David Manoa, $0.99
Romantic Suspense, 2016
Talk about my amazing timing – I just have to pick up a story about a man being unjustly sent to prison for defending his beloved against police brutality in a time like this. To be fair, the back cover synopsis never made it explicit what that hero of Iridescence, Brandon Rain, is in prison for.
Now, don’t be fooled by the cover art into thinking that this is a hot and sexy read, or a read involving hot sex behind bars. Don’t be fooled by what I have written so far into thinking that this is a gut-wrenching tale that will break the reader’s heart. The author’s writing style makes it very hard for me to get emotionally invested into the whole thing. This is because there is zero variation in the pacing and tempo here. One moment Brandon and his girlfriend are arguing because she’s been with him for three years, and at twenty-three, she really feels that she has to get married or else (don’t look at me), and then they are attacked by the police. Both scenes are written in the same lackadaisical manner, as if these events and an observation of the weather were all the same. In fact, the whole police brutality thing is over before I can blink twice, and then the story cuts to Brandon being in jail.
There is no proper exploration of the characters’ emotions; everything here is mostly told rather than shown. But really, the biggest problem here is the really, really amateurish writing style that is devoid of build-up, momentum, and other tempo variations in the narrative necessary to make the story come alive to the reader, to let the reader experience the story instead of merely reading the words on the page.
The best thing I can say about this one is that, well, I read it and it’s short enough that I don’t feel any significant agony when I reach the last page. Also, and I say this in a supportive and encouraging manner, the author may want to take more time to polish his stories, get certain aspects of the tools of the trade like creating plausible build-up and exciting tension down pat first, and have an honest critique partner look at the result before uploading these stories for sale.