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

Editorial Analysis: SUDDEN PREY by John Sandford Considering characterization and its impact on story in a bestselling crime series

by Ross Browne

Anyone familiar with my taste in books probably knows how much I love John Sandford and admire his skills as a writer. One reason I like his Lucas Davenport series so much is that these deftly plotted novels usually go deep into the minds of deranged killers in seriously engaging and convincing fashion. Understanding what makes his bad guys tick and seeing their world through their eyes is part of the dark appeal […]

By |2020-06-16T18:19:36+00:00|Behind The Bestsllers, Book Reviews and Analysis, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Editorial Analysis: SUDDEN PREY by John Sandford Considering characterization and its impact on story in a bestselling crime series

South of Hell by P.J. Parrish A “First 50” Review

by Ross Browne

Flap Copy: For Louis Kincaid and his lover, female detective Joe Frye, the present and the past collide when they team up to find out what happened to Jean Brandt, who was reported missing by her husband from their Michigan farmhouse in 1981. Jean’s daughter Amy, only five at the time, has been plagued by dream-like memories of a violent killing, and it is assumed that the murder she has seen is her mother’s. But as Amy’s veracity as […]

By |2019-06-17T16:54:27+00:00|First 50, Mystery / Suspense, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on South of Hell by P.J. Parrish A “First 50” Review

Recommended Reading: Word Play by Peter Farb An enlightening study of language that’s a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

by Ross Browne

Word Play by Peter Farb may not have been written with novelists in mind, but it’s chock full of good insights for writers, especially on the topic of dialogue. (You can check out the book here.)

One chapter I find especially interesting is on verbal dueling. The author’s position is summed up nicely in the very first paragraph with the statement:

“Most speakers unconsciously duel even during seemingly casual conversation, as can often be observed at social gatherings […]

By |2019-06-17T16:57:13+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on Recommended Reading: Word Play by Peter Farb An enlightening study of language that’s a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin A “first 50” review

George R.R.Martin’s A Game of Thrones turns 20 this month! In honor of twenty years in print, and a hugely successful twenty years at that, here’s a breakdown of the first 50 pages of the book that started it all.

Aside from the prologue, the first 50 pages of ‘A Game of Thrones’ is divided into five chapters, each written from the point of view of one of the novel’s main characters. While shifting POV can occasionally lead to confusion, giving […]

By |2019-06-17T19:15:21+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, SR, Trends|Comments Off on A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin A “first 50” review

Review of Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith A reflection on J.K. Rowling's talent as a mystery writer

“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and […]

By |2019-06-19T20:42:49+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB|Comments Off on Review of Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith A reflection on J.K. Rowling's talent as a mystery writer

Review of Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster A reminder of why characterization still matters in mystery suspense

“When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more […]

By |2019-06-19T17:19:10+00:00|Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB|Comments Off on Review of Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster A reminder of why characterization still matters in mystery suspense