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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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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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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Nicely Constructed and Imaginative

This is a cleverly constructed book, well written and delightful to read. The prose is fluid and easy to read. The interweaving of the separate stories is finely drawn and the overall concept imaginative and appealing. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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A Masterful Piece of Writing

This is a novel with an intriguing story and fine characterisation. It has great potential and should be read by anyone who likes a well thought out story with characters who are psychologically convincing. The plot is authentic and plausible and the novel so well structured it is hard to find fault. An excellent read which deserves support.

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Entertaining and Thought Provoking

One of the most entertaining books I've read in some time, this book had me smiling (and sometimes laughing out loud) at its satirical insights into modern life, its social customs and its politics. Although written tacitly in the style of Douglas Adams, this book sets out on its own, original satirical journey and takes the reader with it from beginning to end. The style is fast, clever, insightful and very witty. Highly recommended. My congratulations to the author.

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A Book to Savour

This was a really enjoyable book to read. Characters are complex and finely drawn, their interactions very realistic and the world they inhabit very real. It is a book in which you can immerse yourself, carried along by a prose style which is clear and accessible. It is a novel which develops slowly but lingers long in the mind. A fine beginning to what I anticipate will be a very good novel. My congratulations to the author.

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Compelling

There are few stories on this site which have gripped me or entertained me more than this psychological horror story. The characters are so varied and so real, the dialogue so crisp and authentic and the plot so well constructed that it was hard to stop reading. It is original, highly imaginative and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I will follow its progress and the progress of the author with interest.

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An excellent Piece of Genre Writing

It is important that a book is judged by the criteria of its genre. It is absurd to criticise a novel for failing to be something the author never intended. In this romance novel, the writing style, the plot and the characters meld so well that the result is totally satisfying. I can only congratulate the author on achieving (in my view, perfectly) exactly what she set out to achieve, - a thoughtful, tender, moving, optimistic and delightful romance. It is an impressive piece of genre writing and an excellent book..

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A Dark, Disturbing Tale

For those of you who like your stories dark, your action fast, violent and bloody, your narrative full of pace and energy, this is for you. The main character is complex and fascinating, showing tenderness and strong values at one moment and unleashing violent retribution the next. A fast-paced tale which will keep you on the edge of your seat. But not for the faint-hearted.

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A Beautiful and Poignant Tale

An absorbing, memorable 'autobiographical-style' tale of childhood freedom and innocence and its encounter with the suspicious, guilt-ridden world of adults. Whilst it has the deceptively easy flow of a memoir this tale has great depth. You cannot emerge from it without mourning what has been lost and regretting what has become. So, take yourself back, open your eyes and feel that warmth of childhood again. This is a warm, tender and - yes - sad tale of growing up. Wonderful. I thoroughly recommend it. My congratulations to the author.

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Superb - Just Superb

Having read other novels in this series by rshifman, I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to read this, the first of this superb work. I was not disappointed. Richly characterised, emotionally intense, multi-layered, intriguing, exciting and beautifully written in a style which takes the reader through the novel like a magic carpet ride, this is a book I would read again...and again...and again. Don't miss the opportunity to get behind this author and give him all the support he deserves. This is a masterful work.

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A Tender, Moving Tale

This is a tender, moving story which holds the reader's imagination and doesn't let go. It is a beautifully written narrative, exquisite to read. The feelings of hope and optimism which the tale generates linger long after the final page. It is a book which has a profound effect on the reader. I highly recommend it.

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Deserves Support

This was a very enjoyable novel to read. The author has constructed a story in two time frames to cover the early relationship of two protagonists and their later involvement in the story of an orphaned child. Both stories are sensitively drawn and the characters are realistic. The two central stories carry you along and sustain interest throughout. I highly recommend it as a novel which, with a little work, will achieve 5 stars regularly. The author has produced a novel which is dramatic, intriguing and well developed. I wish her every success with it.

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Original and Captivating

This novel has an original and really captivating theme. It has great plot twists and enough excitement and drama to grip the reader. Characters grow and change as the plot develops and their relationships feel very real. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book to read and, with a little work, will be an excellent novel. I will follow the development of this author with interest. Congratulations on a very promising book.

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Lots of Potential

This novel has an exciting plot and some good characterisation. It is a quickly paced, exciting read with lots of drama and action. It requires more work to make it as good as it can be but it deserves support from Inkitt readers. My congratulations to the author on his achievement thus far.

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A Recommended Read

This novel is in its early stages but even after five chapters the characters and events have drawn me in and the story has me hooked. It’s hard to resist. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to develop. The world the author creates is very real and easy to visualise, the characters are intriguing and sometimes mysterious and there are many subtly crafted hooks.

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A Beautifully Crafted Work

There are some books which linger in the imagination and touch the emotions long after you’ve finished the final chapter. This is one of them. A great narrative, superb descriptive prose and characters with depth and strength. Superb.

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A Great Story

This is an excellent novel, perfectly pitched for its target audience. The narrative is fast moving, the dialogue crisp and the characters interesting. It was gripping even for an adult reader. I would recommend a thorough and close edit to reveal the full potential of this very good book.

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The Keeper's Secret

This was a very enjoyable read. The writer develops an exciting and sometimes tense and powerful atmosphere. The world in which the story is set feels very real and the main characters are clear and, where necessary, sympathetic. A further draft is necessary to make the best of the novel but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to other reviewers and readers. it deserves support.

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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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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 Writer of Promise

If you like a story which twists and turns and keeps you guessing until the very last moment, with clear characters and a well-crafted plot, this is for you. I congratulate the author on her achievement and look forward to reading more of her work.

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Fascinating and Unique

Brian Cadwallader's book and the other short stories under his profile reveal a fascinating insight into the workings of the law and the often harrowing or complex cases faced by a lawyer. They contain a level of technical detail which allows the reader access to the often frustrating delays and the convoluted route the law takes on its path towards justice. I highly recommend it as an absorbing account of this process. Having said that, it is a very difficult book to review because there is nothing like it on this site. It is best approached without any preconceived notions or expectations. Just enjoy and learn.

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When the Sky Caught Fire

The story is interesting, the characters clear and distinct and the action dramatic. Some of the characters rise from the page and take on a reality which makes them appealing to the reader. These are very positive qualities in your novel and is no mean achievement. The overall context of the tale doesn't always convince but it could be improved dramatically by creating a very clear 'time and place' for the action. A really tight re-draft would make a huge difference. I congratulate the author on her achievement thus far and wish her success in taking the novel forward.

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Original and Intriguing

It is always difficult to review a novel in its early stages but in this novel the signs are very positive. The story is very original and it is told in an exciting and interesting way. The prose style is clear and comfortable to read, the characterisation three dimensional and the plot fascinating and totally convincing. This is a clever piece of work and is obviously well thought out. With a little work it could easily be a five star novel. It was a pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

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A Book with Great Potential

It's early days to write a definitive review but several things are immediately clear. Here we have a writer who can capture the essence of a scene or a character in a few sharp, well-constructed sentences. The protagonists leap from the page, fully-formed and three dimensional. The dialogue is very natural and flows beautifully, driving the narrative forward and revealing even greater depths to the characters. The plot is intriguing, totally believable and engrossing. Yes, it needs a few revisions here and there, a close edit, a certain tightening of the prose, but the qualities this author shows make this no more than the natural progression of professional writing. I wish the author every success with this and will return to follow the story as more appears.

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One to Watch

This is an intriguing tale, full of twists and turns following two couples in different time zones. The theme is extremely well handled and utterly convincing. The writing style is clear and well structured and has an elegance and flow which make it a pleasure to read. The writer deserves my congratulations both for the quality of the narrative and her authorial skill.

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A Remarkable and Outstanding Work

There are some books which linger in the mind long after you have finished them. There are others whose characters form such a presence in the reader's life that it is like losing friends when you finally close the last page. Others bring tears at their denouement. Some inspire the reader and make them feel they understand the world and themselves better. Occasionally a book will give a glimpse of the bejewelled head of the phoenix stirring in the ashes of a burnt out world. This is one of those rare books which does all of those things. Congratulations. If this book isn't published in the not too distant future I will begin feasting on my edition of Proust. Let me know when it's in the bookshops; I plan to be one of your first customers.

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One to Follow

This novel is in its early stages but it shows a lot of potential. It is a fascinating concept and seems well researched. The historical setting is convincing and the characters already showing depth and complexity. It is written in a fluent and easy style and there is an abundance of tension and jeopardy in the plot - sufficient to keep the reader engaged and wanting more.. I anticipate returning to this book as it progresses and I will re-consider these tentative gradings when there is more to base them on. But the signs are good and I would encourage other readers to sample it and follow its progress.

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Magnificent

I have read few books which have given me greater pleasure than this one. Intelligent, thoughtful, finely structured and beautifully written in exquisite prose, this is a novel which lingers in the mind long after the final page has been closed. It has a mystical, hypnotic quality which defies description. The world which the author crafts is so tightly meshed to technological and social changes of the present day, that the dilemmas the characters face seem totally real and credible. It is a remarkable book. My sincerest congratulations to the author.

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A Warm-hearted Tale

A sweet, romantic tale typical of the author. Feel-good all round. Expressed in clear, concise language in a short story format. If you like a nice, sentimental, warm-hearted story - read on.

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Marriage Partners

A delightful, gentle, heart-warming tale. A pleasure to read. It brightened my day.

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Devereux

An entertaining romp with a modern day hero in a Mediaeval setting. An interesting array of characters, a smattering of romance and a supernatural element. What more could you want?

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A Finely Crafted Novella

This is a fascinating take on Conrad's Heart of Darkness, original, imaginative and beautifully crafted. The narrative is conveyed in a prose style which is masterly and assured. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

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Origins

The qualities of the book leap out of the page - the emotional intensity, the psychological reality, the straight, exciting, dramatic narrative. It isn't an easy, comfortable read but, if you like books which work on different levels and are told with fearless honesty and integrity, then this is for you. The author makes it clear that this is an early draft, which should be taken into account, but there is no doubting its potential quality. I congratulate the author on her achievement and look forward to reading the final, edited work.

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Don't Miss This One

The author takes you on a fascinating journey through the trial and tribulations, successes and drawbacks of an innovative 'picnic' project. He intersperses the journey with informative and colourful background material, family anecdotes and even the occasional recipe. All of this is achieved in a light, fluent style which captivates the reader and entertains from beginning to end. It is a humorous, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable book. It would benefit from a close edit, particularly towards the end of the book, just to get the very best out of it.

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A Writer of Promise

This novel has imagination, interesting characters and an interesting plot. With work it has the potential to be a really good book. My congratulations to the author on his achievement.

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One not to miss

Pull up a chair, sit back and just soak up the atmosphere of this story. But prepare for some drama and intrigue and a certain amount of pain. This is definitely one to watch - powerful, dramatic and well written. Congratulations to the author.

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August in D Minor

This is a novel with a lot of promise. The author has a powerful prose style and a keen insight into the phrasing of dialogue. I will be watching out to see how her work progresses. My congratulations on a well written, psychologically fascinating and exciting narrative.

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An original and gripping novel

This is a novel with great potential which rt rises way beyond the confines of its genre. The story takes a hold of you and doesn't let go. It is told with a mixture of good imagery and description and pacey dialogue and the characters emerge clearly and sympathetically. There are moral questions posed and complex situations encountered. Altogether, a work which will only get better with further edits. One to watch out for. My congratulations to the author on her achievement.

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One to Watch

There are just two chapters here so it's impossible to judge the work properly but there is a lot of promise here. One character in particular leaps from the page and grabs your imagination. The settings are well described and clear and there are moments of poetic beauty in the language.

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A Tale of Revenge and Retribution

If you like a dramatic tale, well written, with more than its share of savagery followed by a perfectly satisfactory amount of revenge - read on. You'll love it.

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Deliciously Dark

If you haven't read this author's short stories, head straight to his profile page and start. Powerfully imaginative, wonderfully gothic, deliciously dark.

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'Sanglante' Indeed

This is a darkly humorous gothic tale and quite irresistible. A great short story.

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Absorbing

Some books grab your attention and hold it. This is one of them. A dramatic, well-constructed plot, sympathetic characters and a narrative style which makes reading a pleasure.

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A Book of Great Promise

This is a well constructed plot with a fascinating array of well visualised characters. It is vast in scope but never lets us forget the smaller people, the individuals caught in this vast world, and draws us frequently back to see and feel their plight. Relationships and friendships come and go, people meet and part, there is sadness and loss but also decency and loyalty. Through it all, the two protagonists weave a perilous path. This is a novel that deserves your support.

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One to watch out for

This novel quickly immerses the reader in an exciting and intriguing story, full of interesting characters and situations. The relationships between key characters are finely drawn. Although incomplete, this novel is one I plan to keep an eye on. It has left me wanting to know what happens next. I can only see these four stars becoming five as the novel progresses and more readers engage with it. I highly recommend giving it a read..

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A Great Read

I would recommend this story to anyone who like gritty, fast paced thrillers, sharp dialogue and fascinating and surprisingly sympathetic characters. There’s barely a word wasted and yet the characters and settings are brought into fine focus. The reader is there with them. A great book with even greater potential. My congratulations to the author.

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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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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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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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Grammar Punctuation

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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