Book review – for readers and writers – no.144: Morgen Bailey reviews Perfect Cover by Mark McGinn

17 Feb

Today’s book review of a single short story is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Being a writer and editor, I read and review books with both hats. If you’re a writer reading this review and found it useful, do let me know.

Perfect Cover by Mark McGinn

Perfect coverSynopsis: Henry Peters hasn’t got much to boast about. He’s not showy, has average intelligence, and he’s definitely not a big-noter. Living in Christchurch suburbia with his wife, teaching overseas students in a private training establishment, Henry likes his students and he likes them dead, once he’s done. He used to head the science department. Not now. He sought and missed out on a promotion to deputy CEO. He feels his wife’s disappointment in him. Then a 7.1 earthquake strikes the city damaging his old work premises. Suddenly, Henry’s in the light and people need his help. But no one knows his secret and, more importantly, he needs to make sure they stay in the dark. (There is another sentence but it’s a spoiler!)

This short story is available via and etc.

Review (of the eBook via my Kindle’s text-to-speech function)

I listened to this story a couple of times (because it’s short and I was only half listening the first time) and while I enjoyed it both times, but having read the synopsis beforehand, it spoiled the experience for me because of the sentence I’ve withheld. That, and a character called Devito when I could only think of the actor Danny when listening to the story but – as the terrible phrase goes – my bad. The other names were good though (especially Bosco), and I loved the phrase ‘Knuckle-blinkered eyes’ (less so ‘repeated an exhortation for text messaging only’.

If you are interested in reading this story – I’d recommend it and it’s currently free! – then do so without reading the final line (which I’ve kept back) of the Amazon synopsis.

The writing itself was very good other than the following minor picks:

  • There were a couple of ‘started to’ where the action does happen without being interrupted so the verb could have stood on its own, e.g. ‘Her voice started to wobble’ = ‘Her voice wobbled’.
  • Repetition of ‘person’ then ‘persons’ (‘There’s some hope this person might be one of our three missing persons).
  • We have a face crumbling when only food (and old buildings, as we have in this story) crumble. Faces crump

There was also a bit too much authority and delegation for me but I loved the Henry hating rats scene.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (should be 3/5 for the author’s synopsis plot spoiler!)


Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a freelance editor, online tutor, prolific blogger, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction CompetitionRONE 2015 Judge, and teaches creative writing (and writing-related I.T.) for her local county council and online. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog,, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on TwitterFacebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups. She also runs a free monthly 100-word writing competition where you can win her online creative writing courses!

Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on

She also helps other authors with an inexpensive freelance editing and critiquing service (free 1,000-word sample), and welcomes, and actively helps to promote, guest authors on her blog – see opportunities.


If you would like to send me a book review, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each! ***

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You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping Listvarious short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.

Morgen Bailey Cover montage 2I now run online courses – details on Courses – and for anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.

If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.

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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in critique, review, short stories, writing


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