Barry Litherland

Writer of literary crime fiction, reader, amateur photographer, walker, cyclist, springer spaniel owner. Lives near John O'Groats, Scotland

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The Black Lake

This is an impressive work. It's the sort of book I'll revisit knowing that I'll find something new on each reading. Well written, varied, interesting and avoiding the inevitable dangers of pedantry in this kind of work. A thought provoking book.

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Rats in the Pipes

Your writing style is secure; you don't waste words and you keep your sentences punchy and short. The narrative seems good and a decent story is emerging. There are places where a little more editing would sharpen the impact on the reader - look at the first page especially because this is where the first hook goes in. The disjoint between para 1 and 2 is a bit jarring. Also, avoid the use of passive tenses. It slows the narrative. One last thing (and it may be a personal thing so please ignore if you disagree) - I know it's a common feature of these sorts of books to simply drop items and labels into the narrative because they are everyday features of futuristic life. I always find it a bit artificial. Sometimes you need to find a way of making their meaning clear (without exposition).
Overall, well worth pursuing. I enjoyed it. Hope this helps

(Great title, by the way!)
Here's mine just for interest.
.https://www.inkitt.com/stories/thriller/225508

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Recommended

An exciting and engaging plot, well written, with credible characters and settings. I particularly like the manner in which the author integrates fictional information without the sense of artificiality which often accompanies such material. The novel has depth and varying textures and moods which give it a very authentic feel. I wish the author every success with this work.

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A Gripping Read

Congratulations on a well constructed plot which draws the reader deeper and deeper into the imaginative world you have created. The narrative is exciting and compelling and becomes very real to the reader. Very well done. I look forward to reading more.

A thorough edit to ensure consistency of tenses will increase its appeal even more.

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A Masterful Handling of a Complex Tale

A tour de force - the author's handling of this complex tale is assured and masterful. He manages to deal with a complex theme at an individual and a universal level very effectively. The reader identifies with the characters who are finely drawn and through them engages with the wider issues. This is a novel which will make the reader think more closely about the nature of the modern world. I congratulate him on his achievement.

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An Outstanding Book

This is a gritty, dramatic novel with a tightly drawn and yet expansive plot. The themes, very relevant to current times, never overwhelm the narrative which is powered by real, flawed human beings caught in a maelstrom of events which could overwhelm them. The language, tinged with humour, is masterful and assured. Highly recommended.

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A Refreshing Change

It's a pleasure to read a book which tries to do something thoughtful and different. The use of lyrics / poems, the playscript format of some dialogue and the very effective use of present tense combine to create a book which demand and deserves more than a cursory read through. I wish the author every success with what is a very intriguing story.

A careful edit to ensure tense consistency and to reduce the amount of exposition and 'tell' rather than 'show' would make it even better.

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Topaz

There are so many good things about this book. It's a tidy, interesting story. The first chapter hooks the reader and interest is maintained throughout. The characters are good - notably the two sisters - lovely contrast here - and the dialogue, explicit as it is, really works. I love the use of colloquial language in their exchanges. For the most part the writing is convincing and real. I think the book would benefit from a close edit - notably in the sex scenes where I found the 'voice' unconvincing. I wasn't sure who I was listening to. Also watch out for sudden shifts of perspective eg from woman to man in the sex scenes. I nearly go whiplash! Good fun, though. Really enjoyed it.
If you want to give my novel a look…….
https://www.inkitt.com/stories/thriller/225508

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Rise of the Horned King

You've got a decent story here and the characters are beginning to come to life. You obviously have a good command of language and can write well. The story is enjoyable and generally keeps the attention of the reader. I think you should concentrate on the pace of the narrative. There's an awful lot of description here which can slow up the flow. Instead of feeling intrinsic to the flow it sometimes makes the reader stop and wait before taking up the plot again. There are little things that could help: use more active language. Not "seemed to appear" "appeared!" Avoid modifying words and phrases like these. Also, cut down on the present participles - all those "-ings". Sometimes a new sentence is much more direct and stops the language being too starchy.
I hope these comments help. I never see the point in just writing 'yeah, it's good' We can all improve and I'm no better than anyone else. I think you've got a good story. A bit of editing (it's tedious and never ending, I'm afraid) and I think you've got a good book here.
.Keep writing!

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Stray

Yeah, I think you've got something here. I enjoy your writing style and your narrative bubbles along and takes the reader with it. There's good tension and plot development. The story seems to be developing well.
I think the text would benefit from a ruthless edit (which I guess will come later). There are a few unnecessary adverbs and sometimes the pace slows down when you offer unnecessarily detailed description. Sometimes, one crisp sentence can do the work of a paragraph. There are tense changes in the non-italicised part of Chapter One, from present to past. I'd also try and firm up the character of Mason and try to take some of the starch out of the dialogue.
This may sound very critical. It isn't. It's the sort of thing you can remedy with a serious edit. I do think with a little work this story has potential and 3's will soon be 4's and 5's. I do hope this helps.
Just for info my own novel can be found at
https://www.inkitt.com/stories/thriller/225508
No obligation.

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Lots of potential.

Okay, - good writing style, plenty of insight into characters, nice sense of drama, almost ethereal. I liked the shift of perspectives and the increased depth this provided. Almost poetic use of language.
Maybe the different perspectives would benefit from a change of voice or tone.
Perhaps the ethereal, internal kind of mood you develop is at the expense of a few details which would ground it - just something physical enough in the context to make the reader feel the grit of the street. I don't know. Worth a thought though.
Occasionally too expositional. It may be a personal quirk and therefore not to be taken as a criticism but I like stories to unfold through very real, contextualised setting so the drama plays out directly to me. Again, may be worth a thought.
I enjoyed reading this. It has potential.

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A Very Promising Novel

This novel has a complex, intriguing and imaginative narrative and some clearly drawn and engaging characters. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It requires a further close edit to reach its full potential but I wouldn't hesitate to encourage others to read and review it. Great potential.

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Recommended

A plausible and highly readable story of political intrigue and corruption with strong characterisation and a gripping plot. This novel draws the reader deeper and deeper into a tense and dangerous world where 'little people' combine to fight back against the cynical but powerful political and industrial aristocracy. Highly recommended.

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Outstanding

This is a finely written, beautifully crafted and utterly convincing novel. It grabs your attention from the first few pages and doesn't relax its grip until the last paragraph. A brilliant plot and great characterisation. Worthy of an agent's attention. Congratulations.

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Monster Behind the Masks

A well written and interesting story which leaves the reader with plenty to think about. Some excellent prose writing which creates a very real physical context and good characters. Well worth a read.

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Apprehension Within a God

Although in its early stages this novel shows promise. The author has a vivid imagination which translates well into powerful prose. The evil forces are truly evil and the scale of the story immense. Some areas need a little clarification and even simplification and it is inevitably difficult to judge a full novel from the first few chapters but the signs are good.

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A Thoroughly Absorbing Novel

This is a well constructed, intriguing and gripping narrative with appealing characters and a storyline which keeps the reader's interest from beginning to end. This is not my preferred genre but I was still drawn to read it through. The writing style was fluent and comfortable to read with little redundancy. One final close edit should be undertaken to eliminate the few remaining errors. A very good, highly recommended read.

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Intriguing and well constructed

This is a well constructed and intriguing tale with plenty of suspense and good characterisation. It is in its early stages but the work has lots of potential. I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds. I wish the author every success.

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Poetry of real quality

How rare it is to read a collection of poems which combine great technical skill, emotional integrity and a subtle but tight structure. This is very original work. I congratulate the author on a fine achievement.

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Lots of potential

This is a lively, exciting st0ry with clear characters and snappy dialogue. It needs a close edit but I would enjoy reading the completed novel. Congratulations on a good start.

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A moving tale

This is a well written and appealing story which maintain he readers interest throughout. The author displays a real grasp of figurative language and the dialogue is convincing. It is a book which is relevant and moving. Recommended.

My only criticism (and I leave it to the author to reflect on its relevance - or not) is that events started to stack up at times. It was as if I could see the skeleton of the story beneath the flesh and there was a consequential loss of credibility.

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Lost in Limbo

This is a finely written narrative with a strong storyline and good characterisation. It held my interest from beginning to end - no mean achievement. The book has great potential and I wish the author every success with it. I've read and reviewed a lot of books over the years. I'll remember this one. Congratulations.

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A Story with Potential

This isn't my usual genre of choice but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the tale. There's an interesting story here and it's well worth a read. I think there are issues with pacing - sometimes the story seems to be held up by a lot of detail that could be omitted or shortened and I'd like to see the characters strengthened so that each comes across quite distinctly. Kendricks achieves this brilliantly.
I think it was Mickey Spillane who said that an opening chapter sells this book and the last chapter sells the next one. Cynical maybe but probably true. That first chapter really needs to bite.
A vigorous, maybe even ruthless edit would be a good next step. The story's there. The telling just needs a little polish. The 'threes' I've rated the book shouldn't be seen as a heavy criticism. It won't take much to turn them into fours and fives.
Good luck with it. .

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Vacation Identity

Yes, intriguing and solidly written. I liked the build up in the early chapters which added question to question and left me wanting to find answers. This is a novel well worth persisting with. I think you need to get rid of some extraneous material, pare down the language to its bare bones. 'Suddenly' 'Now' unnecessary adverbs, passive tenses, modifiers, adverbial clauses which don't add much. It's not a huge job but it would make a big difference to the pace of the narrative. You need to be ruthless. It'll also help ease out some of the formality of the language which can be an obstacle.
All in all, though, well worth a bit of work. Those three stars will quickly become 4's and 5's.
I hope this is helpful.
Good luck with your writing.

In case it's of interest, this is the link to my own novel:
.https://www.inkitt.com/stories/thriller/225508

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The Case Files of Jake Malone

I enjoyed reading this. The narrative is pacey and draws the reader on and the protagonist is interesting. The writing style is suitably pared back which ensures momentum is maintained. The characters are neatly drawn. I think a ruthless edit could pare back some unnecessary words and phrases - especially dialogue markers. Sometime 'said' is enough. The reader can usually supply the tone from the context or the words. I'd also have a quick look at the first chapter where Grace and your protagonist meet. It's very important to get this right. I'm not sure it quite works yet.
Well worth persisting with. Good luck with it.

This is the link to my own novel if you have time to take a look.
https://www.inkitt.com/stories/thriller/225508

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