Book Jacket

 

rank 5323
word count 10704
date submitted 06.01.2010
date updated 08.01.2010
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller...
classification: moderate
complete

Autopsy

William H Abbott

Cora Dobbs is a thorough forensic anthropologist teaching at a small Southern college and knows the facts when it comes to murder.

 

Cora Dobbs is a middle aged Forensic Anthropologist teaching at a small Georgia University. But what really stands out about her is the ability to quickly put the evidence together in murder cases. Cora knows that she is good at solving crime and doesn’t tolerate any bull in what she considers serious business. The investigation of the killing of a minister’s daughter brings Cora into direct conflict with the local and University bureaucrats. She does the right thing while criticizing the wrong people and brings the murderer to justice. Both reward and punishment become her future in this venture. With the help of her flighty roommate, Madge, Cora redirects the bad into what she believes will be the correct course for her. Along with new dreams she may be facing old nightmares.

 
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tags

, female detective, forensics, murder, southern

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36 comments

 

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Diatom wrote 1363 days ago

This is such a gripping and intelligently written read. This should have a green arrow. Backed because it is a book Id be happy to buy!

Liz
The Cheech Room

Thank you Liz.

lizjrnm wrote 1363 days ago

This is such a gripping and intelligently written read. This should have a green arrow. Backed because it is a book Id be happy to buy!

Liz
The Cheech Room

Diatom wrote 1364 days ago

Autopsy Thank you very much Zan.

William H Abbott

Well done for such a complex plot. I don't know why this has a red arrow - seems like the shitty books have green arrows and the really good ones have read arrows. Hope my backing pushes you into the green.
Nice thriller and excellent literary fiction. New dreams, old nightmares - deep stuff and an honour to place you on my shelf. Congrats on a job well done and all the best in finding a publisher.

zan wrote 1365 days ago

Autopsy

William H Abbott

Well done for such a complex plot. I don't know why this has a red arrow - seems like the shitty books have green arrows and the really good ones have read arrows. Hope my backing pushes you into the green.
Nice thriller and excellent literary fiction. New dreams, old nightmares - deep stuff and an honour to place you on my shelf. Congrats on a job well done and all the best in finding a publisher.

Jared wrote 1481 days ago

William, that's a wonderful title / cover combination and your pitches are effective, but could be stronger. The short pitch opens with 'Cora Dobbs is a thorough forensic anthropologist teaching at a small Southern college' but the same words also appear in the long pitch, 'Cora Dobbs is a middle aged Forensic Anthropologist teaching at a small Georgia University,' which dilutes the effectiveness of the former.
A forensic anthropologist is a good choice as a lead character, making Cora, feisty and impressively competent is an even better one. There's a strong premise here and you have an impressive command of the technical detail which is so important in a book of this nature. You write well, possibly over-stretching a descriptive point here and there - an issue which bedevils me as well so I recognise the signs. paring descriptions down to what is essential and no more is a harrowing task and I'd suggest you keep an eye on it with a view to the day when an Editor gets to see it. Nothing here to spoil the flow of the story, just a point made to myself on may occasions that I've tried to rectify. I'd happily read a lot more of this if time permitted. Backed
Jared
Mummy's Boy.

Cait wrote 1507 days ago

Autopsy:

Check paragraphs beginning with names and consider rearranging them to have the name within the first sentence? There are three at the beginning, one after the other beginning with Cora.

Writing is good, and with some pruning it will be even better. Just little things such as, - I’d say she spent some time (on her side) in a fetal position after death… and here, - a glimpse of herself in the (reflection of the) stainless steel container… You use ‘reflection’ again in next sentence.

–salt and pepper hair – way overused in novels? Not too keen on the bags under her eyes hanging like shoulder bags? It makes them sound as though they're so droopy they reach her chin? Also, would she be ‘disappointed’ in her reflection as she’d be well used to seeing it and wouldn’t expect to see a reflection of her youthful self?

…she was use to/she was used to.

Check throughout for other words you don’t need. Reading aloud is a good way to pick things up.

When you do a final edit this will go from a very good novel to a great one, so all the best with it, and I will pop it on my shelf for a spin.

Good first chapter which makes the reader want to continue to the second one.

Cáit ~ Muckers ~

Diatom wrote 1507 days ago

Thank you.

Thank you very much. If you liked "Autopsy", you might want to look at "The Hawk and the Phoenix".

Strayer wrote 1507 days ago

I've read all 6 chaps. I read straight through and was absorbed. Well done is all I can say.
Thank you for writing Autopsy;
I will back this on the next book shelf change.

Diatom wrote 1522 days ago

Thanks Bob, I appreciate your comments.

Thank you.

Diatom wrote 1530 days ago

The pitch for Autopsy worked very well for me, covering the overall story, key characters and enough intrigue left to tempt me to read on. Well done. I liked Cora, whose voice comes through vividly, and the medical details seemed to me as a layman to carry conviction. Your biggest challenge is to differentiate your story from existing big name authors in this crowded niche, but I'll take that on trust as I haven't been able to read enough to be sure. On the downside, I felt you have a tendency to 'overwrite' by providing too much detail - you need to leave the reader room to breathe by nudging them in the right direction rather than bludgeoning them there! Overall this has great potential and I'll be happy to back it.

Thanks Bob, I appreciate your comments.

Bob Steele wrote 1530 days ago

The pitch for Autopsy worked very well for me, covering the overall story, key characters and enough intrigue left to tempt me to read on. Well done. I liked Cora, whose voice comes through vividly, and the medical details seemed to me as a layman to carry conviction. Your biggest challenge is to differentiate your story from existing big name authors in this crowded niche, but I'll take that on trust as I haven't been able to read enough to be sure. On the downside, I felt you have a tendency to 'overwrite' by providing too much detail - you need to leave the reader room to breathe by nudging them in the right direction rather than bludgeoning them there! Overall this has great potential and I'll be happy to back it.

Diatom wrote 1550 days ago

Good opener William - very positive. Oh I know the argument for not beginning with dialogue but it works so-o well for Autopsy. One thought, to get around the 'problem' I notice that chap 2 and 5 also start with dialogue so, how about starting every chap with it and therefore stylising the mss.

Thank you for your comment.

John Harold McCoy wrote 1550 days ago

Hi, William. I like the pitch. The only problem I have with the book is one I see other mentioning, and that is opening with dialog. Now, I have to be honest, before I came to authonomy and read others talking about that (and a few other things), I'm not sure I would have recognized it as a problem. I do see the validity of the argument, though. If it were me, I would begin with placing the reader there with the speaker before the dialog begins.
That said, I do think you handle dialog very well. Your premise is intriguing, an interesting subject around what the pitch promises to be an excellent read.
All in all, I find so little (very little) to crit that's worth mentioning. I think it deserves a boost. On my shelf and the best of luck with it, William.

John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley

Diatom wrote 1553 days ago

Am enjoying this a lot. This is right up my ally, I love shows, movies and books that centralize in this profession. you have a great knack for fleshing out your characters. The beginning chapter is a great one. The only issue I had was the start with dialogue. i didn't know where this was, or what the setting looked like. I think you could adjust this and insert an opening paragraph...have her moving through to the lab, expoloe the lab for a couple sentences and then jump into the dialogue. That is a small nit and one that would be easily remmedied if you so chose. I really love how indepth this got. You really know how to stir the queasy feeling up inside me.
And to be honest your dialogue is some of the strongest I have ever read.
Backed
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

Thank you for your critic. Always good to see things from the reader's perspective.

T.L Tyson wrote 1553 days ago

Am enjoying this a lot. This is right up my ally, I love shows, movies and books that centralize in this profession. you have a great knack for fleshing out your characters. The beginning chapter is a great one. The only issue I had was the start with dialogue. i didn't know where this was, or what the setting looked like. I think you could adjust this and insert an opening paragraph...have her moving through to the lab, expoloe the lab for a couple sentences and then jump into the dialogue. That is a small nit and one that would be easily remmedied if you so chose. I really love how indepth this got. You really know how to stir the queasy feeling up inside me.
And to be honest your dialogue is some of the strongest I have ever read.
Backed
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

Diatom wrote 1553 days ago

Hi William. Just read the first two chapters. The opening works well, defining character as well as launching us straight into the story. The narrative is almost wholly dialogue driven, apart from a few descriptive paragraphs early on, but this gives a pace to the story entirely appropriate to a crime novel. It might help to break the speech up a little on occasion, just to give the reader a breathing space. You do this occasionally in chapter two, and it does make for a smoother read. Overall, though, this is a solid and competently written tale, with plenty of plot hooks to keep us reading. Good luck with it. Shelved. All the best, Michael

Thank you Michael.

Diatom wrote 1554 days ago

You start with dialogue -- that's risky. As a reader I have no sense of place, and since you mention their names within the dialogue, I get them, but there isn't a traditional "said" or indication of tone of voice. As a reader I felt a bit dropped into the action and a sort of 'ping-pong' game effect. Some will like this hook, some will not.

I went on to read your uploaded chapter 6. Again, the dialogue doesn't have many qualifiers. If I had taken the chapter break at 5 (and tossed this under the bed not to be seen for a week - my reading style) I would have had a tough time picking up the thread. But I have to admit this is a double edged sword -- I liked the quick pacing. I think it's appropriate for the genre. So, I guess my crit is just more about being kind to the reader - offer a sense of place and context in chapter transitions. Once we get into the read the characters have their own voice and the plot is evident. Good luck with this.

Thanks for reading Autopsy and for your critic. We writers only grow when we are read and told how the reader feels.

B. J. Winters wrote 1554 days ago

You start with dialogue -- that's risky. As a reader I have no sense of place, and since you mention their names within the dialogue, I get them, but there isn't a traditional "said" or indication of tone of voice. As a reader I felt a bit dropped into the action and a sort of 'ping-pong' game effect. Some will like this hook, some will not.

I went on to read your uploaded chapter 6. Again, the dialogue doesn't have many qualifiers. If I had taken the chapter break at 5 (and tossed this under the bed not to be seen for a week - my reading style) I would have had a tough time picking up the thread. But I have to admit this is a double edged sword -- I liked the quick pacing. I think it's appropriate for the genre. So, I guess my crit is just more about being kind to the reader - offer a sense of place and context in chapter transitions. Once we get into the read the characters have their own voice and the plot is evident. Good luck with this.

Diatom wrote 1558 days ago

Firstly welcome to Authonomy and i also like forensics and any association. I liked this so backing
Teresa
Eye of Erasmus.

If you could take a look at Eye of Erasmus i would be pleased. Thanks :-)

Than you

Diatom wrote 1558 days ago

FANTASTIC! Cora speaks the things that I WISH I could say! Great story-very nice pace...I'm smelling a SERIES...I like it!

Just a little thing at the end, is it "Bubba" or Bulba"? Or is that her "pet name" for him? HA!

Very well-written. Good luck with this!
Joyce

Thank you. Bulba is more often used but when you really get off the main road, Bubba is found. A lot of it is illiteracy that play havoc with Southern names. My was grandfather was Casteel and his father Castile.

Diatom wrote 1558 days ago

William
I like Cora's viewpoint and the fact she has so much experience just makes her more interesting. Kind of a older Bones! Moves well. Nice job. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

Thank you. I love that comparison, I'm a Bones watcher myself.

Diatom wrote 1558 days ago

William

Short Pitch
though forensic.......typo......re-read your short pitch, not sure what you mean to say here.

I attended a speech given by a Literary Agent on 'How Not to Present a Manuscript' Top of the list is to open with dialogue......It's like sitting in the theatre, the play begins, but the curtain does not rise.....The only person in the audience grinning is the writer, because he's the only only able to visualise the opening scene........

There could be nine characters in the autopsy room for all we know........Tell us where we are, who is there and what they're doing....then start the dialogue....It's all here just not in the requisite order...

Cora Dobbs opened a small jar of Vics menthol is the opening line (my view only)

Your dialogue....OK Johnny, No big deal Johnny, Do you Johnny.........You very rarely address the person you are speaking to by name when there are only two people in the conversation.....If this is a habit you've carried through the manuscript I'd find it irritating....

now (that) her beauty was a memory........now her beauty was a memory.......I spotted a few 'thats' you didnt need......

Now you're thinking, who is this mad nosey person ! Well, that's it,,,,,,,no more moans....I loved the rest....great story & plot....Powerful narrative, simplistic dialgoue and well profiled characters...

Shelved with pleasure.

Thank you

Diatom wrote 1558 days ago

Firstly, I have to say you provide a good hook in your blurb, and I’m not disappointed as I read on.

I make notes sometimes if I think they may help. Please feel free to bin them or use. I am just another amateur writer, no expert.

Personally, I think the opening dialogue could be tighter, more authentic...

“Sorry, Cara, I know it’s short notice, but the autopsy’s been scheduled for this afternoon.”

Don’t forget your comma before a name when you are speaking directly in dialogue.
“No, Cora.” Etc..
...from the cold of the (room) () I would change to morgue and omit, it was always too cold in the morgue... it’s unnecessary wordage as we all know morgues are cold.

These are just a few things . I don’t have time to point everything out, just go through it and if you can tighten it up, I think it’s well worth the effort.
You handle descriptive really well. I was there sniffing the Vicks and sensing everything with Cora.
I’m probably not your (ideal) target as I don’t usually read thrillers. But you had me from hello with this one. Well done!
Shelved with pleasure
Sue
A Boy Called George

Thank you for the time you gave my story. I always appreciate an honest opinion.

Diatom wrote 1559 days ago

Firstly, I have to say you provide a good hook in your blurb, and I’m not disappointed as I read on.

I make notes sometimes if I think they may help. Please feel free to bin them or use. I am just another amateur writer, no expert.

Personally, I think the opening dialogue could be tighter, more authentic...

“Sorry, Cara, I know it’s short notice, but the autopsy’s been scheduled for this afternoon.”

Don’t forget your comma before a name when you are speaking directly in dialogue.
“No, Cora.” Etc..
...from the cold of the (room) () I would change to morgue and omit, it was always too cold in the morgue... it’s unnecessary wordage as we all know morgues are cold.

These are just a few things . I don’t have time to point everything out, just go through it and if you can tighten it up, I think it’s well worth the effort.
You handle descriptive really well. I was there sniffing the Vicks and sensing everything with Cora.
I’m probably not your (ideal) target as I don’t usually read thrillers. But you had me from hello with this one. Well done!
Shelved with pleasure
Sue
A Boy Called George

Thanks Jo, good to see how others view your words. I was trying to express, though probably poorly, that the youth and beauty of this young woman dying violently upset her. Thanks for reading me.
Bill

Jo Ellis wrote 1559 days ago

I really like this, just my kind of read. Reminds me a little of Patricia Cornwell which is a good thing, I always enjoy a good crime story with a forensic MC.

Just one little thing stood out to me.

In the paragraph:

Cora moved closer to the body, as she suppressed the tears that always brimmed involuntarily in situations like this. She wasn’t given to tears normally and they embarrassed her now. She'd often see the ugliness of a violent death and it bothered her. etc

- is this a contridiction, wouldn't she see things like this often (as you mention) thus have involuntarily tears often which mean she would cry as a norm.... maybe its me who didn't understand. :-) I can see where you are going with this, that she isn't normally an emotional person who cries but ALWAYS does involuntarily in this situation and that the horrors of her job effect her. Like I said could be just me. Perhaps she wasn't given to tears often... or within her own personal life... just a suggestion only of course. :-)

Another great credit to your story is I don't usually follow lit fic so well but in this case I would happily read on which is rare for me in the genre... must be thriller aspect too. :-)

Backed

Jo xx

Spoilt

LittleDevil wrote 1559 days ago

Firstly, I have to say you provide a good hook in your blurb, and I’m not disappointed as I read on.

I make notes sometimes if I think they may help. Please feel free to bin them or use. I am just another amateur writer, no expert.

Personally, I think the opening dialogue could be tighter, more authentic...

“Sorry, Cara, I know it’s short notice, but the autopsy’s been scheduled for this afternoon.”

Don’t forget your comma before a name when you are speaking directly in dialogue.
“No, Cora.” Etc..
...from the cold of the (room) () I would change to morgue and omit, it was always too cold in the morgue... it’s unnecessary wordage as we all know morgues are cold.

These are just a few things . I don’t have time to point everything out, just go through it and if you can tighten it up, I think it’s well worth the effort.
You handle descriptive really well. I was there sniffing the Vicks and sensing everything with Cora.
I’m probably not your (ideal) target as I don’t usually read thrillers. But you had me from hello with this one. Well done!
Shelved with pleasure
Sue
A Boy Called George

Diatom wrote 1559 days ago

William

Short Pitch
though forensic.......typo......re-read your short pitch, not sure what you mean to say here.

I attended a speech given by a Literary Agent on 'How Not to Present a Manuscript' Top of the list is to open with dialogue......It's like sitting in the theatre, the play begins, but the curtain does not rise.....The only person in the audience grinning is the writer, because he's the only only able to visualise the opening scene........

There could be nine characters in the autopsy room for all we know........Tell us where we are, who is there and what they're doing....then start the dialogue....It's all here just not in the requisite order...

Cora Dobbs opened a small jar of Vics menthol is the opening line (my view only)

Your dialogue....OK Johnny, No big deal Johnny, Do you Johnny.........You very rarely address the person you are speaking to by name when there are only two people in the conversation.....If this is a habit you've carried through the manuscript I'd find it irritating....

now (that) her beauty was a memory........now her beauty was a memory.......I spotted a few 'thats' you didnt need......

Now you're thinking, who is this mad nosey person ! Well, that's it,,,,,,,no more moans....I loved the rest....great story & plot....Powerful narrative, simplistic dialgoue and well profiled characters...

Shelved with pleasure.

Thanks for your critique, Always willing to learn and at this point in life I have the hide of a alligator.

soutexmex wrote 1559 days ago

Gotta agree with Simon on your book. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get a chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

paxie wrote 1559 days ago

William

Short Pitch
though forensic.......typo......re-read your short pitch, not sure what you mean to say here.

I attended a speech given by a Literary Agent on 'How Not to Present a Manuscript' Top of the list is to open with dialogue......It's like sitting in the theatre, the play begins, but the curtain does not rise.....The only person in the audience grinning is the writer, because he's the only only able to visualise the opening scene........

There could be nine characters in the autopsy room for all we know........Tell us where we are, who is there and what they're doing....then start the dialogue....It's all here just not in the requisite order...

Cora Dobbs opened a small jar of Vics menthol is the opening line (my view only)

Your dialogue....OK Johnny, No big deal Johnny, Do you Johnny.........You very rarely address the person you are speaking to by name when there are only two people in the conversation.....If this is a habit you've carried through the manuscript I'd find it irritating....

now (that) her beauty was a memory........now her beauty was a memory.......I spotted a few 'thats' you didnt need......

Now you're thinking, who is this mad nosey person ! Well, that's it,,,,,,,no more moans....I loved the rest....great story & plot....Powerful narrative, simplistic dialgoue and well profiled characters...

Shelved with pleasure.

C W Bigelow wrote 1560 days ago

William
I like Cora's viewpoint and the fact she has so much experience just makes her more interesting. Kind of a older Bones! Moves well. Nice job. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

jawdds wrote 1560 days ago

FANTASTIC! Cora speaks the things that I WISH I could say! Great story-very nice pace...I'm smelling a SERIES...I like it!

Just a little thing at the end, is it "Bubba" or Bulba"? Or is that her "pet name" for him? HA!

Very well-written. Good luck with this!
Joyce

Simon Swift wrote 1560 days ago

Brilliant, taught action! I am enjoying this a lot! Good work, buddy!
Simon

Melcom wrote 1560 days ago

Great, tense writing. Reminds me a lot of 'Bones' . You have built believable characters and achieved dialogue that is spot on for the genre.

I'm very excited about Autopsy and hope it does well on the site.

Good luck.

Melx
If you have the chance would love to hear your thoughts on UNICORN.

tlst wrote 1560 days ago

This type of book is just the genre I like and you have great detail that is necessary in this type of book. It is a shame that Cora isn't initially more likeable as an MC but you get the sense that she is good at what she does. The writing is well paced and it should get a good response on this site. This is a very popular genre and I hope you do well. Tania, This Last Summer

Diatom wrote 1561 days ago

A good tight story, well researched and well presented. My only suggestion is that you look at the number of times a character uses the name of the person he's addresssing. They began to remind me of the Peter lorrie character in Arsenic and old lace. I'll put this on my shelf as I love forensics and this is good read. Welcome to authonomy.

Mairi, Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I'm always interested in having my work read and the helpful suggestions. I'm still trying to figure how to use this site but think that it is great..

Mairi Graham wrote 1561 days ago

A good tight story, well researched and well presented. My only suggestion is that you look at the number of times a character uses the name of the person he's addresssing. They began to remind me of the Peter lorrie character in Arsenic and old lace. I'll put this on my shelf as I love forensics and this is good read. Welcome to authonomy.

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