Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Turning: Paul J Newell

The world is Turning. He can sense it. Now he has to stop it.

People are disappearing.

When Lleyton Quinn is arrested in connection with a missing woman, he insists he knows nothing about it. He's wrong. Soon he comes to realise that he is intimately entwined in the whole mystery. And when the female detective who arrested him pleads for his help, he is dragged to the centre of a phenomenon that could change everything. This is more than just missing people. The very fabric of society is being slowly unstitched by an unknown seamstress, and Lleyton has been chosen to pick up the threads. Before it's too late. Before he disappears too...

This book is an intriguing blend of crime-thriller and science-fiction. Comic, dark and surreal in places, the story is based in the near future, in a world not too dissimilar from our own. Rich in thought-provoking concepts, this novel touches on all aspects of humanity, culminating in an evocative new theory about the nature of our world. This is fiction... that promises to teach you something.

The Turning is the sort of book that would might well accrue a stack of personalised rejections and offers to consider the writer's next book when sent out on submission to mainstream publishers and agents. It is so very nearly excellent: but because of the author's inexperience in both writing and editing it doesn't quite reach the mark.

I can sympathise with Mr. Newell, because he makes the same sorts of mistakes that I make in my first drafts: we both over-write, we both use cliché, and we both like to hammer our points home and then some. The difference is that I then try to edit all those mistakes out, whereas Mr Newell seems content to leave them standing.

Overall, then, an impressive attempt which is let down by a lack of skilled editing. It's a shame, as beneath all the extraneous stuff Newell's writing is bright and pacey and engaging, with a light humour which reminds me a little of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar novels. Newell shows real talent and potential, and if he pays much more careful attention to his editing skills in future projects he might well go far. I read sixty-six pages out of two hundred forty-two to find my fifteen mistakes: however, I will almost certainly read this book right to the end and so I recommend it, despite its faults.


Lexi said...

I looked up this novel after your review, and started reading. It's very good; I'm going to buy a copy. Which made me wonder whether perhaps you could put a link in the post for other readers who want to know more?

Jane Smith said...

Lexi, sorry--I do usually add links to my posts, and I'm not sure why there's not one here. I'll sort it out as soon as I can. Thanks for the heads-up.

Jane Smith said...

Lexi, I've just checked and there is a link to this book on Amazon in my post. It's at the start of the very first paragraph after the back cover copy.

Lexi said...

Silly me, missed it.

Paul J Newell's novel has just arrived and I'm looking forward to reading it, thanks to your blog.

Paul J. Newell said...

Jane, many thanks for taking the time to review my first book, and indeed your kind words. I would of course be very interested to know what mistakes you have found, or a sample of them such that I might get an idea of what kinds of things I am missing. With any luck I can pass them off as my 'style' ;)

Lexi, hope you enjoy the book.