Thursday, 7 May 2009

Secrets Unveiled: Shesena Pledger

The Harris Family, America's most notorious fiction crime family of her time, is thirsting for one thing: blood. Faced with their most fierce rival to date, the Harris' will stop at nothing to rest assured that their nemesis is at least six feet below anyone else's reach. And with their biggest opponent finally out of the way, the Harris' can taste the sweet flavour of pure vengeance on the tip of their tongues...and they’re salivating for their full meal.

Nick Miller can't wait to get off of work so he can escape the madness surrounding him. From constant memories of his suppressed past to continuous news coverage of ‘Cleopatra's’ death, Nick is aching for relief of such a mentally draining day. So much so, that he finds this comfort in the wrong hands. Will this chance encounter open a door that leads to the secrets behind Nick's past? Or will his lapse of judgement cost him his last breath?

As Nick's world collides with that of the blood thirsty Harris Family, he comes face to face with the one thing that terrifies him more than the thought of dying: the truth about his life.

Secrets Unveiled is written in a very melodramatic style. The author's reliance on single-line paragraphs and broad hints of bad things to come results in a choppy read and a confusing, overwritten text which is adolescent and angsty rather than intellectual or analytical. I read just three pages out of what looks like a very dreary 319 in order to find my quota of fifteen errors.


DanielB said...

Out of interest, Jane, do you count blurb and contents when beginning the tally for your fifteen errors? I ask because The Harris' made me wince with its rogue apostrophe. (What do you call more than one Harris? Harrises, surely? Or preferably choose a less cumbersome surname.)

Jane Smith said...

I look at the cover first, as it stands in for a query letter, I feel. If you want to wince again, I've got a review scheduled for a book which has a major punctuation error in the subtitle.

After I've read the cover, I move to the pages. And yes, that apostrophe got me too and yes, it's on my list of problems with this particular book (I keep detailed notes). You're right: Harrises. Not Harris's or Harris' because that would imply posession rather than plural. As we, at least, both know.

Sally Zigmond said...

It wasn't so much the punctuation errors that made me wince--although they did--but the rash of cliches. There must have been at least 10 in that blurb alone.

Jane Smith said...

That's the problem with so many of these self-published books: they're well-enough printed and designed, but the writing just isn't good enough on any level. It's not just the copy-editing; it's not just the plotlines, or the clumsiness, or the great big infodumps; it's the writing.

Most of the writers I've reviewed here could be good if they'd only take more time to learn their craft: instead they've rushed into publication, and the result is a heap of dreadful books.

I'd love to find some really good ones. But they just don't appear, and this reinforces my view that most self-published books are bad.

DanielB said...

Good point, Sally - I'm afraid the rogue apostrophes just blinded my critical faculties and I didn't even get as far as analysing the style. Cliches, eh - don't touch 'em with a bargepole, avoid 'em like the plague and if you use one I'll come down on you like a ton of bricks!

Rushing into publication - that's exactly it. I see it all the time. People have been trying for two, three years to get published, they've been turned down by every agent and publisher they've tried, and so they conclude there must be either (a) a conspiracy or (b) a cock-up. Either they're deliberately being excluded from the marketplace for some nefarious Masonic reason, or their difficult experimental fiction is not being recognised because of the editors' lack of perceptiveness and nous. Option (c) - that their book just isn't good enough to be published and they need to go away and work on their writing - hardly ever occurs to them.

I was sending stuff to publishers for 10 years before I got anywhere. I think I wrote about five full-length, miserably bad, unpublishable books. (Admittedly most of those 10 years were spent as a know-it-all teenager...)

Jane said...

Daniel, your comment about Options is the sharpeest and most succinct description of the mind of the not yet-published-and-it's-a conspiracy brigade I've ever read. I teach creative writing and the number of times I hear from earnest writers convinced their meandering action, character and conflict free epics are not published because of a) and b) has never ceased to amaze me. And yes, option c) oh so rarely occurs which is so sad because taking a step back, and doing some rewriting could breathe life into much of their work.

Kristen said...

"Daniel, your comment about Options is the sharpeest..."

Ha! Caught you! I knew one day I'd catch you in a typo!


(I'm very much playing. Love your blog.)

Jane Smith said...

Kristen, I've only just seen your last comment and you made it ages ago! So sorry!

Come on. Don't you know about things being "sharp, sharper, sharpest, sharpeeeest"? It's a matter of emphasis and degree. AND I was playing the part of the Spanish Inquisition when I typed that comment. So there.