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Craft focused reviews from Editorial Department editors on popular titles and bestselling authors.

Editorial Analysis: WATCHERS by Dean Koontz Considering deft handling of extreme character arc and a unique characterization challenge in the author’s best-loved novel

Dean Koontz is a very funny guy who while contemplating his future as a geriatric (bunny slippers are involved) says he expects to feel then as he does now: that Watchers is the most satisfying book he’s ever written. He also believes many readers will think it to be his best, no matter how good any other books he has written—or will write in the future—may be.

The editor in me can’t help wondering what’s so special about this story to an […]

By |2020-09-30T18:10:39+00:00|Behind The Bestsllers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, TED Editor Posts, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: WATCHERS by Dean Koontz Considering deft handling of extreme character arc and a unique characterization challenge in the author’s best-loved novel

Cultivating Willing Suspension of Disbelief in Crime Fiction Tips and techniques based on two hit novels by Stephen King and Alexandra Sokoloff

A recent article in The New Yorker defines the willing suspension of disbelief as “the reader’s decision to put the argumentative, quibbling part of his mind into neutral and go along for the narrative ride.”

Stephen King is a master at this, and I’m sure I’m not alone in admiring how easy he makes it to engage us with his novels’ supernatural, paranormal, magical, or mystical elements even if we take some comfort in the belief that these things surely can’t exist.  […]

By |2020-06-19T20:55:03+00:00|Behind The Bestsllers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, TED Editor Posts, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Cultivating Willing Suspension of Disbelief in Crime Fiction Tips and techniques based on two hit novels by Stephen King and Alexandra Sokoloff

Editorial Analysis: BLUE MOON by Lee Child Considering what works and what could work better in Jack Reacher # 24

Author’s note: As a reader, I’m a loyal fan of the Jack Reacher series, awaiting each release with rabid anticipation. As a professional editor, I’m a longtime admirer of what Lee Child does well and, at times, a constructive critic of what I believe he could do better. I write about Lee Child often because I love his work and think there’s a lot to be learned from him. His fall 2019 release Blue Moon has given me plenty to […]

By |2020-06-16T17:33:07+00:00|Behind The Bestsllers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, TED Editor Posts, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: BLUE MOON by Lee Child Considering what works and what could work better in Jack Reacher # 24

Grisham vs. Grisham Considering authorial freedom within the confines of genre fiction

Did a bestselling master of his genre write the same novel twice?

On first glance, it might look that way. The premise and plot setups of John Grisham’s 1999 release The Testament and his 2013 release Sycamore Row are remarkably similar. Both novels feature:

  • The suicide of a wealthy man with a terminal disease, right at the beginning of the book.
  • The discovery of a last-minute handwritten holographic will that diverts a vast fortune from the family of expectant heirs to an […]
By |2020-06-16T17:33:33+00:00|Behind The Bestsllers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, Recommended Reading, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Grisham vs. Grisham Considering authorial freedom within the confines of genre fiction

Missing, Presumed, a novel by Susie Steiner Considering characterization, craft, and the conventions of mystery writing in a stunning series debut

by Ross Browne with Susie Steiner

One thing the editor in me loves about mysteries is seeing how successful authors navigate the challenge of writing entertainingly in a style of novel that’s inherently formulaic. For all its boundless appeal, mystery is a genre whose stories can be very similar in plot and structure, usually opening with the discovery of a crime and ending with the perpetrator being brought to justice in some way or another.

Many of my […]

By |2019-06-17T20:21:48+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, Mystery / Suspense, Q&A, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Missing, Presumed, a novel by Susie Steiner Considering characterization, craft, and the conventions of mystery writing in a stunning series debut

The Best Books on Writing Ever! Picks from our editors and staff

There are tons of books on this subject out there, ranging from “meh!” to “wow.” Because you’re our peeps and we don’t want you to waste your time with the former, our staff has put together a shortlist of the latter. We’ve included links to make it easier for you to find these awesome resources, along with the staff member’s take on what’s most useful, informative, or inspiring about them, so you can go straight to the good stuff.

And the best […]

By |2020-06-19T21:13:35+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Best Books on Writing Ever! Picks from our editors and staff