Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 36779
date submitted 12.09.2009
date updated 13.11.2012
genres: Fiction, Thriller
classification: moderate
incomplete

Stonefish

Sly

If someone intends to kill you, they'll probably succeed.

 

Notorious Australian assassin, Stonefish, and his squad of ex-military officers, take on the most difficult assignments, the hardest men, and they guarantee success in exchange for rich rewards.

Lobo, a lone hit man, is fixated on killing Stonefish to enhance his own reputation. Masquerading as an informer to Washington-based Inspector Patterson, Lobo draws on the vast resources of Interpol to hunt his prey.

Meanwhile, high up in the US Government, someone wants Stonefish to do their dirty work, and they won't take 'no' for an answer.

Betrayed, coerced and cornered, the assassins find themselves fighting for their own survival.

***

Though an arc runs through the novel, each of the chapters posted here, after reading the first, can be read as virtually stand-alone. So, if you venture further than 1, here's a rough guide: 2 Australia - boats, surf and cruelty, 3 Africa - politics, business, and spot the clues, 4 the Baltic - gangsters and a grain of kindness, 5 America - art, wealth and envy, 6 Glasgow - some humour, 7 Alabama - explosive emotions.

Complete @ 87,000 words

 
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tags

assassins, cat burglar, corruption, da vinci, gangsters, glasgow, interpol, michelangelo, penjing, philanthropist, sharks, surfing

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756 comments

 

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mr.shelley wrote 1269 days ago

I’m almost lost for words here, Sly. OK, so it’s a thriller and one hopes to be gripped, but this grabs the reader by the collar and propels them round the world at breakneck speed. That we don’t get completely lost is largely down to the way you maintain PoV with the steady hand of a hitman, even when two scenes close-up involving the same character (Josh in the first chapter) are drawn from different angles.

I was constantly out of my depth with this story, seriously challenged by its complexity. I can’t begin to grasp the imaginative skills, the research, the design skills and the concentration it must have taken to write it. And you write proficiently. Your spare prose contains hardly a redundant word, and yet it is constructed on just-so verb and noun choices. One of my favourite moments, we’re up a Swiss mountain in the barren car park of a no-hope bar, about to commit a murder, and you tell us: ‘Delicate alpine flowers shiver in the cold breeze.’ Not a bad description of the state you’ve put your readers in… Fabulous image-making.

‘Stonefish’ stands out from a host of published thrillers through its sub-text. Whilst we recognise the amoral nature of the contract killer’s job, with constant reminders that we mustn’t get attached to your characters and certainly not to heroise them (‘We’re paid killers; what we do is illegal, immoral and repulsive. We’re not the good guys; we’re just not as bad as the men we kill’), there is also this ethical undercurrent in the choice of targets, and – in the case of the African elimination – a geopolitical / philosophical dimension which suggested to me the author had a world view I could plug into. This made it even easier to keep scrolling.

After a few chapters I only gave up because my eyes hate on-screen reading. I want to see this in a book, and soon, please.

dreamertothemax wrote 1281 days ago

Since I wrote my last comment I have read the rest of the book and I wanted to now comment in full.

Firstly, this book definitely deserves the top spot. It actively draws us into a world (so far removed from our own) that Stonefish and the team inhabit. You feel like you are one of the team, and you become heavily emotionally attached to all of the characters before you've even noticed it.

Unlike many of this genre which are often slightly over the top (going into tooo much detail about what guns and what equipment etc) this novel is spare and faultlessly executed - providing us enough information to bring the scenes to life but not so much that the scenes are overwritten. It gives just enough information for our imagination to fill in the gaps. The author's tone is perfect, the writing is very professional and clearly well edited.

You have bought life to the characters, and especially Stonefish. I feel he is a complex and interesting character - capable of cold-hearted murder (the shark thing is pretty damn mean although the guy did deserve it) but also with his own morals etc. In fact by the end you want to give him a hug because he's a pretty good guy...The rest of the team are equally likeable and we are often given little insights into each of their personalities, from sparky cousins to how some of them go out of their way to help in certain situations...

I like how varied all of the kills are, and I like that each one is justified - so that we are completely hating each of the bad guys by the time they come to die. It reminds me of Burn Notice, a TV programme where an ex-spy fixes peoples problems when the police can't and the bad guys invariably get killed in each episode. But when I watched some of the episodes I sometimes felt uncomfortable that they had got the person killed, which I didn't feel here at all....so you must have done it better.

I read the whole thing in two sittings, although I'd have liked it to be a little longer I thought it was gripping, emotional, funny, interesting, engaging, well researched and every other positive word I can think of.

If this doesn't get published I'll eat my hat...or my novel!

Backed wholeheartedly.
Leila
Life Is Not A Love Song

Aevanyll wrote 1323 days ago

I can't remember if I did go back and leave a review on the full book, so if I have, you can disregard this, lol.

There are precious few books I can actively reread and not tire of, but this one takes the cake, Sly. Most books of this genre, once you read through them once, and know what is going to happen, it just doesn't interest you the second time around. Your characters manage to grip the reader so well, though, that they are near and dear to one's heart, and it is a pleasure to reacquaint oneself with them. The plot certainly doesn't hurt. Action, action, jibe, humour, action, sweet moment, action, action.

All threaded through with a nice descriptive touch, charmingly vindictive Scottish ladies, and an inability to hate the idiot Interpol Inspector. The last one was a bit unfortunate, but using his viewpoint in the jungle was very intriguing. The POV of a 'normal' person as regards the team was refreshing.

And even though it is in the thriller, crime genres, there is still a subtle thread of emotion through the book, that draws the reader in, and humanizes Stonefish and his team. And tears your heart, at the end. To top it all off, the chapters read like episodes in a TV series. You don't NEED to read the whole thing through to understand it. You just need to have the will to stop reading when it is midnight and you have work the next morning.

All in all, a brilliant book.

And that is my overall review - Aevanyll

Tari wrote 1342 days ago

This is enthralling from the first sentence with the tension between the guy and the scorpion. Tensions accelerate rapidly with the ‘mark’ in the tub, and the girl' joy riding'. Already there is fear, sex and violence. The reader is now captivated. The radar and electromagnetic induction responder is impressive – great in-depth research.

Loved the sentence ‘the porch explodes in a cloud of splinters, steam and Viagra.’

This definitely has a strongly structured dramatic arc starting with an inciting incident of the scorpion, rising tension to a climax and resolution ending with a hook.

That was a clever play on Stone fish and scorpion as the Stonefish as you well know is a member of the scorpion fish family. Maybe that’s why the scorpion skittered away instead of attacking,

You write with almost a fever in the blood, hot, fast and sexy albeit the killers are stone cold vicious but with the deep waters of a dark philosophy underneath. Truly supercharged writing that electrifies the reader.

The narrative is also strong but clear and concise making for an easy flow. The language is exemplary. The style in first person invokes intimacy first off, claiming the reader’s ear and loyalty. The descriptions are excellent from the brawn of Arnaud and Joshua to the ‘dirty little smile’ of Heather. Loved the line ‘verbal trots.’

The demise of McLaughlin gripped the guts, deliciously terrifying. This is surely one for the men, although having said the girls would be entranced.

The chapter was a tapestry of interwoven fragments from the Tropic of Cancer to France to Switzerland and back again ending at Interpol, Washington.

This story is deeply philosophical embracing all the emotions and sins from fear, greed, envy, lust including more with further reading.

Surely unputdownable. If I was reading this page turner in bed it would be an all-nighter.

Already backed with pleasure. This will surely reach the desk.

Kind regards,
Katyxxx
Phobic Dawn.

Anthony Brady wrote 1470 days ago

Such a pity a team, that Sly has assembled here, was not operational before the USA/UK Iraq & Afganistan useless ventures. A selective early "take out" of the key despots would have saved millions of the wasted money not to mention the countless casualties. Who said?: " Victory is achieved on the piled up bodies of the dead!" My only regret having read the whole book, was that a cohort of the top arms dealers did not get the treatment. The quotes heading each Chapter are exquisitely apt. I have never come across a more perfect summation of the different styles and periods of high art as can be found here in one stunning paragraph. I will not name the Chapter; others will have to find it for themselves. They won't be disappointed.

This is a movie in words and bound to attract modern film producers because of the wide - global in fact - ethnic diversity of the characters. This is action on a canvas of international dimension. I hoped that Zanga might be tossed head-first down the shaft of his goldmine. What am I saying? I started reading this marvellous book as your typical "bleeding heart - Love & Peace! - Man! Now I am planning to join Sly's team. Just shows you what an effect that brilliant writing like this can have. Definitely one for the best-seller lists. Watch-listed, Shelved, Backed and Commented upon with pleasure.

Tony Brady. - SCENES FROM AN EXAMINED LIFE - Books 1,2 & 3

made wrote 553 days ago

This is really good keep writing it will be in the cinemas a very good writer you Are

scoz512 wrote 720 days ago

Hmmmm you may have written some of the best characters I've come across in a while. Fantastic. Lots of good action and suspense. Like the world, like the conflict, like the moral dilemmas...no complaints. Sorry this is sorely lacking any usable critiques or improvement tips, but I guess that just means this needs to be available in book form right about now =). Just wanted to drop you that message. Congrats on the recognition...keep up the good work,

Sara
War of the Wastelands

JKass wrote 784 days ago

Wow, just wow.
Strong stand alone chapters totally did it for me. Straight to the action just about every single time. Great characters, great research ( as they are ex military they would be using weapons, terms, and tactics foreign to a civie. You tackle these rather well). I really liked the variety of the hit methods. You can only read so many chapters of "Bad asses rush in and shoot some guy in the face." before i think I'm reading something written by Jason Stathum, this was never a problem here. It was an around the world trip of badassery not ever seen before on Authonomy. Backed and starred!

wespollet wrote 1206 days ago

Hi Sly, I read this in december but didn't get a chance to place on my shelf as it was full. THis IS ONE ACTION PACK STORY ...EVERY CHAPTER IT IS EXCELLENT. i BACK IT AND HAVE PLACE IT ON MY SHELF!. HAROLD ALVIN(icon)WESLEY

RonParker wrote 1223 days ago

Hi Sly,

I see you aready made it to the top without my help and it's eay to see why. Congratulations and well done.

Good luck.

Ron

Susanna.K.James wrote 1224 days ago

Hi Sly
I've read to the end of Chapter Two and I loved it (although it is not my normal genre.) I was particularly impressed with your detail and originality when it came to the 'kills.' So many other people have commented that I'm not sure that I can offer much advice to improve this stunning piece of writing, however, I do have one or two observations to make.
Firstly, I was also a bit stunned when you launched into first person for Stonefish's point of view but I can see why you have done it and eventually I got used to it and enjoyed it. By giving us his POV in 1st person you immediately make him a more sympathetic character and the reader empathises with him. Making a cold blooded killer into a sympathetic character was not going to be easy and this definitely helps; we have insight into his consideration for his 'escort' and his men. You have also done such a great job in showing the unpleasant characteristics of his 'victims' that I have ended up being totally behind Stonefish. He is not a villain - he is just ridding our world of the truly vile. Good for him. ;)
The second point I wanted to make is a small one. I did wonder when Josh gave his real name in to McLaughlin whether that was going to be a mistake. Is that not a bit amateurish for an assassin? I can see from how Chapter Two is ending that Lobo is going to track down Stonefish through Josh, however, I do think that if it stands out to me - a none thriller reader - that you may have a problem convincing the expert readers of the genre that this would really happen.
I also feel that I must comment on the non-sex scene. For most of chapter two I was reading with dread about what was coming next on Tindale and Raynor's boat. You certainly built up a lot of suspense about the forthcoming sadistic rape of the two girls and to be honest, in a very perverse way, I felt let down by the lack of detail. I suppose that, like the rest of the world, because I have gritted my teeth and ploughed through the gruesome detail of the sadistic and brutal sex scenes in Sven Larrson's 'Dragon Tattoo' trilogy, I expected something similar. I may be totally wrong here but I suspect that more detail about these horrors might be something that your readership has 1.) grown acclimatised to; 2.) now expects and 3.) would to lead to even more sympathy for your protagonist when he rids the world of this fiend. Likewise, depicting some tender moments between Stonefish and his Lady escort would only have increased your reader's sympathy for the character. Describing her as having more 'moves that Garry Kasperov' is clever but very distant.
Finally, can I just suggest that you remove a few commas in the opening few paragraphs, they can be a bit distracting - especially the ones either side of the words 'and' or 'but.' (Totally and grammatically unnecessary.)
I wish you all the best at the editor's desk - you deserve to be there.
Best wishes,

Susanna
'Catching the Eagle'

HannahWar wrote 1226 days ago

Sly, I've read all as promised and here's my comment: your writing is excellent, descriptive powers, dialogues, storyline are all solid as a house. I have a few 'buts' now though, and I think it's better to hand them to you then continuing in superlatives of praise.

I wonder why you've chosen to write the Stonefish parts in the first person narrative. According to me, it doesn't really add to the story as that is built up from small units anyway. Everywhere 3rd person narrative would have made the reading smoother, I think. Maybe also because he has a job that is difficult to identify with and he's surrounded by colleagues, who are described with as much, or even more, details. He could also be the MC in 3rd person.

By chapter 4 the build up of the components started to be a bit 'boring', the reader constantly has to switch from one perspective to the other and thinks back to earlier chapters but in between so much has happened already. I found the description of the setting in chapter 4 a little marginal as a result of which I couldn't really tune into this 'job'.

All-in-all, I think you've written a formidable thriller but I wouldn't be surprised that you will be asked to blend it into a more consistent whole instead of the contiunation of separate parts. But, hey, who am I? I'll definitely watch the series when it's on TV. Excellent material for that. Hannah

HannahWar wrote 1233 days ago

Dear Sly, halfway into enjoying chapter 3 I have to make one remark already before I forget it. What makes you a superior writer is that you've written a book that will please almost everyone from the learned intellectual (for the immaculate prose) to the average reader (for the engrossing read). You near perfection and that makes a struggling writer such as myself very, very happy (and humble). Love it! Talk to you later. Hannah

Emily Christine Smith wrote 1238 days ago

Hi Sly,

Congratulations on making the review in the top five! A while back you kindly commented on my book and I've only just had a chance to reciprocate - not that you need it. Your book is, quite obviously, an immensely thrilling read. I've backed it happily.

I am not one for action books but WOW could you change my mind. The people, the settings, the pace - it's intimidating. All so real and you just have to keep reading. I know my partner would LOVE this book - he's a fan of clever, intriguiing novels with a fair share of bullets and blood spattered throughout. If this were in print - I'd buy it. Absolutely.

I think we'll be seeing this on a shop shelf in no time, Movie rights to something like this has to be a cert!

Well done on clearly scrupulous research and a passion for writing that leaps from the page.

All the best,

Emily
Fanning The Fire

Bob Jones wrote 1239 days ago

Hi Sly,
Congratulations on making the editors desk!

Bob Jones / TakeAway

Tom Balderston wrote 1239 days ago

Congratulations on your selection.
Tom Balderston
The Wonder of Terra

Mary Air wrote 1239 days ago

Congratulations.

Justin Time wrote 1239 days ago

Congrats & respect.

weaver58 wrote 1240 days ago

Congrats Sly! Well done.

Justis Call wrote 1240 days ago

Way to go, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Justis Call
Prestidigitations

Cly wrote 1240 days ago

Hi Sly congrats!
Cly (Hybrid)

Beccy Blount wrote 1240 days ago

Greetings, Orlando asked me to give you a last minute BACKING! on account of your acute eye.
Beccy.

St. John wrote 1241 days ago

This is a fine piece of storytelling and the writing is very polished. You deserve to be where you are - good luck.

Howard Matthews wrote 1241 days ago

This should just plain be on the shelves. There are writers with a string of "best selling" titles to their names who can't write this.

Backed and rated

Howard
Heretics of Death

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1241 days ago

I came back to rate you under the new star system and read some more. This is spot-on for its genre and deserves its success. Paula Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

Fontaine wrote 1244 days ago

Hugely enjoyable, great characters and vivid description. Your book reminded me a litle of one of my favourite authors, Christopher Brookmyre and in particular his (younger) team of mercenaries in All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses An Eye. Your book has great humour which lightens the mood of what could have been a very dark book. I like the MC very much. He is well drawn as are his team and you have gathered together a good cross section. I do hope this book gets published and is the first of many. I think it is highly marketable.
Usually I comment in detail but could find nothing to criticise.
Two phrases I liked and they both made me laugh. 'splinters, steam and viagra' and the moment when he 'crossed the night club floor 'investment in tow'. Very clever.
Will WL for now and get in on my shelf as soon as I can,.5 stars.
Fontaine.
Legacy.

Wussygirl wrote 1244 days ago

I'm not a great lover of gun-toting thrillers, Sly, but this one had me hooked. It's the sharp, crisp prose and the ever-changing (and very effective) shifting POVs which did it for me - plus a very engaging central character in Stonefish. Okay, I did raise an eyebrow when he survived a 'graze' to the head from a bullet which Lobo reckoned would have blown it apart like a pumpkin - but I saw it happen on Eastenders recently (Jack) so I guess it's possible. And who wants him dead anyway?

I do hope you're ready with the final MS - this is one that HC cannot ignore!

Shelving you soon, and thank you again for your fab review of my book - you are a real gentleman

*One tiny nit...and only because it was the ONLY time my eye stuck on your text. On page 1, when you say 'Kees is locked onto the subject', wouldn't it read better to follow with: "Go for it," I tell him.

GOOD LUCK!

Andi Rinke
Ginger the Gangster Cat

Trevor Williams wrote 1244 days ago

This grabs me despite the fact that I have no sympathy with any of the characters. The laconic delivery and constant changes of location and POV gives the book a filmic quality that makes you want to keep reading.
Backed.

cicuta wrote 1245 days ago

Dear Sly, Geet! and I were once good friends. Back and forth, I frantically wrestled with your frenetic thriller, [ You know I am not a critic Sly ], but the sangfroid of your character Stonefish, has a certain likeable quality, that could probably kill you at more than a mile away. I was easily enveloped until chapter four, [ Leaving 5,6 and 7, for when I've got nothing great to read ]. I truly mean that Sly. Its my type of writing, style, panache, professionalism and poise. I would pick this out on a bookshelf in a heartbeat. That's why it'll be on my shelf until you show me the rest. [ I promise to pay for it ]. Seriously though. I can't pick at any punctuation because I have no intentions to be ignorant. But your story and style are fresh and perfect for today's modern publisher. Its a matter of being noticed, without needing to sell your Soul. I can't gush any more without sounding appalling, but truly Sly. This is what they call, " A F*****G BEST SELLER! ". Good luck and best wishes. Carl, [ Cicuta, Arcane ].

Orlando Furioso wrote 1245 days ago

May I shamelessly petition for a little shelf time exchange, sir, during your run in?
Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS

Emma Morgan wrote 1245 days ago

I found the switching between first- and third-person narrative a little hard to follow at first, Sly – I think different fonts or formatting might help. The Stonefish sections are more readable, for me; you let the character come out through his choice of language and actions rather than relying too heavily on exposition. (That said, the name ‘Stonefish’ will always remind me of an old character from Neighbours, and I’m probably not alone in this.) You understand your genre and write well within it, sounding informed and authentic when referring to e.g. weaponry rather than like someone who’s just Googled the information they need. Very slick and competent – good luck with getting an HC review.

lionel25 wrote 1246 days ago

I read the prologue and first chapter. Very intelligent writing [explodes in a cloud of splinters, steam and Viagra... ...asthmatic cuckoo... spotlight-strafed (appropriate use within the context). Definitely kept my interest.

Only spotted three minor issues.

1. ...sure of a successive single strike. [An alliteration in the works. This is minor, though.]

2. split-second's pause [split-second pause]

3. Use of cliches. This works well when you modify them., eg. swallowed the line, plus the hook, the sinker, and the entire fucking Icelandic fishing fleet. The plain ones like "kicked puppies" and "the cherry on top" sound, well, like cliches.

On the whole, this has serious commercial potential. Very satisfying read. Happy to shelve your work.

mongoose wrote 1246 days ago

OMG< just checked back and I first read this 433 days ago!!! At the time I said it was a cracking good read, really well done but not my usual type of thing. Funny, I think my tastes must be changing because, re-reading it, I found myself REALLY enjoying it. :) And silly me for leaving it so long.. I barely dare say it (because it's like giving the kiss of death) but surely THIS is commercial enough for HC tastes? It's also extremely well-written and bloody visceral (and I do like my viscera). I can feel my father smiling (from wherever it is that violence-loving old soaks go after they pop their clogs) and muttering 'told you so'.... He'd raise a glass of scotch to your success. I might run to a Midori!
HUGE good luck. Janex

Doomsday-profit wrote 1249 days ago

Very well done. I like the style. No need to elaborate further, it has all been said. Best of luck.

CarlosRedivivus wrote 1249 days ago

Sly--nicely done--gentlemen 'serial killers' (so to speak) in a serialized format. Very tightly written--and (as seems appropriate) no more 'back-story' on the principals than is strictly necessary to tell them apart, give them separate voices and functions. You don't need any help from a reader ranked 4588--but I'm putting you on the shelf for November--to do what I can to keep you on the desk. Best regards, Tony

Marita A. Hansen wrote 1249 days ago

Hi, Sly. Well, I can see why you have so many backers. This is a very tight and well-written story. Your plot/structure and characters are very strong. The layering of scenes, alternating between Stonefish, the subject, and the authorities/people chasing Stonefish, creates an interesting plot. In the Prologue we are shown exactly what Stone and his crew do, no mucking about, just straight in with the action. After the introduction of Stone and his men (a bunch of ex-marines) the reader is shown the next target, Mike McLauglin, a very unsavoury fella. In the 3 chapters I had time to read, I thought the different ways in which these men were eliminated were ingenious, my favourite being Kerry ending up as Shark bait-a suitably sadistic ending for the sadist. And I didn't feel sympathy or horror at their untimely deaths either, because they were so horrible that Stone was basically doing the world a favour by taking them out.

Stone and his men are great characters. Their physical description as well as their idiosyncrasies make them likeable. Because of this I don’t want them to get caught by Interpol/Inspector Darren Patterson/Lobo. The way in which the authorities are attempting to get Stone through Josh builds the tension in the story, making me nervous. I give you credit that you’ve created characters that kill but come across as sweethearts-how the hell did that happen?

In relation to your writing style, I thought it suited the subject matter. I especially liked the way in which you described people, in particular the subjects. It felt like you were giving the reader a dossier on them, like an assassin is given: all the information required for the hit. It was precise, nothing flowery and straight to the point.

However, your style wasn’t clinical, and had nice touches of description, eg. Occasionally, one of the wooden clocks on the wall whirls, regurgitates an asthmatic cuckoo then sucks it back. I thought this was clever.

All up, this is an entertaining read. Best wishes, Marita.

Old Bob wrote 1250 days ago

This is a really gripping story with a lot of characters. I think it will be easier to track them once I become more familiar with them. I feel everyone is going to be significant -maybe some of the gang to the detriment of Stonefish. This is a classic thriller beginning and it's got me hooked. Right now I want to read more before I say more.

Good luck, Sly.

Old Bob

lisawb wrote 1251 days ago

I backed this before, and have again had it on my shelf for some time, it deserves to be on the Editor's desk. It is compelling, full of depth and very talented.

Backed and rated with pleasure.

Lisa

JeffCorkern wrote 1252 days ago

This easily deserves my backing. I have seen exactly this kind of stuff on sale. I don't think Authonomy has made an offer for anything that made the ED's desk yet, but this might break the pattern.


This is pretty black-and-white stuff. The good guys are GOOD GUYS. The bad guys are BAD GUYS. And the girls all have VERY LARGE BREASTS. There's a substantial audience for this kind of story-telling.

You write it well. There's a spot or two where it might be overblown, but I think it would be better to let an editor make that decision.

"This hotel HAD BEGUN life as a Cistercian abbey---" The act of beginning life began and ended in the distant past, and therefore past perfect is required.

"McLaughlin's in his element, explaining how he met---" Needs a comma pretty badly. It reads awkwardly without it. Again I suggest some grammar study.

"Joshua agrees, then belches." Comma needed here too.

The Mystery of Esmirrena wrote 1252 days ago

Ok, so here it is:

- first, I think thriller isn't my favorite genre... so for me, chapter one is enough... sorry.
- apart from that, I can see there have been some real work, choosing the right words, making sure the readers get himself included in the story as a attentive audience. That's what is going to bring you to the editor's desk this month or for sure the next!

So good luck!

Cheers! Jeremie

Saint wrote 1254 days ago

Back to you, Sly...

I read chapter one of Stonefish. You didn't disappoint me. Now I know why you're ranked way up there. Wow, what kind of mind does someone have who writes this? Scary! Hopefully you don't speak from "assassin" experience. I'll never know, will I?

From that first line in chapter one--"If someone intends to kill you, they'll probably succeed." Scary, but a true notion. It sets the tone for the book and we know your protag is ruthless and almost emotionless.

I haven't read too many books in present tense. I wrote my first novel in present tense and had an editor tell me it was the most difficult. Do you agree? Was there a reason you chose this tense?

You write with the experience of a great writer--changing from first person to third. You rarely use attributions--he said, she said, etc. Your dialogue clips along and you get right to the action creating scenes packed with punch. You know how to start your scene late and exit early...perfect.

Here are a few of my favorite phrases: lyrical Nepali accent, verbal trots, threads through the milling drinkers, parasitic gold-digging gigolo, the way she simpers, she actually seems to have swallowed the line, plus the hook, the sinker..., alpine flowers shiver outside in the cold breeze. Ah! Beautiful. You bring inanimate objects to life and give us a prompt visual on your characters without overdoing the description.

I really enjoyed your quick, sharp voice. It's definitive--never waffling, only certain and committing--like you're driving down the autobahn, your destination in clear view.

I'm hopeful that you've given your protag a weakness. So far he seems in total control--which is true to character. However, I want to feel emotion for him. What makes him do what he does? Is he emotional about anything? If so, what? Will that lead to his demise? I'll have to read on to find out, won't I? So far I like him because he's not flamboyant and doesn't drink. (Although, I have to admit I hate the f-bomb, but I'm a prude.)

I'll have to look up what a sychophant is. Here in America I think we call them psychopaths. Do you mean the same?

Do you have a publisher for this? Tell me more. I look forward to reading on. I will back this book.

Michelle (WILLOW)

jaydee wrote 1254 days ago

Yet again, I am sooo jealous of the talent I find on this site, and so desparing of ever matching that talent, I might as well pull my book and run!
You are a wordsmith. This reads so flawlessly that I was carried along and drawn in from the first paragraph. I will read and, hopefully, learn something from you. This is how i want to write: succint, captivating, with characters that are believable.
Ready to buy the book.

Lynne Jones wrote 1254 days ago

I checked this out last night and was completely hooked. I'm going to back it regardless of whether you read mine. I hope your HC review bears fruit. Jo.

PonyBoy wrote 1255 days ago

What happened to my comments? They disappeared.

PonyBoy wrote 1255 days ago

Really good book. Second good hit man book I have read here. I would recommend The Suicide Game by Andy Rouch to anyone here who enjoys these types of books. I happily back you and will spread the good word around the site, Mr. Sly.

PonyBoy wrote 1255 days ago

Really good book. Second good hit man book I have read here. I would recommend The Suicide Game by Andy Rouch to anyone here who enjoys these types of books. I happily back you and will spread the good word around the site, Mr. Sly.

scottkenny wrote 1256 days ago

Great first chapter Sly. Backed, Scott.

StarSeeker wrote 1256 days ago

I understand why this is so popular. What a great character you have developed in Stonefish. I found the POV to be refreshing--seeing the view from his perspective...yet I don't find him fluffy or too likeable...just likeable enough for me to want to know what happens!
Sue

Wye wrote 1256 days ago

Very good read interesting perspective. I'm sure it will do well.
Amelia

A Date in the Diary

Michael Parkour wrote 1257 days ago

Nice strong POV.

cicuta wrote 1257 days ago

Character crazy, and written with real poise. I thought you brought this book, with its bombastic characters, and breakneck plot; To life! Always leading the reader to some different part of their imagination. Sadly though Stonefish, I think the ED's desk will be you enemy. This book will be lost among the hopes of others, after HC's comments. I cannot believe that a publisher hasn't approached you before now. Because I am no critic, the only compliment I can offer is. What a idiot I was not have read this before now. Thanks for the memories, and good luck with everything. I genuinely hope you make it. It'd be about time. Cicuta, [ Carl, Arcane ].

stoatsnest wrote 1257 days ago

You don't use any excess words and kept me interested throughout. I will back this when I get a slot. A very masculine book and deserves five stars.

S-M wrote 1257 days ago

This has a great feel to it and I think the voice is its strongest asset, closely followed by the stylish narrative and dialogue - reads like a novel and worthy of a HC review.

MrDee wrote 1258 days ago

Your book is so good you don't need a crit. Backed

Joanna Stephen-Ward wrote 1258 days ago

Yes, I remember this even though I read it a long time ago. I'm sure I shelved it too. I'll star rank it for you now. Thanks for the message.

Joanna