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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The Palace Guard

This is a clever, finely written and utterly absorbing novel. Once you have been introduced to the protagonist you cannot help but be drawn into the dark, complex world he inhabits as he slowly unfolds his grim and politically charged tale. It is a novel to read slowly, to savour and, yes, to learn from. It is a book I would buy if it were published. I hope it will be.

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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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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 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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An absorbing, slow-burning, exceptional novel

A novel for the connoisseur, well crafted, slowly developing and utterly absorbing. I was sorry to reach the end of it. This is a thoughtful and fascinating work.

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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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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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