candid, real and well-formed almost as if the author knows them in real life. I also enjoyed the way the author wove the supernatural and mundane aspects of the world together. Yes, our protagonist has contact with the spirit world but it’s not the center of the story but put forth as a sometimes casual aside. This attitude lends a great deal of believability to the supernatural aspects of the story.

To the negative, I asked the author specifically what genre she was targeting because at times the book seems to drift between suspense and memoir. She replied that it was intended to be suspense and that didn’t surprise me but it did reveal that she has a fairly steep hill to climb from a writing standpoint. The novel is written in the first person and includes a wealth of very specific anecdotes that in no way add to the suspenseful aspects of the novel. That, coupled with the first-person point of view, tends to squash any attempts at really building tension from one page to the next. We know a lot about the character and we can relate to her. She’s very real to the reader but it’s hard to build much suspense when the protagonist seems to spend so much time doing unrelated unsuspenseful things.

In summary, I like what the author’s done with this book and it has great potential but it does need some tightening up. As a reader we can see the action very vividly but the story does seem to lack the dark and grimy aspects necessary for a true suspense novel. I’d suggest that potential readers perhaps bookmark this author and wait for future installments when she has had a bit more of a chance to perfect her craft as I am confident she will. You may not be on the edge of your seat with this novel but you may well be with the next one.

Thanks Mr. Slaven, I appreciate your review and will call on you again. 

I see this as a good review. Why? Because he pointed out things I needed to know. Things that will help me with my future novels. Rob Slaven thinks I have the potential to write a better suspense novel. ‘Dead of July’ needed to be more suspenseful, and I think I knew that all along. As a new author, I have been struggling with how much smut and grime to put in my stories, now I know I need more. I am in the process of editing a couple of short stories I wrote prior to ‘Dead of July’ and when I’m done with them watch out world ‘cos here I come!




4 thoughts on “Book Reviews – Learn from them

  1. Interesting review by Rob Slaven. There is a multitude of ways to create a great suspense novel. As I (inwardly) characterised your book as ‘fun suspense with a supernatural twist’ – I do not completely agree with Rob. How you dealt with ‘Dead of July’ was unique. You did a great job with this book, Sandra.

  2. Thanks Karen. I think I’m trying to find that happy medium between Miss Marple and Stephen King. I’ll learn and grow. Hard to find the right niche, but I will….or I may make my own.

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