Book Jacket


rank 5078
word count 101795
date submitted 09.09.2008
date updated 12.12.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime, Gay
classification: adult


Stephen R Long

Death rides the underground. Don't catch his eye. Deep, down and dirty, like the Tube. One journey you won’t want to end.


During the ‘Playground Murders’ Detective Inspector Marchant, lost his wife and nearly lost his mind. He was determined this time to catch the killer. Someone was killing people in increasingly strange ways. The only clue he had was the Underground ticket always found somewhere on the body.

It’s a gripping tale that takes you on a rollercoaster journey through one man’s obsession with erasing the memory of past failure. Unfortunately, this time around he still has things left to lose.

‘Deep, down and dirty. Just like the Tube’

‘From cover-to-cover, one journey you don’t want to end’

‘Buy a ticket and jump right in’

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authonomy, computers, crime, csi, dark, detective, dirty, divorced, explicit, fiction, food, funny, gastronomy, gay, humorous, intense, it, kids, life...

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Stuart & Victor wrote 1173 days ago

backed you!!!!!!!

Stephen R Long wrote 1184 days ago

Many Thanks. You may be surprised to find that before I got your message I had just chosen your book as the one I like most on the site on the blog form I am filling in. So if I ever get chosen to be showcased on the blog, so will you.



A. Zoomer wrote 1184 days ago


Dear SRL,
Erasing the memory of past failure - is my kind of book.
Have superstarred it and I will comment more once it is on my shelf.
A Zoomer

Stephen R Long wrote 1189 days ago

All comment is welcome. So thank you. This is still first draft so I know there is still a lot to do. But as long as the idea is good I am happy at the moment. Thanks again. Steve

SubtleKnife wrote 1189 days ago

I think there is an excellent story in here fighting to get out, but your writing needs attention before it is free to soar.

Too many 'filler' words, unclear meanings and images and commas in all the wrong places make this a very uncomfortable reading experience and I'm not talking about the content. For example, in para. 2, you don't need that comma after 'kids'. There are many more examples in this first chapter. Long paragraphs, non-sentences and cliches abound here. In my view, this very promising story needs a lot of polishing to make it work as it deserves. I can see you have received a lot of useful and pertinent advice in previous reviews so I won't add any more.

This must sound negative to you. Take heart. If I hated your work, I would not have taken the trouble to read after the first couple of paragraphs or to comment at all. Cheers! -Liz (Meggie Blackthorn)

Stephen R Long wrote 1207 days ago

Many thanks for the comments. All are appreciated. A couple of them like the long paras other people have commented on and it is something I am going to look at. Regarding cliches, one of the things we were told at the Authonomy workshop was that readers like to read what worked before – so we'll see. people will see that Marchant is not jut your usaul cliche if they read the book to the end. Thanks again tho really appreciate it. Steve

Jake Rowan wrote 1208 days ago

I think there will be many readers who devour this, but I am never keen on books/ films or series which glorify actions of serial killers merely for entertainment. This is not a moral judgement, rather I don't enjoy being in the POV of the killer and therefore I wouldn't choose to read a book of this genre. Putting personal preference aside, there is something very compelling in your writing - despite the fact, I found the narrative voice intrusive and you dumped a huge amount of background at the beginning. There is a lot of telling going on and the reader is almost directly spoken to a number of times, but there is an energy in the prose, which makes it easy to read. Improvements wise, I suggest you break up the long paragraphs into shorter ones. I also think you could give the characters more dialogue, and reduce 'telling' the reader everything. I am concerned that Marchant is a bit of cliche - cop married to the job, drinks too much, tragic past, but then again, in this genre, maybe it isn't an issue. It's not one for me, but I wish success. Jake

SamanthaV wrote 1225 days ago

You are now on my watchlist...

Stephen R Long wrote 1230 days ago

Thanks I will put you on my watchlist and get round to you as soon as I clear a bit of my backlog


Stephen R Long wrote 1230 days ago

Thanks you are on my watchlist until I can move on up

Su Dan wrote 1231 days ago

good competent piece, clear writing, make this a joy to read...on my watchlist...
read SEASONS...

Stephen R Long wrote 1246 days ago

Many Thanks for the comments. I am hoping to sort out the paras at Christmas as I have taken some time off work. I am also waiting until I have attended the crime workshop in December in case it impacts anywhere else. Once again thanks for the comments, at least you like the idea and plot. Cheers Steve

Sandra Davidson wrote 1247 days ago

Stephen, I finally got around to reading your chapters. Sorry it took so long. Your plot is interesting, but it's hard to read your book because of your extraordinarily long paragraphs. What were you thinking?

After all the comments on your long paragraphs I don't understand why you haven't changed them. It really doesn't take long to do. Also, you have a tendency to ramble on, or maybe it just seems like that because of your rambling paragraphs.

You have the makings of a good horror novel, and I wish you much luck in getting it published
I have starred you.

Stephen R Long wrote 1255 days ago

Thanks for having a look and checking out Faz. Just got back to London from a trip to Connecticut so bit tired and will take a bit to catch up. I will sort out sometime but my other book is taking up my time at the moment. Give it a try if you can.

Your new friend. Steve

Wussygirl wrote 1257 days ago

Dear Stephen - being a plain-speaking pink pussycat, I'll come straight to the point. 'Underground' has all the makings of a fine thriller/detective novel BUT (and you've heard this all before) a quick half-hour edit of your opening page would make the world of difference. That huge chunk of back-story (para 4?) should go elsewhere. Especially since it starts with Jan's death six months before...which is repeated a couple of paras later. Go straight into Marchant's discussing the case with his colleague (much tighter then) and then break up the ensuing dialogue into smaller bites? Seriously, it's worth doing.

On the plus side, you can certainly write - very clean prose (hardly any typos, good sign) and a unique premise with strong characterisation. Most important of all, highly readable!

Now where's that Faz...

Andi x

Kittenkel wrote 1299 days ago

A great pitch introduces us to this original story. I really like the Tube theme and beginning the novel with 'Mind the Gap'! A great premise for a thriller.
Once the paragraph issue is sorted this will be even more enjoyable to read. Also, I think this needs another read through to spot various bits of repetition. This seems particularly prevelant in the first three chapters with 'the' in the first, 'even' in the second and 'then' in the third - niggly bits, but they get a little in the way of the pace. Also, watch for the passive 'had' cropping up quite frequently; if diving into a back story try using 'had' once or twice, then you can revert to the simple past for the rest of the scene.

Bocri wrote 1305 days ago

Underground, couched in eminently readable and flawless prose, moves at a reasonable pace without jeopardising clarity or momentum. The main plot, although falling into the 'not so unique' category, has sufficient twists, turns and 'didn't see that coming' elements that it provides an interesting and vibrant read. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run

Stephen R Long wrote 1305 days ago

I am going to break up the paras. Honest. But try finding the time! Work's bit busy this week. But will do and many thanks


Kevin Alex Baker wrote 1305 days ago


I love your scenario and your setup. You've got the makings of a real searing thriller here! My biggest note is about paragraphs. Rules are meant to be broken, but I was always taught not to have more than four lines per paragraph as any more can be intimidating to the eye. You've got some paragraphs here that are over twenty lines long. Splitting these up can make your novel read faster, so essential to a thriller like this!

Other than that, nice work! You're backed! Looking forward to your thoughts on Head Games!

Kevin Alex Baker
Head Games

Eunice Attwood wrote 1305 days ago

This is extremely well written.Compelling and engaging. The suspense built nicely, leaving me wanting more.
The main character was believable, and the story is well structured. Backed. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

bindi wrote 1306 days ago

I like the way you started the book, that's the only thing i need to know if i'll be interested in reading more whcih i am. I having gone into the book yet but i am guessing that u have hinted that finding out how Marchant's wife died. you should expect a lot of backing soon, and comments. meanwhile, i recomedn this book, THE SEVEN PIECE Stone, for you to take a look at.

JD Revene wrote 1306 days ago


Saw your post on my Recommendations threa and came to take a look at the first of your two (the other might have to wait until next month).

Short pitch I wondered if the second and third sentence wouldn't be more effective if reversed (the third is a great tag-line, just didn't seem to sit comfortably where it was, at least to me).

Long pitch second last sentence/parargraph deosn't work for me. And I think you could give us a bit more; it seems shorthanded and I'm not quite clear what's back-story and what's present.

Into the work proper. The first paragraph is good, in the tradition of teasers at the beginning of crime stories.

But then you move into a long passage of exposition, before jolting into the story: there's no indication early that Marchant is at the crime scene. I think it would be good to put him in scene before giving the back-story, though there are some great images and insights in that backstory.

Reading on through chapter one there's a lot of the same--back-story, mixed with short scenes advancing the story.

You do both well, especially the backstory, but I do feel the balance could be adjusted to give more active scenes.

There are some long paragraphs here, some odd use of brackets and perhaps one or two more exclamation marks more than you need.

However, the backstory and the way you get into Marchant's head is well done.

Backed for the potential.

Caroline Hartman wrote 1306 days ago

Oh Stephen,
My eyes ached, actually teared, but I didn't stop reading. Your 'mind talk' is good, your story is riveting. I like Marchant, his back story. You've very successfully gotten to the inside ot the killer's head. The tension is incredible, and although I feel part of that tension is caused by no pauses, I think you need to break this first chapter into several chapters. Have you read any James Patterson? He does this effectively and still keeps the tension. Your story is incredible. Best of luck with this.
Summer Rose.

Stephen R Long wrote 1307 days ago

Thanks glad you enjoyed.

Please tell friends.

Will check you out tomorrow.


Stephen R Long wrote 1307 days ago

Thanks for backing. I have taken on board comments and will change if I get the time and book goes up the charts. But you did enjoy it didn't you?


Stephen R Long wrote 1307 days ago

Thanks for backing. I have taken on board comments and will change if I get the time and book goes up the charts. But you did enjoy it didn't you?


Despinas1 wrote 1307 days ago

Great crime, thriller, suspense going on here. Brilliant work.
Backed with pleasure
The Last Dream

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1312 days ago

Dear Stephen,
Your pitch is really great! Then I got into your book and the paragraphs are so long that they make my eyes swim. You have a nice writing style and an interesting plot, so I would recommend that you break your work up into shorter paragraphs for easier reading.

Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

Stephen R Long wrote 1312 days ago

Thanks for this. I am full of flu so it made me feel a bit better.


Andrew Burans wrote 1313 days ago

You have written a very interesting and unique storyline, which I do like, and created a most memorable main character in Marchant. The dialogue is realistic and well written and the pace of your story flows well. All of this along with your descriptive writing makes your crime thriller a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Stephen R Long wrote 1313 days ago

Many thanks pleased you are enjoying it.


missyfleming_22 wrote 1313 days ago

Wow you really have a talent for writing the gruesome and making it interesting and entertaining. I love your descriptive writing. May sound a bit morbid but it worked perfect for this kind of crime novel. I'm involved and really want to know how this plays out. Keep up the good work this is turning into a hell of a ride!


Stephen R Long wrote 1314 days ago

Thanks for this. I did have a very long expanded draft and was told to cut it back. I then had lots of people ask for more murders because they found the different deaths really interesting. It's never easy is it.

But Thanks anyway.


briantodd wrote 1314 days ago

Dear Stephen
Your story is graphic and entertaining and packed with incident. I think that you should slow the action a bit and expand the personality and character of Marchant a bit more at the beginning. His wife has commited suicide 6 months ago.We need to know more than we are told about this. Its difficult to know how the story can carry on after this revelation. How long did he have off work? How disturbed are his children ? His sister in law looks after his kids hundreds of miles away and he misses them and wishes his two weekends a month lasted longer. He is a top detective and has a busy professional life and your main story is in the criminal world he inhabits. However for this to work better the reader needs to know more early on about the disaster that his personal life and I think you should spend more time on this. If you dont the reader has the view that he he is cold and unsympathetic with no emotional inner life. Only when we empathise with the man can we appreciate his predicament.



Stephen R Long wrote 1315 days ago

Sorry about the long paras. I will change this in the future but please persevere I am sure you will enjoy it.


WendyMSR wrote 1315 days ago

I'm a huge fan of forensic science, so this will be going on my wish list. However, I'm finding the very long paragraphs distracting. They're actually taking me out of narration. I'm looking forward to getting back to this because it looks great at a glance!

Stephen R Long wrote 1319 days ago

Thanks for the comment. Please tell your friends

Stephen R Long wrote 1319 days ago

Thanks for the comment. Please tell your friends

hikey wrote 1319 days ago

'Underground '

A dark, gritty realistic thriller with strong atmospheric undertones. The characters are instantly believable and it is well written.


Owen Quinn wrote 1321 days ago

this has the makings of a classic, when an author can take an old theme and make it seem fresh with a killer hat is both original and frightening

SusieGulick wrote 1322 days ago

You are totally fantastic, Stephen! :) How can I ever thank you enough for backing my memoir book? :)
God bless you. :) Love, Susie :)

name falied moderation wrote 1322 days ago

Dear Stephen

I have to wonder on this site at the
creations that come from peoples heads and of course the immense talent of those like yourself to animate
such colorful characters. I truly wish I had half your talent.

Please take a moment to look, COMMENT which is important to me, and BACK my book. if not that is OK

The VERY best of luck to you

The Letter

SusieGulick wrote 1323 days ago

Dear Stephen, Well, I discovered this your other book & have read it & am now commenting on it. :) I love police action, especially when they catch the bad guy. :) You pitch told me this was going to be a good one & I was hoping for a happy ending with the crime breaker under arrest with no officers killed. :) Nice write with tight dialogue & paragraphs providing a smooth read. :) I've backed your 2 books :) - could you please take a moment to back my memoir book? :) Thanks so very much. :) Love, Susie :)

Gail_M wrote 1397 days ago

I'm not generally a fan of thrillers but I was lured by your pitch and found this an interesting and intriguing read. Marchant is very likeable and I like the way you intersperse details of his home life and his past with details of his work and daily routine. There are a few huge paragraph that could do with breaking up a little but they don't detract from your very strong writing and a truly excellent story. I wish you every success with it.
Backed with pleasure

Burgio wrote 1404 days ago

This is a good thriller. Marchant is a good detective; he’s likable and certainly sympathetic because his wife was killed. I like the whole idea of the subway ticket clues. Makes this a good read. I’m adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Mooderino wrote 1404 days ago

Good solid writing that moves forward well. At times the writing gets a little convoluted which slowed the pace for me, but in general it was an engaging story.

The part where his wife considered his life like a cop show was a good idea that seemed to trip over itself a bit, Too many words jammed together. That happened in a few other places, like the section where he 'would have got' the text CALL. A little streamlining/trimming would have helped, imo.

I think breaking up the larger paragraphs would also help, at the moment i found myself geting lost in reading such large chunks of text.

I think you have all the elements of a good story and you convey his mood and attitude very well. Backed.

Stephen R Long wrote 1405 days ago

Thanks for your great comment. Wouldn't posting the synopsis give the game away?

Francis Albert McGrath wrote 1405 days ago

Down in the tubestation at midnight... this is an excellent piece of writing. A bit rough around the edges, but hey, we need roughage in our diet. Post the synopsis.

Jedda wrote 1407 days ago

A very graphic account of poor Rachel's murder. Marchant's private life certainly added depth to his character. Your story developed at a good pace and held my interest. On my shelf for a whirl. Good Luck, Anne

Stephen R Long wrote 1409 days ago

Thanks Yasmin glad you like it. tell your friends please. may give me the kick to edit it again.