Book Jacket

 

rank 1231
word count 41823
date submitted 12.07.2011
date updated 15.07.2011
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Christian, Crime
classification: universal
complete

The Scream

Ruth Mathews

Sam wakes up on a train. He doesn’t know who he is or where he’s going. An interesting choice of assistant for a murder investigation.

 

Sam Roden doesn’t know who he is, where he’s come from or where he’s going. His landlady Elizabeth says that everyone is like that; it’s just that most people don’t realise it. Sam has no memory, only a strange and illogical vision of a room that isn’t there and an eccentric friend who insists that Sam is the perfect assistant in his investigation of a murder.

The Scream is a detective novel with a difference. The difference being that the person helping to investigate the crime is asking the most unexpected questions; questions that are relevant to anyone who is ever going to die.

 
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Ruth Mathews wrote 1014 days ago

Ruth,
What an extraordinary way to start a story. Certainly getting into the POV of someone suffering memory loss had me empathizing with him and sharing his joy with every bit of discovery and recollection. You have a straightforward narrative style coupoled with a pithy dialogue that delivers your story well. Thank you so much for the compelling read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean



Thank you very much for your encouraging comment Kenneth. We really appreciate it.

philiprandalwebb wrote 937 days ago

Dear Ruth,

Just a thank you for buying my two ebooks on Kindle. (The Universe is Spooky - Parts 1 & 2) . If you can let me know the name of your ebook/s - I shall receiprocate. My email address is: phil.webb.1944@hotmail.co.uk
I'm sorry I've taken a while to thank you - but you can appreciate that I'm going through a bit of a rough patch just now....

Love,

Phil. Webb...

philiprandalwebb wrote 937 days ago

Dear Ruth,

Just a thank you for buying my two ebooks on Kindle. (The Universe is Spooky - Parts 1 & 2) . If you can let me know the name of your ebook/s - I shall receiprocate. My email address is: phil.webb.1944@hotmail.co.uk
I'm sorry I've taken a while to thank you - but you can appreciate that I'm going through a bit of a rough patch just now....

Love,

Phil. Webb...

Treasure Seeker wrote 958 days ago

A very unusual start. You have no problems with delivering a back story as our main character is discovering who he is as we are. So we follow a linear real-time exposition which is a simple but rewarding structure. The tale is told well with few errors and a pleasing style. The dialogue is well written and the descriptions of setting and actions are constructed well. This is on my bookshelf as the mystery is unfolding well.

Nightdream wrote 967 days ago

Chapter 1

First, I like how you combine your names. Ruth Mathews. The names fit perfectly. But about your story (when I say you, I mean you and you). Your writing is very simple but good. I think simple writing is the best kind of writing. For one, it means everyone can read it. Two, it just makes a book read a lot faster, most of the time. I like how you just state what you want. That's how it should be. No B.S.

I love how we get to know Sam along with himself. We learn with him. I'd like to know why he can't remember, how he will figure things out, and how will he survive. All of these questions I want answered. So it makes me want to read more. Him being on a train makes me wonder if he was running away from something or running to something. Great beginning.

Michael Croucher wrote 968 days ago

You paint powerful images with your words and they make for an engaging and satisfying read. You do tell your story well, but I think it will be even more compelling if you trim your prose just a bit.
I really enjoyed what I read of this, and I'm sure it will do well on Authonomy and elsewhere.
I will offer one example of a sentence that I thought could be tightened. At the start of Chapter Two, ' I did not have far to go before my feet had informed me that I had arrived at wherever..." It might have more impact with fewer words, and after the word arrived you simply posed a question from the character, ' But where was I?" Just my opinion for what it's worth. Backed and highly rated, well done.
Michael Croucher (Bravo's Veil)

Ariom Dahl wrote 975 days ago

I read this all the way through and much enjoyed it.

Ruth Mathews wrote 988 days ago

It is difficult for me to understand what actually is going on here. I mean I read and re-read the first two chapters and I am still perplexed. Is he suffering with amnesia I ask myself? Well I'm not entirely sure. Then I want to know what period this is, and from the descriptions deduce it must be in the days of steam engines I think, and we are in England because of the letters B&B and the manner in which people conduct themselves. Then that word that stands out among other words pops up again in my head, "proprietorial" (behaving in a proud way because you are, or feel like you are, the owner of something.) Then that scream that carries on the night air like ice and leaves the darkness torn in such a way that I suppose demons might use the rent as a portal? I'm not being facetious but what does this mean? I have so many questions (is this science fiction?) far too many for me to carry on reading, so I think I will leave it there and wish you all the very best.- Wilfred



Well Wilfred, thank you for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to read and feedback to me. I do however find it quite strange that you've 'deduced' - correctly I might add - all these answers to your questions and yet still wonder what's happening in the story. Evidently what I have written has done precisely what I intended it to do, which is build up a picture of what is happening wihtout insulting my intelligent readers by spelling everything out. As for my choice of words such as 'proprietorial', well as an English teacher I am very careful about the words I use and mean exactly what I say. I appreciate that some readers won't agree with or like my choice of words, but that is nevertheless what I meant and what I deliberately chose to write.

Gradually, as the story unfolds, your 'deductions' are confirmed. The date is a Wednesday in October 1949 for example. I believe, without actually looking back to check, that you find that out in chapter three.

Obviously I realise that not everyone will enjoy The Scream and this is something I can completely accept. However, for your own benefit as a reader, I think you'd enjoy stories more if you trusted what you call your deductions - your instincts - as you read. Trust the writer and believe what you're reading.

Meanwhile, I also wish you all the best.

Ruth.

mick hanson wrote 988 days ago

It is difficult for me to understand what actually is going on here. I mean I read and re-read the first two chapters and I am still perplexed. Is he suffering with amnesia I ask myself? Well I'm not entirely sure. Then I want to know what period this is, and from the descriptions deduce it must be in the days of steam engines I think, and we are in England because of the letters B&B and the manner in which people conduct themselves. Then that word that stands out among other words pops up again in my head, "proprietorial" (behaving in a proud way because you are, or feel like you are, the owner of something.) Then that scream that carries on the night air like ice and leaves the darkness torn in such a way that I suppose demons might use the rent as a portal? I'm not being facetious but what does this mean? I have so many questions (is this science fiction?) far too many for me to carry on reading, so I think I will leave it there and wish you all the very best.- Wilfred

Ian Walkley wrote 996 days ago

Great narrative, and a beginning that prompts the reader to turn the page. Excellent.

Ruth Mathews wrote 996 days ago

Hi Ruth
Just read the first 4 chapters of 'The Scream'. Not a genre I would normally choose but found this piece riveting. Think the use of a first person narrator who's lost his memory is an excellent device which works very well once Pierre is introduced.You evoke setting very effectively with atmospheric description. Your dialogue is very much in keeping with character and the style helps to reflect the period without it sounding cumbersome. One or two points: in chpt 1 'of which I was aware' - know it's grammatically correct but sounds awkward. Secondly, you use figurative language very effectively for the most part but don't feel 'words and ideas' can really be compared to 'truants caught scrumping'. Same is true of the smell of 'coffee' being compared to 'ammonia. 'And in chpt.2 you call 'like stern aunts' a metaphor, when it's a simile (nit picking, I know!). A great read written to a very professional standard. Well done.
Ardblair (Christine Findlay)



Thank you Christine, your feedback is very much appreciated. You're right in your metaphor/simile nit pick. I'm a pedant too and feel thoroughly ashamed of myself. Especially as I'm an English teacher! I'll edit it in my own copy. Again, many thanks.

Ruth.

ardblair wrote 996 days ago

Hi Ruth
Just read the first 4 chapters of 'The Scream'. Not a genre I would normally choose but found this piece riveting. Think the use of a first person narrator who's lost his memory is an excellent device which works very well once Pierre is introduced.You evoke setting very effectively with atmospheric description. Your dialogue is very much in keeping with character and the style helps to reflect the period without it sounding cumbersome. One or two points: in chpt 1 'of which I was aware' - know it's grammatically correct but sounds awkward. Secondly, you use figurative language very effectively for the most part but don't feel 'words and ideas' can really be compared to 'truants caught scrumping'. Same is true of the smell of 'coffee' being compared to 'ammonia. 'And in chpt.2 you call 'like stern aunts' a metaphor, when it's a simile (nit picking, I know!). A great read written to a very professional standard. Well done.
Ardblair (Christine Findlay)

Ruth Mathews wrote 1000 days ago

Great Story and a better cover page.



Thank you! Very much appreciated. I'm glad you're enjoying the story, which is of course my main reason for being here. Your comment about the cover has made me smile too - I do all the artwork myself and it's very gratifying when people notice it!

Jai Kumar wrote 1000 days ago

Great Story and a better cover page.

Ruth Mathews wrote 1000 days ago

OK, here are my thoughts as I read:

Brilliant start, really grabbed me.

"The first thing of which I was aware" reads a bit awkwardly to me, might be worth a revisit.

Your descriptions are excellent, but I wonder if a tad overused. An entire paragraph of descriptions doesn't really move the action on, maybe spread a bit.

The writing is fluid and moves at a pace. I can't help but wonder if your character wouldn't be more panicked at not know who/where they are though...

Good stuff generally.

Good luck.



Thanks for taking time to read and comment Claire. Very much appreciated.

Ruth.

Claire_E wrote 1001 days ago

OK, here are my thoughts as I read:

Brilliant start, really grabbed me.

"The first thing of which I was aware" reads a bit awkwardly to me, might be worth a revisit.

Your descriptions are excellent, but I wonder if a tad overused. An entire paragraph of descriptions doesn't really move the action on, maybe spread a bit.

The writing is fluid and moves at a pace. I can't help but wonder if your character wouldn't be more panicked at not know who/where they are though...

Good stuff generally.

Good luck.

Tom Bye wrote 1004 days ago

Hi Ruth;
'The Scream'

Read the first four chapters and one or two more, early this morning.
I got caught up and into the story from the chapter, as Sam's state of mind comes to the fore.
Found it to be a very engaging read and in fact, have to say, that it's a page turner.
The sense of time becomes apparent, as you describe the thunder of the train as it steams its way
into the station. Good skill in writing here. In fact i found it to be a good literary read; as you describe
the scenes in great detail, creating a sense of atmosphere. lines like' 'a picture that looked out to sea'
and gulls called as they rode the rapid air', made the reading of the pages, a pleasure indeed.
your book should do well,
good luck
tom bye
from hugs to kisses.

Jannypeacock wrote 1007 days ago

I’ve only had time to read the opening chapter here but even from this short piece I can see you seem to have the technical side of writing nailed. Lucky you. I think you capture the tone very well in the opening paragraphs. Amnesia must be very distressing and you pull the reader in effortlessly with your description. Time allowing I would really like to return and read more. This will do very well on Autho, no doubt.

patricia omonzele sukore wrote 1008 days ago

This book looks like a good read. I will keep it on my shelf for a later read. Pls, do check my book too and rate it and better still keep it on your shelf; thanks.

Ruth Mathews wrote 1008 days ago

This is a very absorbing and literate read, Ruth - something which I could (if it were not on screen) read all in one sitting, snuggled up all cosy in front of a warm log fire. My first thought was: "This reminds me of Random Harvest, one of my fave 40s films!" My second was, "Hey, this iS the 40s, and it's written in the measured, intimate tones of a 40s classic mystery - what's it doing on a website that favours chicklit, zombies, and sci-fi?"

Have you tried a few agents with this? They might say "old-fashioned", but it worked for me and there's a huge market out there that would agree.

Only one suggest: break up some of your longer paras. e.g. the first mention of your "Scream" should be emphasised and set apart. So it reads:

'...there came a sound, shrill as nails scraping down a slate.

A scream.

A scream that carried on the night air like ice..."

Joe Kovacs
He ain't Heavy, he's my Buddha



Thank you very much for your encouragement and your suggestions. All very much appreciated. The 'old-fashioned' style was very much a conscious decision for this book; the style was chosen to fit the plot. I'm pleased you think it works.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Ruth.

Wussyboy wrote 1009 days ago

This is a very absorbing and literate read, Ruth - something which I could (if it were not on screen) read all in one sitting, snuggled up all cosy in front of a warm log fire. My first thought was: "This reminds me of Random Harvest, one of my fave 40s films!" My second was, "Hey, this iS the 40s, and it's written in the measured, intimate tones of a 40s classic mystery - what's it doing on a website that favours chicklit, zombies, and sci-fi?"

Have you tried a few agents with this? They might say "old-fashioned", but it worked for me and there's a huge market out there that would agree.

Only one suggest: break up some of your longer paras. e.g. the first mention of your "Scream" should be emphasised and set apart. So it reads:

'...there came a sound, shrill as nails scraping down a slate.

A scream.

A scream that carried on the night air like ice..."

Joe Kovacs
He ain't Heavy, he's my Buddha

Ruth Mathews wrote 1011 days ago

Dear Ruth,
I imagine amnesia can be quiet frightful, as is the case of our Mr. Roden. The first three chapters leave a lot of room for speculation, but being the curious type, i'm willing to see where this is leading. The writing is excellent, i just haven't been able to get into your head yet.:) Guess i'll have to keep reading.
High starred.
Best,
Maria
Dark of the Moon



Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you are enjoying The Scream enough to keep on reading! Let us know how you get on with the rest of it.

Ruth. x

mrsdfwt wrote 1012 days ago

Dear Ruth,
I imagine amnesia can be quiet frightful, as is the case of our Mr. Roden. The first three chapters leave a lot of room for speculation, but being the curious type, i'm willing to see where this is leading. The writing is excellent, i just haven't been able to get into your head yet.:) Guess i'll have to keep reading.
High starred.
Best,
Maria
Dark of the Moon

Ruth Mathews wrote 1013 days ago

I like the intensity of the first paragraph. You do a good job of capturing the feel you’re going for. My only suggestion with it is to possibly reword to avoid the repetition of the word “first.” In fact, you use “first” a lot. It’s not really “first” if it’s third or fourth. Other than that, this opening is gripping. I especially like when you call it “a nothing day when everything started.”

You have a gift with language. Your sentences flow smoothly together and I love your choice of words. For example, “There was a cocktail of smells on the air—coal smoke…”

I love the premise. Though the concept of a person waking up without knowing who they are has been done, I feel you’ve set yours apart with strong writing and a unique approach. You might continue to look for ways to differentiate your story from what is out there.

I got chills with the line, “Someone walked over my grave.” And in the second chapter, as he meets Mrs. Downing, I love as he scrambles to remember anything about his family but can’t. It also tells me a bit about his character when he’s honest with her about his condition.

I’m impressed with how well edited this is. It was a relief to sit back and enjoy the story without having to jot down notes.

Suggestions: First, I’d consider breaking up some of these paragraphs. Your ideas get lost in them and it will improve the pacing of your story. This is especially important with dialogue. Any time you have a new set of dialogue, I would start a new paragraph. It also gets a bit tedious working through those consistently monster paragraphs. Secondly, there is quite a bit of telling in this opening. I think it would be better if you showed us more of this information. It would be easier for your reader to take part in the story. Finally, the word “slouch” doesn’t give me the right visual for what you’re getting at in the opening chapter.

I love this so far. I am so intrigued by the premise and I want to keep reading. Highly rated and highly recommended!

And on a side note, great cover! Did you draw it?



Thank you Joshua for such a full and frank comment. I will certainly give some thought to what you have said. Also, thank you for commenting on the cover. Yes, I did design/paint it myself. I'm very pleased you like it.

Joshua Jacobs wrote 1013 days ago

I like the intensity of the first paragraph. You do a good job of capturing the feel you’re going for. My only suggestion with it is to possibly reword to avoid the repetition of the word “first.” In fact, you use “first” a lot. It’s not really “first” if it’s third or fourth. Other than that, this opening is gripping. I especially like when you call it “a nothing day when everything started.”

You have a gift with language. Your sentences flow smoothly together and I love your choice of words. For example, “There was a cocktail of smells on the air—coal smoke…”

I love the premise. Though the concept of a person waking up without knowing who they are has been done, I feel you’ve set yours apart with strong writing and a unique approach. You might continue to look for ways to differentiate your story from what is out there.

I got chills with the line, “Someone walked over my grave.” And in the second chapter, as he meets Mrs. Downing, I love as he scrambles to remember anything about his family but can’t. It also tells me a bit about his character when he’s honest with her about his condition.

I’m impressed with how well edited this is. It was a relief to sit back and enjoy the story without having to jot down notes.

Suggestions: First, I’d consider breaking up some of these paragraphs. Your ideas get lost in them and it will improve the pacing of your story. This is especially important with dialogue. Any time you have a new set of dialogue, I would start a new paragraph. It also gets a bit tedious working through those consistently monster paragraphs. Secondly, there is quite a bit of telling in this opening. I think it would be better if you showed us more of this information. It would be easier for your reader to take part in the story. Finally, the word “slouch” doesn’t give me the right visual for what you’re getting at in the opening chapter.

I love this so far. I am so intrigued by the premise and I want to keep reading. Highly rated and highly recommended!

And on a side note, great cover! Did you draw it?

kindler's list wrote 1014 days ago

My 'little grey cells' were kept working overtime as the story unfolded, with the intriguing Poirotesque figure leading me by the nose through plot's maze, and into a fascinating denouement.

Not a theological treatise, but a vehicle that raises theological issues that concern us all, whether under that label or not - ie, death and dying, and just how does a God outside time deal with creatures who can't escape the restraints of temporal existence.

A brilliantly absorbing read!

eager-reader wrote 1014 days ago

This is a gripping story that kept me guessing, and engaged my thoughts between reading sessions, and when I'd finished the story.

The plot is brilliant, and the book well-written.

On one level, it is just a very good entertaining read. On another plane, it is thought-provoking and challenging.

I guess it's not intended as a theological allegory, but as stimulating fiction with more than usual depth.

Great read!

Ruth Mathews wrote 1014 days ago

Finished. Quite excellent.



Thank you very much for your encouragement. Much appreciated.
Ruth. x

boxthejack wrote 1014 days ago

Finished. Quite excellent.

boxthejack wrote 1014 days ago

Only on chapter six but having now met the wonderful Mrs White I can't help but register my delight. As well as the straightforward narrative Kenneth mentions below, I very much like the narrator's old world voice which brings back satisfying memories of childhood reading. This you cleverly nod towards with your Tolkein/Lewis references.

Tellingly, I had only intended to read the first chapter but found myself clicking through. It is very good read, and the retro thing makes it feel satisfyingly like home-baked bread.

(I have an vague sense of discomfort with the theology but I'll let that work itself out over the next nine chapters.)

Ruth Mathews wrote 1014 days ago

Ruth,
What an extraordinary way to start a story. Certainly getting into the POV of someone suffering memory loss had me empathizing with him and sharing his joy with every bit of discovery and recollection. You have a straightforward narrative style coupoled with a pithy dialogue that delivers your story well. Thank you so much for the compelling read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean



Thank you very much for your encouraging comment Kenneth. We really appreciate it.

Ruth Mathews wrote 1014 days ago

Ruth,
What an extraordinary way to start a story. Certainly getting into the POV of someone suffering memory loss had me empathizing with him and sharing his joy with every bit of discovery and recollection. You have a straightforward narrative style coupoled with a pithy dialogue that delivers your story well. Thank you so much for the compelling read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean



Thank you very much for your encouraging comment Kenneth. We really appreciate it.

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 1014 days ago

Ruth,
What an extraordinary way to start a story. Certainly getting into the POV of someone suffering memory loss had me empathizing with him and sharing his joy with every bit of discovery and recollection. You have a straightforward narrative style coupoled with a pithy dialogue that delivers your story well. Thank you so much for the compelling read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

Ruth Mathews wrote 1015 days ago

I'll be your first reviewer!
I really like your style. It's competent and the language is very visual. Sam Roden, if that is who he is, is a mysterious character and immediately pulls the reader into the story. I want to find out more about him. Being a Christian too, I'm very interested to see how you bring in the Christian element. Your pitch is intriguing.
So far I've read the first three chapters, and the only thing that interrupted the flow for me was the words in the first chapter, "I was startled."
I don't think you need to tell us this. That he is startled is apparent in the way he looks at the man and his response to him.
I really like this, and I'll put it on my shelf within the next couple of days. Highly starred too.
Becky



Thank you Becky, both for being the first to comment and for your encouragement. I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on with the rest of the book.
Ruth.

Inkfinger wrote 1015 days ago

I'll be your first reviewer!
I really like your style. It's competent and the language is very visual. Sam Roden, if that is who he is, is a mysterious character and immediately pulls the reader into the story. I want to find out more about him. Being a Christian too, I'm very interested to see how you bring in the Christian element. Your pitch is intriguing.
So far I've read the first three chapters, and the only thing that interrupted the flow for me was the words in the first chapter, "I was startled."
I don't think you need to tell us this. That he is startled is apparent in the way he looks at the man and his response to him.
I really like this, and I'll put it on my shelf within the next couple of days. Highly starred too.
Becky

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