/Book Reviews and Analysis

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

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 | 2017-12-07T20:31:01+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 | 2017-12-07T20:31:15+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

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

Word Play by Peter Farb may not have been written with novelists in mind, but it’s a smart, funny, and delightfully entertaining book about language and how we use it. And it’s chock full of good insights for writers, especially on the topic of dialogue.

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, […]

By | 2017-12-07T20:31:28+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB|Comments Off on Word Play by Peter Farb An enlightening study of language that's a gold mine for dialogue-conscious novelists

One Editor’s Love/Hate Relationship with Freedom (By Jonathan Franzen) Ross Browne's review of Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

“In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Walter and Patty Berglund as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible […]

By | 2018-05-03T19:13:39+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, RSB|Comments Off on One Editor’s Love/Hate Relationship with Freedom (By Jonathan Franzen) Ross Browne's review of Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

Twilight, A “First 50” Review A review of the first 50 pages of Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

The first 50 pages of Twilight make for what I would call a mildly interesting read.

The novel opens with a preface of a half page in which an unnamed narrator writing in the first person contemplates the fact that she’s about to die, presumably at the hand of an also-unnamed ‘hunter.’ What’s interesting here is that the narrator doesn’t seem too upset that she’s presumably about to be killed. She confesses to not regretting the decision that led to her being here and […]

By | 2018-05-04T14:54:09+00:00 |Book Reviews and Analysis, First 50, RSB, Trends|Comments Off on Twilight, A “First 50” Review A review of the first 50 pages of Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer