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Book review – for readers and writers – no.143: Morgen Bailey reviews Michael Connelly’s crime novel The Poet

Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed (please note I’m usually booked up several months in advance) and / 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.

The Poet by Michael Connelly

The Poet coverSynopsis: The apparent suicide of his policeman brother sets Denver crime reporter Jack McEvoy on edge. Surprise at the circumstances of his brother’s death prompts Jack to look into a whole series of police suicides, and puts him on the trail of a cop killer whose victims are selected all too carefully. Not only that, but they all leave suicide notes drawn from the poems of writer Edgar Allan Poe in their wake. More frightening still, the killer appears to know that Jack is getting nearer and nearer. An investigation that looks like the story of a lifetime might also be Jack’s ticket to a lonely end.

This novel is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poet-Michael-Connelly-ebook/dp/B0037471VC and http://www.amazon.com/Poet-Michael-Connelly-ebook/dp/B0037471VC.

Review (of the audiobook)

Information is trickled to the reader throughout the novel and we switch from the first-person point of view Jack and the criminal, written via the narrator in third person. He certainly is creepy. We feel sorry for Jack from the beginning because of what happened to his brother so we’re going to want him to be OK, and stories written with deadlines is inevitably going to be pacey. The ending, after some twists, was unexpected and not unbelievable.

There is plenty to like about this novel – especially how it was narrated by Buck Schirner – but needless to say, I have found some to pick!…

  • A lot of (far too many) ‘began to’ / ‘started to’ before verbs. If something is happening then the ‘began to’ etc. can be chopped.
  • Other words that can you be dropped include completely (we have here ‘completely avoided’), totally etc.
  • There are a fair number of dialogue tags, e.g. he said / she said, where they are not needed. For example, when it has been established who the characters are and there are only two having a conversation, we don’t need to know so often who is speaking – especially where one of the characters names is mentioned by the other.
  • Unless you are just starting out, most writers know to avoid adverbs wherever possible, especially after dialogue and some examples in this novel are, “F***k the lawyer,” Sweetzer said angrily, “Give it to me!”, she said angrily, “You weasel,” Thorson said angrily. (Michael likes his angrilys, doesn’t he.) These are examples where you are telling the reader how the character is feeling rather than showing. Another example is ‘cheeks were hot with anger’ yet we know why his cheeks would be hot because of what led up to that. As long as the set up context of what you are writing is clear, you don’t need to include additional detail explaining what has happened before.
  • I have never been keen on the phrase ‘a long moment’ and there were two close together about halfway through the novel and a couple more later but I think it’s more of an Americanism than Britishism.
  • There is a lot of unnecessary repetition, especially noticed again around the halfway mark including ‘I started slowly to look about. I moved slowly through the house…’, ‘into a trailer park. Several inhabitant of the park… (where ‘several inhabitants’ would have done because we already know where they are), ‘walked through. Rachel walked…’, ‘The phone rang. Rachel yanked the phone out of the cradle.’ This could easily have been replaced by handset. Other examples include ‘…a back office. He came back…’ where the second back could have been replaced by ‘returned’, and finally, “It’s obviously sent to you… obviously been waiting for me…” What made this more annoying was that many of these instances are within the same chapter.

Conclusion

A very enjoyable novel, with a gripping the plot, only losing a point because of its need for a more thorough editing.

This novel was written and first published in the mid 1990s so presumably early in Michael’s career so as not as well written – or at least not as well edited – as his later novels so partly forgiveable, but the errors I have mentioned here certainly should have been picked up by a professional editor.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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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 Competition, RONE 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, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook 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 https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.

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.

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

Related articles:

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

You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see right-hand vertical menu).

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 13, 2016 in critique, novels, review, tips, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 12 February 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 802: Friday 12th February

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

802 action 926464Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: this, up, down, sideways, forwards
  2. Random: calling a wrong number on purpose
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. One-word prompt: excluded

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

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Story Writing Exercises 806: Friday 12th February

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 11 February 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 801: Thursday 11th February

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

801 five hand 109840Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: gloves, cold, skip, style, breeding
  2. Random: a luxurious Caribbean surprise
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: Written in Secret

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

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Story Writing Exercises 805: Thursday 11th February

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 11, 2016 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 10 February 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 800: Wednesday 10th February

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

800 aisle 207649Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: money, everything, pile, cross, street
  2. Random: 40% off
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Sentence start: What he was waiting…

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 804: Wednesday 10th February

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2016 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 9 February 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 799: Tuesday 9th February

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

799 fab cartoon 15513Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: association, wood, would, world, word
  2. Random: unemployable
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Tuesday Title: Job Sure

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 803: Tuesday 9th February

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2016 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest post: How to desire the superlative Writing Dissertation Topic by Karen R Robinson

Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of academia, is brought to you by Karen R Robinson.

How to Desire the Superlative Writing Dissertation Topic?

Finding a superlative dissertation-writing topic is as tough as writing a good dissertation paper. It is obvious that students are required to write dissertation papers during their higher studies. Writing a good dissertation is very important for the students since it can influence their final grades considerably. There are indeed a lot of things that students must to consider before writing their dissertation. One of the most important things that students should focus on while writing their dissertation is choosing a superlative topic. Let it be any kind of assignment writing, selecting a good topic plays a huge role.

Deciding your dissertation topic is one of the first steps of your dissertation writing procedure. Most people find choosing a suitable and relevant dissertation topic as one of the most challenging things when getting started. They will have to spend a considerable amount of time and will even be required to work late into the night in order to find a superlative dissertation topic. The topic that you pick should assist you to remain engaged and provide a good working mood since the dissertation writing process is a lengthy one.

How to find a good dissertation title?

The majority of people are uncertain and lack knowledge about how to choose a good dissertation topic. They may be under pressure to find an apt dissertation topic, or not certain if the research they want to carry out will fit into a dissertation. Without a doubt, there are many remarkable topics out there but this is most likely the first time they are researching finding a superlative dissertation topic. There are indeed certain things that should be considered carefully, such as:

Don’t Stretch Yourself

When you are in need of writing a dissertation, you should concentrate on finding a topic that helps you get your writing done. A lot of people make a mistake by choosing a topic that is beyond their capacity. They end up tired of writing their dissertation and stop. Hence, don’t go selecting a hard topic, and research a lot to come across a dissertation topic that goes well with your writing knowledge and skills.

Find Topics That Are Engaging and Fruitful                  

Choose a topic that will prove engaging and fruitful. Your writing should be free from boredom and tiredness. The topic you select has therefore got to be engaging and fruitful. Keep in mind that dissertation writing is a long process. Thus, be wise and choose an engaging topic.

Don’t Go For an Overly Ambitious Topic

The best dissertation is generally written by means of simple topic. When you choose a topic with too many variables, there is always a probability to make it hard to research, complicated to write, and not easy to find any conclusions. Therefore, it is always healthier to pick a topic that you can complete in plenty of time and at ease.

Pick a Topic that Fascinates You

It is vital to pick a topic that fascinates you the most because it assists you to reach effectively and write with more enthusiasm. If your dissertation topic fascinates you, then you will come up with a professionally graceful piece of work, and as I have mentioned above, within a limited amount of time and with a limited sum of difficulty or hard work.

Decide On Something You Really Love

One of the most imperative features in finding a doable dissertation topic is to work on something you really love. If the topic is in your comfortable zone or what you love the most, then you can mull over staying with it over a quite lengthened phase of time. However, make sure to find a topic that is compelling as well. All in all, be certain that you have a plausibly clear research technique or track determined before confirming your dissertation topic.

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Author Bio:

Karen used to compose academic and non-academic expositions as an outcome of his boundless contribution in the writing business. His experiences with this top thesis writing services have allowed him to concentrate on both academic and non-educational topics. He recognizes that to be an effective writer, one needs to consider the business side of the business, and focus to succeed.

Very interesting. Thank you, Karen.

***

Related articles:

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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

You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see right-hand vertical menu).

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2016 in ideas, non-fiction, tips, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
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