Book Jacket

 

rank 396
word count 27660
date submitted 16.04.2010
date updated 15.05.2012
genres: Thriller, Romance, Comedy, Crime
classification: moderate
incomplete

Holy Disorder

Digby Fletcher

A comic thriller which starts with a dead curate and follows his boss turned detective on a zany investigation of his murder.

 

Tony, a vicar, is dragged into the world of crime and espionage by the murder of his curate. The story follows his sometimes dangerous, sometimes comic investigation.
Like a hapless beacon of fallible righteousness,Tony's light shines undiminished as he becomes involved with fast women and bad men.The burning question is,who was the dead man,and is he really dead? Read and find out.

 
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tags

black comedy, crime, duplicity, gay, murder, romance, sexual encounters, tennis, thriller, venality, vengeance

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416 comments

 

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C.O'shea wrote 91 days ago


Holy Disorder- Digby Fletcher.
A CLOG Review:

I saw this on the clog list and I really liked the name so I clicked the link. I liked the premise of a murdering curator too. The pitch was intriguing and I was keen to have read.

So, I read the first four so far. The writing is clear and engaging. I like your curator lots, he is wonderfully sinister and I always quite like it when stories give you a closer perspective into the 'baddies'. I love dark humour and this is quite dark with mutilation and all. But a lot of what you write about sounds authentic which is good; family liaison officers, description of formal enquiries. I think it works well to ground a story like this with some details like that.

I think it could do with a tidy up in places, just some gaps in text or no gaps where they should be sometimes. You have clear, to the point and minimalist writing style (which really is my preference), but that can mean that mistakes seem more obvious and are distracting. But its really nothing major, just a bit more polish.

The only thing I was a bit confused about was in the pitch your hook is; 'who is the dead man? And is he really dead?'. But it seems you answer these questions very early on. Would it be better to rephrase somehow. Although, I suppose there could be another a twist to come- which would be excellent.

This has a lot of potential, great premise and nice writing style and a name that draws the eye when scrolling through a long list of other names :)

All the best with this,
Cj
Meet Brooke Parker

KathrynW wrote 223 days ago

Digby

I have read up to chapter 8. You have a readable punchy style which grabbed my attention. Your opening chapter begins with a novel idea - a murderous curate planning his crime. Your characterisation is strong. The curate is sinister just because from the outside he is so innocuous. The first three chapters hang together very well and the reader is primed to expect a murder mystery crime thriller. However, after that I felt there was some confusion as the plot moves off on a tangent. I wanted to hook onto Tony as the main character, but we begin to shift away to the Parkinson's family, first with Marcia's point of view and then with Anne. The action moves from the Uk to South Africa and I felt I was being pulled away from my centre of interest - the murder mystery. It began to feel a little like one of those shaggy dog tales.

I think this can be remedied by a few extra links. Perhaps Tony pondering a bit more deeply about Jasmine/Anne and what she was doing in the curate's house. Why did the police not know she was the sister etc, before moving into Anne's point of view. This would signal to the reader that Tony and Anne are going to be the main characters (if they are) and will meet up later. Chapter 5 is not necessary from a structural, plot point of view. It is there to give background information which could be dripped in later. Keeping the forward motion of the plot is the most important thing in a thriller. Characterisation is secondary, though of course still important. You could take out chapter 5 and the plot would still hang together.

I am left with lots of questions about Anne and her motivation. Her affair with Jason seems to be too lightweight to drag her onto a crime scene and to the transporting of dangerous documents from underground political organisations. Hopefully you explain this later.

All in all, however, an excellent read. Better than most of the stuff on this site. I hope you are sending off your first three chapters to agents and not waiting for Authonomy, which i am beginning to think is only useful for feedback.

Some editorial nitpicks.

There are quite a lot of punctuation typos - missing spaces near hyphens, double commas and full stops and capitals where they should not be. These can be picked up by spellcheck if you use Word.

Chapter 4 - spell out WWF as World Wildlife Fund as you can't assume everyone knows.

'. . . and watched as she at her strode down the road' something wrong here.

I also think you have too many characters whose names begin with J - jasmine, Jemima, Jason etc.

Remaining on my watch list and high stars.

Kathryn
Waters of Grace

Seringapatam wrote 452 days ago

Digby. I enjoyed the two chapters I read. Its a quirky book that you can easily spend all day reading. There is a place in the market for this type of read so I think you will have an audience. Nice and flowing style, it felt good with nothing to complicated about it. Good luck with it. I loved it. Big score.
Sean Connolly...British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Many thanks. Sean

MJ Gleason wrote 452 days ago

Just finished the first chapter. This puts the "novel" in "novelty". I'll comment more on the subsequent chapters. Hopefully this in the coming weeks. A look at "Summer Of 1989" would mean the world.
Keep up the good work,
MJG

subra_2k123 wrote 485 days ago

well narrated, well paced story and great writing style. I enjoyed reading two chapters and I will continue to read. I still share some of the other readers concerns about use of localized words. Greatly starred and on my W/L.

venkatarama Dandibhotla
Ozoneraser

Software wrote 501 days ago

Well, this is right in the acceptance ballpark in terms of theme, style of delivery and reader impact. Comedy thrillers tend to be on the good side of the vast writing spectrum and Digby Fletcher has successfully carried on that tradition with the erudite tale of Tony, who inadvertently finds himself drawn into crime and spy capers. Well worth a read. Starred very highly.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Jackie McLean wrote 510 days ago

Oh, ps, and I love the title!

Jackie McLean wrote 510 days ago

I enjoyed reading the first few chapters, Digby, and liked the quirky nature of your writing. It makes it a bit different from run of the mill murder stories etc, and I was intrigued right away by the opening scene with the tramp. I liked that you get on with the story, and it doesn't get held up by too much unnecessary discription. Nice one!

Abby Vandiver wrote 513 days ago

I find your story interesting and engaging. Certainly, it makes you want to read more. But there are things missing in the story, like filler information that would make the transitions in scenes and between scenes easier and make the story flow better. I like your writing, although as an American I had a difficult time with some of the the language. You use names "Boots" for instance that is unfamiliar and causes confusion. If you only write for people in your area, then there is no problem, I suspect. But if you want a wider audience you'll need to make it not so colliquial.

And editing and reading out loud will make this good story even better.

Good start.

Abby

Emma.L.H. wrote 543 days ago

Digby, this is brilliant. Your narrative voice is spot on for this type of book. The opening sentence about the tramp is a brilliant way to open; it piques the interest instantly.

There are a few grammatical issues here but nothing a good edit wouldn't sort out. The structure of some of your paragraphs are also a bit messed up in places but this is probably Authonomy's fault; it's happened to me, too.

I didn't notice any typos, though, you've done a good job, here. I really enjoyed reading what I have and will be back to read more when time permits (if I spot anything that I think I could help with, I'll comment again).

In the meantime, highly starred and I wish you all the best with this. Well done.

stoatsnest wrote 652 days ago

Hi Digby,

It must've been over a year ago I originally read a sample of this. I've re-read the first three chapters, and I like your style. Your characters are well defined and your narrative is nice and simple, making it easily readable. I think also you've got the right voice for this style of black comedy thriller. Your writing never stood still, and you switched scenes nicely and without complications.

PS. Just spotted the one typo; in the fourth paragraph of Chapter 2, you've spelt 'reverie' as 'reveririe.' Anyway, this is very readable, so well done.

Pete



Thanks Pete. I have to admit this is an old version,and I've had it edited so various errors have been corrected.

whoster wrote 653 days ago

Hi Digby,

It must've been over a year ago I originally read a sample of this. I've re-read the first three chapters, and I like your style. Your characters are well defined and your narrative is nice and simple, making it easily readable. I think also you've got the right voice for this style of black comedy thriller. Your writing never stood still, and you switched scenes nicely and without complications.

PS. Just spotted the one typo; in the fourth paragraph of Chapter 2, you've spelt 'reverie' as 'reveririe.' Anyway, this is very readable, so well done.

Pete

Sharda D wrote 661 days ago

Hi Digby,
a return read for your support of Mr Unusually's Circus of Dreams.

I read the first 3 chps but would have happily read more. This is pacy and exciting writing. Well done. I enjoyed it very much. The Curate is a great character, devilish but likeable at the same time, a difficult balancing act to achieve. I liked the frequent scene changes and POV switching, it kept the interest up and the pace moving along swiftly. There was also a seam of black humour running along the whole thing, which was delicious.

6 stars from me, but no room on my shelf at the moment.
All the best,
Sharda.
P.S. You might like to take a look at whoster's Wilberforce and Grace if you haven't read it already. It strikes me that you and whoster have some similarities as writers. You might enjoy each other's writing. You're both pacy, do frequent scene changes and write even the devilish characters with empathy and humanity.
http://www.authonomy.com/books/30023/wilberforce-grace/

Toe in the water wrote 687 days ago

I thought this was a really great paced read, although I wouldn't describe it as either comic or zany. Maybe that side of the book becomes more to the fore beyond chapter 19. It is, however, genuinely intriguing, with an unusual plot. The jumping between strands of the narrative works well...so when you leave each strand at a chapter end you're frustrated at having the story interrupted, but equally gripped to be picking up another. The dramatic action sequences work particularly well, with Ann's ordeal with her captors genuinely involving and scary. Some of the plot devices feel a bit flimsy, such as Penny's perhaps implausible immediate knowledge of the South African connection, and the need for the sending of papers out of SA by a highly inefficient sounding courier system, but maybe these implausibilities are actually reflective of future plot developments...and for most readers this sort of thing isn't a problem.
All in all, highly enjoyable, and highly starred from me.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 707 days ago

HOLY DISORDER
This is an interesting mystery. I was puzzled how the curate was going to make this homeless guy look enough like himself to fool people, but he pulled it off ok (I’m worred tho, Ambrose has a tattoo on him somewhere (the curate never say him undressed) that will be a give away). I like Tony. Between the curate who isn’t really dead and the strange “sister” he’s up to his ears in trouble. Best of all, I like your writing style. It’s crisp and clear and very easy to follow. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

M. E. Harrow wrote 719 days ago

The story is very intriguing. I like the fact that the writer ensures we know what has happened, but then the rug is pulled away and the reader finds themelves unsure if that is what actually happened.
I also like stories that go off on tangents, trying to link them to the central story is what I love about crime writing and this book delivers on that count.
Well done, this is a very good read.

K J Anderson wrote 720 days ago

The first two chapters of this most unusual (that is to say original) story is a joy. I particularly liked your use of dialogue to move the action forwward. That is something of a lost art in fiction now. More's the pity.

Terence Brumpton wrote 731 days ago

I just read the first two chapters and it's not what i expected. It's a lot better, its a really food book and one i hope to see one day in a shop
Terence

Lacydeane wrote 732 days ago

I just read the first 2 chapters of your work and have to say I liked it very much. You managed to keep my attention, and if I had more time I would certainly read on.
You have some very interesting characters whom you present well. The dialogue and descriptions are good.
Your writing is very good. I didn't see any mistakes.
Sometimes these controversial subjects make the best books. Great job!! Lacy

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 747 days ago

I read the pitch and was intrigued by the story of a vicar who becomes embroiled in murder and the criminal world. A nice twist on the usual murder mystery novel especially the comedy element. This genre is very competitive so it is important to have something that stands out from the rest. I have a few criticisms which I hope you won't object to. The overall presentation is a little messy with different line spacing, some speech indented and some not etc. It's because I work in a clerical capacity that this stands out to me but it is easily remedied. I found that some parts of the story jumped too quickly. For example when Phylis is in the witness box. She only gives her name and states her shock at finding the body when suddenly the story jumps to Reverend Goddard being called to the witness box. I would suggest elaborating on Phylis's time in the box as she did discover the body and I feel her statement would be crucial to the case. I did enjoy reading Holy Disorder and I think with a bit of editing here and there this would be a great novel.

Kim (Pain)

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 758 days ago

Dear Digby

This is very witty and well written. I feel you have taken considerable pains over your MS.

Your plot unwinds smoothly and carefully, your characters are well observed, with just the right amount of calculation to make them amusing. Your dialogue is utterly natural, and the whole piece moves at a good pace. You invest your descriptions with sardonic and understated humour which makes reading very rewarding.

Thank you for a great read.

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" :)

David Price wrote 761 days ago

Digby, I'm so glad you got in touch! What a refreshing read - not only a master lesson in brevity, but hilarious too! Still have a way to go, but it just so happens that a place has opened up on my shelf, and I'm delighted to have to look no further. Six stars.
David
MASTER ACT: a memoir

AuroraNemesis wrote 816 days ago

An incredible style of writing, you are truly a storyteller.
Strong pitch followed a mind-blowing story.
The pace quickly drew me in and the well described characters.
Your writing is fluent and easy to follow. Action, tension, humour, this book has it all
Pitch, pace and powerful.
Pov add to the plot.
Full of emotion and tension, yet not too much to make reading tedious.
Good read.
Well done

roundrobin1 wrote 829 days ago

Hi Digby, Read the first six chapters. I am enjoying the story. You are weaving the web very well. The characters come across really well which makes them easy to visualise. You just leave enough information missing to draw the reader on. Lots of stars and Very Good Luck with it-Carole

johnpatrick wrote 831 days ago

Hello Digby,
I've read the first three chapters. Hope you can return the favour as I like the quality of your critiques.
That said I would say, overall, this does not reach the expectations I had after a promising start. The premise has inherent intrigue which is not over-played. The mechanics of the deed - the preparation and killing - as well as the policer procedural and inquest scene sound authentic and are, again, not over-played.
The main relative weakness for me is the thin humour - which come across as class-based and sneering (the ex-bingo hall cleaner and the pasty-faced tatooed friend).
I would enhance the core of the story - which is the MCs actions and motivations - letting the comedy aspect develope later.
The writing itself is clear and uncluttered.
Good Luck!
John
Dropping Babies

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 7 Too much detail in a plane ride and bus ride instead of character development. I'm sure the story gets interesting somewhere further on, but I'm pulling the plug here. Sorry.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 6 Still waiting for the humor. Haven't found it yet. The pacing is staccato and abrupt in the telling. One minute the character is playing tennis and the next line they are on a train home. What happens in-between. The writer has the time to fill-out the background of the story. Also needs editing.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 5 This chapter need not be so short. The writer stuffs the history of the character and any character nuances into one paragraph. It's okay sometimes to let the reader see the character's life and history evolve over a period of time. However, given that we have a sharp,whittled-down portrait of this pathetic person's 70 year life.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 4 The author still has trouble with time transitions. The chapter seems stiff as if there's no life in it; possibly because we don't have a good sense of Tony as a person.It's a story told as if memorized, without feeling.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 3 Again, rather a dry recitation. The writer needs to check for errors in this chapter, inappropriate punctuation etc. Otherwise, the scene is clearly set without to much waste of time we are in the midst of the story and mystery.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 2 Abrupt transitions between scenes. Goddard doesn't seem to have many feelings towards his dead colleague as he's too busy eyeing the girls. A bit crude and sterile in the overall feeling of the chapter in terms of reactions and emotional content.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 835 days ago

Ch 1 Very interesting beginning a nice intriduction into the story. It appears to be a mystery-murder at first glance without reading the exerpt. Obviously an English writer as there are references that an American doesn't understand and that can be an issue if addressing a general audience. However, the writing is good.

Bill Carrigan wrote 837 days ago

First I want to thank you for backing "The Doctor of Summitville" and for calling my attention to "Holy Disorder." I've read your first chapter with amusement and admiration.You've introduced distinctive, unpredictable characters and set the stage for something diabolical. It's impossible not to read on. I'll get back to you when I've read a bit more. Best regards, Bill

FrancesK wrote 840 days ago

Digby, this is a weird and wonderful reality you have created - the juxtaposition of English vicars and South African paramilitaries, the blow by blow account of a tennis match, the dialogue - it's bizarre, and in your comic world, there is obviously a reason for everything, but for me, it's all a bit too unlikely [starting from the fact that I know nothing about any of these topics]. Comedies about murder are a tough nut to crack, and I wish you the very best of luck with its development.

jlbwye wrote 860 days ago

Holy Disorder. I love your title, and your pitches offer promise of some fun.
I take notes as I read, but dont pretend to be an expert.

Ch.1. Racey stuff, with a touch of humour, and some spicey intrigue. Your style is easy-going, as you gather the threads of your plot and force me to click on. One tiny thought - if you exaggerated the funny bits, creating even more of a obvious caricature, readers may not fall into the possible trap of thinking you are defaming the church? I admit I did wonder at one stage whether I wanted to read on...

Ch.2. Do you think that the cleaning woman's conversation might come as a preamble to her horrific discovery, I wonder? And the first bit about the Reverend seems somewhat out of place. But no doubt all will become smoother as I read on.
Oh - another sudden change of scene!

Chs.3-4 If this story is about Tony, I'm wondering you might have to think about starting the book with him. I'm still not clear in my mind who is the Main Character.
I like that subtle touch: the south London accent had moved nearer Guildford.

Ch.5. Yet another scene change, with new characters, and what on earth has tennis to do with what's gone before?

Ch.6. Oh, I see the link now, but the story appears to have drifted way off course -

You have a good pacey style of writing, and dI found no nits to pick. The chapters read rather like loosely connected excerpts of a story. The plot sounds intriguing, and promises many permutations. But I'd say you have some work to do developing the characters more fully, and allowing the reader more time to familiarise with their backgrounds. Then you can gradually and smoothly lead on to the next twist in the plot, so the reader scracely notices the scene changes.
It might mean some re-arranging and it would be worth identifing exactly who is the main character from the outset.
The starting of a book is fun, but it does entail a lot of work, and it is so worth it in the end. Yours deserves to be persevered with!

I hope this has helped.
Jane (Breath of Africa).

Cyrus Hood wrote 897 days ago

Clean and crisp, this is not a genre I usually read, nevertheless I am beginning to enjoy this story. I think it would improve with a slightly sharper beginning - maybe make the Curate's dialogue with the tramp more predatory and calculating. The tension just needs tweaking a little to draw the reader in. By Chapter 3 Its clear that you are writing about what you know, which always makes for the most believable text. However, so far developing into an interesting and well written tale that I shall continue to read. Well done and good luck.

regards

Cyrus

QuinnYA wrote 898 days ago

This really surprised me. You've got a maturity to you writing that comes across as polished and professional. I admit I don't read much crime but I'd absolutely have a go at this one. The little touches of humor added to it and kicked it up a notch. I think you've done a wonderful job with this.

Missy

Hermione wrote 912 days ago

I picked this as written by the person who made the sanest and most civilised response to Lisamabou...glad I did!

Terrific story, well written, needs a little tidying up, but don't we all? Finish it, please. Five stars and on my watchlist

bunderful wrote 913 days ago

I started reading this not knowing what to think at all. But once I started reading - wow! I was drawn in right away. Your pacing is great - the characters are a bit creepy and interesting. I actually found myself wishing there was even more description in the first chapter leading up to the death. Your writing is crisp and clear. I was immediately impressed by everything about this. I would say that your short/long pitch could be rewritten to something a bit more gripping. I would not have been drawn in to read your book just from that pitch alone...I guess the story really is about Tony - but it doesn't start off like that so it threw me. But all in all - this is really good stuff. I'd read it.

- Rena (Bunderful) author of Master of the Miracles

AMW wrote 917 days ago

Love your cover.

You write well, and this promises to be an enjoyable read. And, indeed, the first chapter did a nice job of laying things out. You were subtle, but still it's clear the dead man isn't the curate. And why the curate would fake his death is still a mystery... a good thing!

In chap 2 I hit a number of minor glitches.

You have the phrase "opened the door" twice in the paragraph describing Phyllis's arrival at the curate's.

Not sure I like the placement of the flashback between Phyllis and friend. Liked the dialogue though... maybe they could be walking along talking about the vicar and curate and then they part and Phyllis opens the door (once) and discovers the body.

You use terms like FLO, DC, DCI without explaining them. Since I'm a Midsomer Murders fan, I know what DC and DCI are, but FLO stumped me, and might stump others as well. You're also inconsistent in writing them as DC vs D.C.

I was a bit bothered that the police referred to the vicar as Tony.

Statement that the prayer shawl was left over from a previous viewing is only a supposition on the Vicar's part, not a certainty.

The detail about the genitals being mutilated... at first the sentence structure made it seem you were saying that Tony could see that, but I expect he could only see the head injuries. I think the genital information might have more impact presented later.

I would suggest just a bit more subtlety with regards to the vicar's take on the FLO. You've laid the groundwork (very nicely) for me to be on the lookout for a woman for Tony. So let me (as reader) do some of the work... you could have him think something like it was an odd job in which to find an attractive young woman. For me, voluptuous is an over the top word, perhaps better employed later.

Chap 3

Down at heel – down-at-heel?

I found it extremely odd that Phyllis would work at 7:30 on a Sunday eve unless she also fixed the curate's supper perhaps?

You have a mix-up in the sequence of events. You have part of the court proceedings before Tony makes it through security and into the courtroom.

For the courtroom bit, you could also play more than you have with Phyllis's testimony. She appears to be a garrulous woman. She could try to get going in a colorful way on a number of topics where she would have to be cut off.

You are a good writer, and this is an intriguing story. I plan to back it and come back to read more.

Ann Warner – Absence of Grace

AunaJune wrote 927 days ago

"A solution to a riddle." Intriguing. Great introduction to the first chapter. It moves the reader right along and I can see you have written it thoroughly so the reader isn't hooked up by any mistakes or awkward phrases. "The sins of the flesh led to everlasting damnation." Interesting. I really like this sentence. It had this dark creepy feeling that is always fun to read. The only thing I can really note on is I feel you almost don't have enough detail. i feel like I am moving from place to place and not really seeing the world you are trying to create. Maybe if you added just a bit more detail to where your character is, it would really help with the image your reader produces, because at the moment I just see a strange guy in a place I know nothing about. I am a little confused as to why Peter just comes out and says his name after he talks about paint. It just seemed a bit abrupt, something I would look at because I feel it could use a better transition. "bloody barber." Funny. Overall I find your story a little witty and it moves along just fine. I really think with the right audience you will do great. Best of luck.

Auna June
Catalaysia: The Curse of Five

Sandie Zand wrote 928 days ago

Intriguing... an evil clergyman faking his own death. Pitch promises an interesting story - I've read three chapters so not sure where everything's going at this point.

I felt chapter one was too rushed - not enough side detail... chapter two and it's starting to find its pace but this chapter is very brief... chapter three and the pace, for me, is much better. Story still moving but now we have observations, scenery detail, and I feel the story's coming together at this point.

Pitch could do with breaking up a bit. One huge para is hard on the eyes when reading online.

Gideon McLane wrote 929 days ago

"Holy Disorder"-Digby Fletcher. I read the 1st 4 chapters and scanned 5-6 and several comments. In some ways this reads like an Earl Stanley Gardner book - interesting approach - stars for that. Some thoughts: long pitch - suggest you add "must" before "find resources..." - puts reader in suspense do they or don't they?; chapter 1 - "Curate loved...." has extra line that breaks up sentence - a thought - "The curate hated bugs. He got great satisfaction from squishing beetles." might work better; suggest tramp's instincts would warn him against curate so maybe "Surely a clergyman could be trusted." might work; suggest you put "(F.L.O.)" after or don't use later in chapter; chapt 5 has several paras in a row starting out with "She" - suggest changing that.

Hope this helps!

Gideon ("Thrill Writer's Remorse")

eddie mccann wrote 940 days ago

Dear Digby,

I found 'Holy Disorder' very enjoyable to read a great mystery story, 5***** rated. Good luck in the future.

Eddie

Catherine Edmunds wrote 940 days ago

A workmanlike cover and a title that gives a flavour of what to expect, which is good. Short pitch is fine though I'm not sure about 'zany', particularly as you've called this 'literary fiction'. Long pitch invites me to sit back and enjoy. Sounds like it'll be a romp.

Chapter one. Whitgift Centre? We're in Croydon? Yes! It's mentioned a few lines further down. Excellent. Too few thrillers start in Croydon. His thoughts about the tramp explain why he's bought the shaving gear and why he's been careful not to get his own fingerprints on it. The story continues with just enough predictability to feel comfortable, but also with a few unexpected details to keep the interest. Very readable. There are a few typos - missing full stops at the end, and one or two formatting glitches - but nothing major.

Chapter two. I've been reading some books that take whole paragraphs to describe people in the minutest detail. You, on the other hand, pick up on one or two telling points and leave it at that. I can't tell you what a relief this is. I'm particularly fond of the description of Ivy. 'a small woman with a pasty face, and the words 'Ron' tattooed on her upper right arm.' (Of course, if I were to be picky, I would point out that 'Ron' is one word so you don't need the plural).

Chapter three. Carries the story on perfectly satisfactorily. I like the pace. There's no padding; it's good, straightforward storytelling. Is it literary fiction? No, not in my view. Too plot-driven rather than character-driven. 'Stuff' is happening all the time. It's crime fiction initially, and may well have elements of thriller and/or romance as it goes along, but I don't think you do it any favours by calling it lit fic. You might put people off who don't want to read anything too heavy.

This is a fun read, which is exactly what I expected from the long pitch. Definitely entertaining, and the sort of thing I'd read cover-to-cover in just a few sittings if I had the paperback in my hand.

a.morrison712 wrote 948 days ago

I read your first chapter. I love that it starts right off with the dialogue. I am partial to bringing in the reader this way. You have developed your writing style well, and it is a pleasure to read. The sentences seem smooth and the dialogue natural. I am giving you high stars for creativity and your excellent use of showing and not telling. Good luck with your book!

Best,

Ashley
'Maddy Hatfield and the Magic Locket'

RossClark1981 wrote 968 days ago

- Holy Disorder -

(Chapters 1-3)

The premise for this seems highly original, a comedy crime novel with overtones of religion. From where I’ve read to, it’s of course difficult to get a sense of the overall structure and execution of the novel but those chapters I went through were well written and delivered a lot of vivid and convincing scenes. The courtroom scene belies the author’s own professional background of course but it manages to be convincing without dumping too much information on the reader, never a given.

The characterization of Tony is good in that we learn about him naturally through his interaction and dialogue with the other characters. The author clearly has knowledge of the workings of the church too as the portrayal of Tony’s role as vicar is both effortless and convincing.

I have some minor editorial nitpicks but nothing major.

-‘his own beggar’s smile,….’ (chapter one)
----The comma seems out of place.

-‘Thank you sir.’ (chapter one)
----Terms of address in speech should be capitalized and preceded by a comma. So, ‘Thank you, Sir.’

-‘He had a comfortable life-dull….’ (chapter two)
----I’m assuming the above is a typo with the hyphen out of place.

-She said, ‘That’s it now Reverend.’ (chapter two)
----The ‘She said’ is unnecessary and can be omitted as it’s clear both from context and content that it’s the police officer speaking. There should also be a comma before ‘Reverend’, as it is a term of address.

As I say, these are all very minor editorial nitpicks. The story and the writing seem solid to me.

All the best with it,

Ross

elmo2 wrote 978 days ago

i have a rule, if it is interesting enough to keep me reading past the first couple chapters then I will back it, so i will back this, give me a day or two though, i want to be fair to a few people i have on my bookshelf before I switch them out, but i assure it will get it on my shelf, i will give it lots of stars for now, i find the set up clever and not over done, i guess you could have thrown in some more descriptive passages and used less 'be' verbs but that might have went against the piece which relies some on understatement and sarcasm, best wishes with everything, will you take a look at my piece "sound not heard" if you get a chance

MIRO1K wrote 982 days ago

Dear Digby,

You have very impressive instincts as a writer and I can tell, as a writer, you are also well-read. You have a natural (or very well-learned) ability to deliver rise and fall in your paragraphs -using shorter and longer paragraphs and sentences to manipulate the reactions you want from the reader. You have an excellent rhythm -the paragraphs have a real roundedness (if that's a word) and shape which is very satisfying for the reader. Your characterisation is economic and evocative. I especially like the opening paragraph to chapter three -the kind you feel very satisfied after hitting the 'return' button!

I have almost no quibbles up until chapter four where, I think perhaps you were on a roll with your writing and in your mind's eye the images are there -but for the reader we need the gaps in imagery and scene setting to be filled in a little more. I did exactly the same thing in my book -it's an easy one to make. So I think you need to take a look at this chapter and possibly others following ( not have time to read sorry) and fill in the perceptual gaps in imagery. Slow it down -create mood from the setting -add actions to your dialogue to fine tune the characterisation. You do this beautifully in the preceding chapters so I think there will be no problem in fleshing this out.

On the whole, a very mature, well-structured read.
Six stars and very keen to read more -the premise is great.

Kaal Kaczmarek
Cousin Felicity and the Eels of Misty Point.


Jesse Powell wrote 984 days ago

An excellent chunk of narrative. Moves quickly from Curate's motivation and includes a peek into his victim. I was not put off by the brutality of the assault, it deepened the need to understand what the Curate's grander scheme was.