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

CASINO ROYALE, by Ian Fleming: A Most Pleasant Surprise Considering thriller craft and the delights of the unexpected in the first James Bond novel

Up until last week, one notable blind spot in my reading life was Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. I loved the movies of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore era but, unimpressed by a later book in the series (written by one of four authors who took the helm after Fleming died), decided that Bond was a character best enjoyed on the screen. It was the somewhat formulaic nature of the stories and lack of character depth in […]

By |2021-05-11T17:04:29+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB, The Writer’s Craft, Thriller|Comments Off on CASINO ROYALE, by Ian Fleming: A Most Pleasant Surprise Considering thriller craft and the delights of the unexpected in the first James Bond novel

The Urban Setting Thesaurus & The Rural Setting Thesaurus A working author's perspective on two unique resources for writers of any genre

Ackerman & Puglisi have published several helpful thesauruses for writers. This review covers both their urban and their rural setting thesauruses, which they recommend be used together.

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces

Drawing Readers in Through Emotion-Driven Imagery and Realism

Introductory Chapters

The first part of the book consists of eight chapters filled with advice. The authors start by dispelling the misconception that the setting isn’t important. They explain how it can be used as a vehicle for characterization […]

By |2021-08-11T20:33:21+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, LF, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Urban Setting Thesaurus & The Rural Setting Thesaurus A working author's perspective on two unique resources for writers of any genre

Editorial Analysis: WRECKED by Joe Ide Considering the pros and cons of irredeemable antagonists in crime fiction

I’m not exaggerating when I say the discovery of Joe Ide’s IQ series made an often-awful 2020 more bearable. Wrecked is the third book in this series starring the fiercely intelligent but lonely and isolated Isaiah Quintabe (“IQ”), who on first glance might resemble a modern-day Sherlock Holmes of Long Beach. In this story, Isaiah and his sidekick Dodson (kinda rhymes with Watson, doesn’t it?) help a reclusive artist find her long-lost mother and escape the wrath of five former soldiers determined […]

By |2021-02-24T16:02:31+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Mystery / Suspense, Recommended Reading, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: WRECKED by Joe Ide Considering the pros and cons of irredeemable antagonists in crime fiction

DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, by Jeff Lindsay Considering pacing, plot, and story setup in the first 50 pages

Flap Copy: He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likable: He only kills bad people.

Ross’s Take: Though Darkly Dreaming Dexter was a book that I feel could have been improved, there’s a good deal the author does quite well in terms of pacing, story setup, drawing readers into the world […]

By |2021-02-05T16:02:53+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, First 50, General, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, by Jeff Lindsay Considering pacing, plot, and story setup in the first 50 pages

THE CRIME WRITER, by Gregg Hurwitz Considering a special literary treat for writers and a masterful lesson in how to write mystery/suspense

If there were ever a novel that writers and editors could take special pleasure in devouring like candy, The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz is it. Putting aside the clever plot device that makes the book so naturally irresistible to novelists, The Crime Writer is a smartly written novel that stands out as a role model of writing and storytelling craft in the mystery/suspense genre.

Factor in that it’s about a mystery writer who, with the help of his editor, uses the […]

By |2021-08-02T23:59:31+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, Book Reviews and Analysis, General, Mystery / Suspense, Recommended Reading, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on THE CRIME WRITER, by Gregg Hurwitz Considering a special literary treat for writers and a masterful lesson in how to write mystery/suspense

Editor’s Eavesdrop: An Intimate Conversation with Ken Follett and Lee Child Considering writing and publishing perspectives from two masters of their genres

One silver lining to the challenges of the writing life in 2020 is the growing number of popular authors doing online events with their fans. This gives us the opportunity to get up close and personal (if only virtually) with some of the biggest names in publishing, and in many cases pose questions to our favorite authors directly.

When we saw Ken Follett and Lee Child were teaming up for such an event, our […]

By |2021-02-02T19:37:58+00:00|Behind The Bestsellers, General, Historical Fiction, RSB, The Writer’s Craft, Traditional Publishing|Comments Off on Editor’s Eavesdrop: An Intimate Conversation with Ken Follett and Lee Child Considering writing and publishing perspectives from two masters of their genres