Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 24286
date submitted 15.11.2008
date updated 14.05.2012
genres: Fiction, Crime
classification: universal
incomplete

Savannah Passion

Alan Chaput

It only takes a blink, mere days, for Hayley Falcon’s charmed life to collapse into deadly chaos. Out of the mayhem a new Hayley emerges.

 

Hayley Falcon is a gun-toting socialite from a deep-rooted Southern family. She is bound by tradition and driven with the ambition that has lifted her family to prominence for centuries.

Unknown to Hayley, her husband, a mob-lawyer, and her father, her mentor and foundation, both lead double lives. Her increasingly distant husband is a government deep cover operative. Her father is a member of a secretive group who has protected Savannah for centuries. Lurking behind the scenes is a powerful, ex-judge bent on revenge for past sins committed against him by the Falcon family.

How much change can Hayley take? Separation from a lying husband. A two-faced father. Public slander of her family. Attempts on her life. The threat of extermination of her entire family.

Inextricably caught in something that can destroy her, Hayley’s only hope is help from the very family members who betrayed her … and the gun she carries inside her designer purse.

“Savannah Passion” is a blend of the southern imagery of Pat Conroy, the suspense intensity of Harlan Coben, and the storytelling of Sandra Brown interlaced with all the page turning elements: love, betrayal, bloodshed and redemption.

Complete at 80,000 words.

Revised April 28, 2012

 
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tags

contemporary, forgiveness, georgia, mainstream, mass-market, mystery, romance. mob, savannah, southeast, southern, thriller, trust, women's fiction

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HarperCollins Wrote

‘Savannah Passion’ is the story of Hayley Falcon, a gun-toting, heal-wearing public advocacy lawyer, whose life is thrown off course when the secret lives of her closest family begin surface.

The principal sticking point of this novel is the pitch. It is classified as ‘thriller fiction’, but doesn’t fall naturally into this genre in the first 8 chapters. Thriller novels rely on tension, mystery and high-drama, and whilst ‘Savannah Passion’ has touches of these, it seems much more focussed on romance and sexuality (subjects also strongly implied in the current title), with side themes of empowerment and politics. The novel may well fall more naturally into the thriller genre after these chapters, but it is still crucial to hook in the target readership as early as possible, particularly in a market where there is an increasing trend of trying extracts before you buy books.

That said, the author does hook in the open-minded reader with a dramatic first sequence. The description of the coastal Georgia wetland is vivid, setting up the strong sense of place that will pervade the subsequent narrative. I was drawn in by the fight to save the land from urbanisation that Hayley is caught up in; it felt relevant and genuine, and immediately gives her character depth and a human quality. Equally, her marital problems, her relationships with her parents and with her gifted daughter, and the mysterious personality of her father and of the Judge who seeks to bring him down are all strong threads of narrative. However, I did feel too many things were introduced at once; subjects were often picked up and then abandoned. For instance, we are told that Hayley has been followed and harassed, potentially by the local mob, but there is no subsequent mention of this. This leaves questions unanswered for too long and allows the reader’s suspense to dissolve. Assuming this is to be returned to in later chapters, a restructure of how the various storylines work together would make the overall narrative more gripping. There’s a lot here to capture the reader’s interest, but it is still very unclear what the central storyline will be.

The novel is certainly engaging, though, and this is largely testament to the characters. The idea of sexually empowered, successful business woman who is also a loving mother, all in spite of a far from perfect family life has broad appeal. And I liked the fact that Hayley is offset by Augusta, a young woman trying to reach the same success in life through any cost. Indeed, I was very drawn to the dynamic of these two women, and their unknowing closeness to each other (though, I did wonder at the pitching of Hayley as the heroine, given the role Augusta plays in these early chapters). A much keener focus on this pair, using them to gradually uncover the perspectives of characters like Shawn and the Judge, would likely help to alleviate some of the structural problems outlined above.

I’d advise being careful to keep characters consistent, though, and as authentic as possible (this I believe links back to the fragmentary storylines discussed above). We know, for example, that Hayley carries a gun. But is this a positive or negative thing? What does this say about her? In many ways it contradicts the strength of character you have given her elsewhere. As I said before, it is possible that these loose ends are tied in subsequent chapters, but the author needs to be careful to not leave their readers waiting too long. And, remember that images of ‘guns in handbags’ have very different connotations to different readers.

Outside of these comments, I would simply suggest neatening up the writing, which has an occasional tendency to be hyperbolic or clichéd. It is clear that this writer has the ability to construct very fresh images; I loved the description of Hayley’s father and daughter dancing as “The fabric of her life, beautifully rolled out”. But not all of the writing is so effective. If you can’t find a suitable metaphor, don’t use one; often plain description is just as successful. In particular, I’d watch out for similes that are too obscure or long-winded, such as “curiosity festered like a swarm of palmetto bugs in an abandoned marsh-side shanty”.

Overall this is an interesting concept with some very strong characterisation. However, the concern is where this particular title would fit in a mainstream marketplace, and whether it is too specifically Savannah focussed to capture the imagination of the everyday reading public. Addressing these issues, and in particular focussing on the tropes and expectations demanded by genre will make this a much more marketable book.

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J.Adams wrote 638 days ago

Hi Al, I decided to re-read everything you've posted again. I really do enjoy your writing very much. The pace is great, the twists are manageable and intriguing. It's been a while since I've read anything from this book, so this was a fun read, and I'm delighted with the thought that perhaps you'll have all the Savannah books published soon and I can have them all on my real book shelf -- Of course I will have to either take a drive south or send them to you for your autographs! And then I'll happily read through them more than once, you know, as one does with good stories! You have actually succeeded in making me want to visit Savannah - and no one else has been able to do that!

I did catch a couple of very tiny typos, and in case you haven't already caught them, here they are:

Chapter six:

An "S" is missing in the word "know" in this sentence:
"A marriage counselor who know his business."

Chapter seven:

A second "O" is needed in the word "to" in this sentence:
"Her eyes stayed on Julia's face to long, then darted to Shawn."

And

The word "no" was written "ne" by accident in this sentence:
"Her fingers again toyed with the pendant dangling in the valley of ne return."

Again, Al, such good fun reading your novels. I am jumping into the next one right now, and hoping your visit to NYC was productive and a joy!

Cheers, my friend,
Judy

Torkuda wrote 683 days ago

Wrote a full review for this one. Outside of my interests, but actually a good read:
http://dannyjray.blogspot.com/2012/05/review-savannah-passion.html

whitechief wrote 865 days ago

Al, this is so very different from what I've read of you. Much polished and quite engaging. I especially like the beginning, so eloquently described.
Will read more later.
Cheers.
Ravi

whitechief wrote 865 days ago

Al, this is so very different from what I've read of you. Much polished and quite engaging. I especially like the beginning, so eloquently described.
Will read more later.
Cheers.
Ravi

Nabahood23 wrote 966 days ago

I've added you to my bookshelf. I will read it but I will leave one comment. Don't like to litter pages with comments when one over all will do. Please be patient and be kind enough to remind me if you do not recieve a review in a few days. My wife is in the hospital so I'm running. I've placed my latest non-fiction here for review feel free to read it. https://www.facebook.com/ReginaldLeviWalker

jollyoldsaint wrote 994 days ago

Thanks for the e-mail...you've hooked me right away and I'll be back to read the rest. I live in Jacksonville, FL and that first scene is a vivid snapshot of my Every Day. I hope Hayley kicks Big Developer Butt! My novel, The Favor (I just posted a few chapters) touches on the same issues, but on a Gulf island. Same feeling, though: the oaks, the marsh...life and decay and more life.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1075 days ago

Hi Al,
I think you've received one one of the better HC reviews, one which seems more usesul than some of them.
The reviewer's use of 'neatening up' almost made me fall off my chair though.
And that final comment about your story being 'too specificlly Savannah focussed' is one I wld take issue with.
As a Brit who has never been to Savannah -- other than through the pages of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL -- the place name sweats romance. I am the sort of reader -- albeit only one -- who reads in part to escape to new and exotic places through fiction. I wld love to visit Savannah because of what I know about American history and also because of reading John Berendt's wonderful yarn. I feel that trading on this sort of interest may be a strong selling point.
And, dare one say it, maybe the genre-based thinking of the big houses is beginning to feel a little weary now that everything is far more fluid in our new media world. If a story is a strong -- and the reviewer does seem to like yours -- who cares about genre, pitch issues?
Above all GOOD LUCK with any re-edit you do mate!

Ron Askew
WATCHING SWIFTS (of absolutely NO! commercial value)



olga wrote 1075 days ago

Hi

Congrats for getting to the top of the pile. You have worked hard and deserve it. Some heartening comments from Harper Collins. Well done.

Cheers Olga

olga wrote 1075 days ago

Hi

Congrats for getting to the top of the pile. You have worked hard and deserve it. Some heartening comments from Harper Collins. Well done.

Cheers Olga

D. L. Crosley wrote 1075 days ago

Congratulations!

georgigirl wrote 1076 days ago

Congrats! Does this mean you'll be published? I hope so, I've really enjoyed your work and kept it on my shelf until now! Again, congratulations!

Laura Bailey wrote 1090 days ago

I really enjoyed reading this. I haven't managed to finish all you've uploaded yet but I'm already hooked. My only criticisms are oddly in the very first paragraphs (1) the first three or four para's can be a little wordy in their descriptions (2) I would rather have read a description of her feelings rather than the rhetorical questions in the hefty man para.

These are small criticisms however and do not detract from your good work.

I would be extremely grateful for your comments on what I have uploaded of my book Beneath the Blossom Tree. The rest will be uploaded shortly.

Best,

Laura

ParisJohn wrote 1091 days ago

Alan. Hi there!

I just read through the first chapter of your book and found it to be quite intriguing. I particularly like Hayley and what she represents as a career woman on a mission. This cookie really cares about the job in hand as her connections are real to her corner. I thought the text was concise and very well written. I will def read more later and reckon I am going to enjoy this one over a glass of port. Thanks.

Parisjohn
(Jack the Ripper and the Deadly Fruit of Original Sin)

Lizzie Eldridge wrote 1102 days ago

Hi
I just read the first 3 chapters of your book in one sitting which means your writing really draws the reader in. It's not usually the kind of book I'd read which is even more to your credit that you managed to keep my attention and I'll definitely keep reading more. Occasionally, there's a hint of cliche with 'baritone' voices and physical descriptions but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of reading the beginning of your book on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share your work and good luck with everything :)
Lizzie

QuiteTheSmoothOperator wrote 1106 days ago

Hi Alan,

I'm not much good for editing, so all I can give you is a sort of reader's response, and I hope it will be helpful. I like the story idea a lot and the descriptions are beautiful. I'm having a hard time connecting with Hayley and the story, though. I'm not sure why -- it's just not pulling me in. :-( It's probably just me, so good luck with it!

Hope you'll get a chance to take a peek at Maggie-Baby anyway.

Naomi Dathan wrote 1141 days ago

My strategy is to comment on single chapter of a work . . . usually chapter 10. In your case, I picked chapter 8. I nitpick for a living (book doctor) so please feel free to disregard anything that doesn’t suit you. I don’t ever mean to offend.

Chapter 8

From your pitch, I see that this is Haley’s story. The concept for the story is terrific – lots of suspense, and Haley’s character arc is going to be fun to watch unfolding.

In Chapter 8, you’ve got an awful lot going on and a lot of points of view. Additional points of view do add to the story, but they should nearly always push the core plot forward. This chapter makes it seem more like Shawn’s story than hers.

The two concerns I see in this chapter are characterization and dialogue.

You describe the marriage counselor inconsistently – she’s gentle, she’s emotionless, she’s encouraging . . . Although you insert a lot of descriptions for her, almost too many, you don’t paint a clear picture of who she is.

Your walk-on characters – the bartender, Omarosa – read like caricatures.

Consider using metaphors to simplify descriptions, particularly of the walk on characters. For instance, you could compare the counselor to, say, a cobra – beautiful, lithe, alert, but able to strike at any moment. You don’t even have to use the word cobra, but by using descriptors related to that, you’ll build a single image that the reader will be able to envision, even if he doesn’t quite put his finger on the word cobra. Be careful to avoid stereotypes “portly bartender.” Although they don’t get much description, each of your bit players has a personality and a story of his or her own. Although we may never hear a word of their back story, they should feel like authentic people.

More importantly, Shawn’s motivations are all over the place. It’s not clear whether he’s going to a minor transition (“I’m going to be faithful from now on”) – as opposed to an actual fundamental change which would come later in the story – or if he just can’t make up his mind. I have the sense that he’s passively responsive to whatever stimulus comes into his universe, and that’s fine too but if that’s the case, he wouldn’t be thinking about it, so much as enduring, say, the counseling appointment, while thinking forward to the drink he’s going to have, etc.

Hayley’s dialogue is a little stilted and her internal dialogue is formal and distant. For instance, you write “She was too wrapped up in the situation to think straight.” This is more the narrator telling us what’s in her head, rather than you allowing the reader to travel in her head, seeing the world through her eyes (and mental filters), thinking her thoughts, pacing with her. The para that begins “Shawn was flawed,” you could have her pacing, talking to herself, pounding the steering wheel. Her thoughts would be fragmented and confused – “I have flaws, too – but, he lied! Over and over” slams the steering wheel, notices a pedestrian glancing nervously at her and forces herself to stop. “I’m going to – I’m going to tell the counselor –“ Drops head against back of seat in defeat. “I can’t even think.”

A closer point of view, particularly in emotional scenes, draws the more reader into the drama of the story.
The dialogue in the confrontation between Max and her mother is very stilted. Max’s sudden shift to real anger is too quick and the “I hate you” falls flat.

Best of luck with this story -- it's going to be a good one!

R. Lee Hart wrote 1143 days ago

Alan:

This is one of the best books I've reveiwed on here - it has everything from the get-go; intrigue, underdog vs bully, a plot that begins to thicken, immediately, not to mention superb writing. Short on time now, but I will be back and I am certainly going to shelf and support it.
R.Lee

janderson003 wrote 1147 days ago

Alan:

Beautifully written. You grabbed me on the first page and I read 8 chapters. Like your use of dialogue and short paragraphs. You remind me somewhat of Pat Conroy's writing in capturing the essence of the South. I gave you four star ranking. Good Luck.

JIm

Parpho55 wrote 1161 days ago

Authonomy is not letting me "back" any books, but I was able to give this 6 stars, and I've got it on my watchlist, because it is a book to watch!!! Fascinating - couldn't stop reading!!!! I highly recommend!

Sandy Arnold wrote 1164 days ago

Loved the character, Augusta. I liked the ambiguity of her. On one hand, I was getting all self-righteous about her looking for dirt on the Judge just to advance her career and then I realized that I couldn't wait to get further in the novel to see if she did find any dirt on him. It gave me an opportunity to look at myself. Also, I'm glad you fleshed out the Falcon family. I was wondering where in the novel you would do that. I also liked the in-depth description of the Falcon house. I could have used more of it. You've chosen such a great locale for your novel. There are people (just like me) who would read the book just because it's written about Savannah. I would like more description of the land in the beginning and the Falcon mansion. I also prefer to read about women that are multi-faceted and complex. Good women can be boring and even a little victim-y - also dated. I hope Augusta becomes more developed as I read further.
Sandy

Sandy Arnold wrote 1165 days ago

Well done. Fast paced. Main character both likable and believable. Would have liked more descriptive wording about the property in the beginning. Couldn't quite visualize it. I think if you put more into a description of the property, you wouldn't have to be so obvious about the emotions Hayley is feeling. She could be more subtle and the reader would be angry. This book is going to the first on my bookshelf, even though I haven't read any more than the first chapters yet. I know it is well written and deserving of being published. I'll finish reading this to the end because I'm really drawn into the story line. I'd like to repeat my suggestion: Make Hayley a little bit more subtle and complex in her emotions. Let the strong feelings and opinions come from the reader.
Sandra Arnold

Veronica Dauber wrote 1174 days ago

Hi Alan,
I read your chapers and found the story just keeps drawing the reader in. It's well written with interesting characters and it's becoming a really deep story. I'm glad I read it! Excellent.
...ronnie dauber (author of Mudslide and Web Secrets)

Barbara Jurgensen wrote 1175 days ago

Great opening. You might strengthen the first sentence by deleting 'rigidly' (which it's not easy for us to picture) and pull up 'her stomach churning' from the fourth line to complete the sentence. Also consider removing 'gladly' from line 4--you don't need it. And you could work in a few words of description of what she was wearing in the following paragraphs. You describe the coastal wetlands beautifully; we'd also like picture her in their midst.

EmoryWalden wrote 1180 days ago

Feeling bad I didn't read when initially asked. So - just a few quick words on initial impression.

Thought the opening was very strong - jumped right into a dilemma. Thought you did a great job of building character, even from first page. E.g., I loved the discussion regarding her maturity from a young idealist and how she'd behave to how she'd behave now.

descriptive, but not too heavy. 'purposeful stride' to me though - seems like you could drop purposeful. But, in all honesty, that is quite nit-picky. This is excellently written. Here's why I say that - you have a great 360 of the surroundings. They're vivid, originally described. This gives respect to the uniqueness of the setting. In addition to description, things are moving. Questions are being raised.

I'll keep on and get back to you some time in the future. But best of luck to you. I am sure this is going to be a winner!

Shawn Hendricks wrote 1183 days ago

Paragraph 3 - since it is 'unimaginable,' why am I asked to imagine it? The paragraph seems superfluous.

Paragraph 4 - a ceiling is over one, not to either side.
-mixing metaphors with dinosaurs, beauty, grace.

Needs a strong tech edit.

Sarah L. wrote 1186 days ago

I was hesitant to read this story at first but I'm happy I did. Very nice!

Kladams wrote 1192 days ago

You can really feel Hayley's passion for wildlife. I especial liked her comment to Bubba, "Looking stupid is not your fault, but being stupid is a choice..." This made me laugh. I really enjoyed reading this. I feel like I need to go a local wetland and wrap my arms around a tree just to feel what Hayley did when she breathed in the aromas of the forest. Good job.

Nearly wrote 1197 days ago

Hi Alan.

I'm putting myself in 'agent mode', so I've only read the first three chapters of this piece. IF it had hooked me I would have read on, but although I kind of liked what you'd written, it didn't grab me.

After a promising first chapter, I felt the pace really tailed off. Good thrillers need short, sharp chapters with a hook at the end of each. This is lacking hooks. You name-check Harlan Coben and he's a master at creating great cliffs at the end of each chapter. This really needs, by Chap 3, to end on a compelling cliff and it doesn't.

I also felt that the characters were rather two-dimensional. I didn't buy into the female characters at all, which is a problem as Hayley is your main protagonist. It can be hard writing in gender opposite and this is obviously a woman written by a man.

That's not to say that this isn't publishable. But, for me, it needs more pace and intrigue from the start. Plus, characters that aren't so cookie-cutter. I'm looking for something a little different from a thriller so, although, this is certainly up there in terms of a good star rating, it won't be finding its way up there on my bookshelf.

Best of luck.

Swan68 wrote 1198 days ago

I would like to read more...., it got me interested.

Swan

Fischier wrote 1200 days ago

Congratulations on reaching the editor's desk!
Well deserved.

iris robinson wrote 1201 days ago

Well done to you !!!!

iris robinson wrote 1201 days ago

Well done to you !!!!

Cait wrote 1201 days ago

Savanna Passion:

Alan, have just had time to do the first part of chapter one, and will do the rest later if you find any of this useful. These are more of a picky nature, merely for you to think about. I’m no pro so I won’t mind if you disagree with all of it. :o)

And again, congratulations on going through for your review.

Cáit :o)

This piece of coastal Georgia wetlands had remained untouched since the Revolutionary War, yet a developer [was proposing] - wanted to defile it with a nightmarish sprawl of luxury estates.

She clenched her fists, resisting the urge to kick down the rusted marker. Years ago, [when she was] - while still an idealistic teenager, she [probably] would have spent the day collecting the offensive signs and selling them to [some] – a scrap dealer.

Her boots crunched decayed foliage as she walked to a tree so massive [that] she and three others could never get their arms around it.

Where you have - Hayley walked the border marked by the rusted signs and photographed several protected trees. Irreplaceable centenarian treasures. Not a place for mansions and country clubs. – you could try –
~ Not a place for mansions and country clubs, Haley thought, as she walked the border, it marked by rusted signs. She photographed several protected trees. Irreplaceable centenarian treasures.

Or: ~Irreplaceable centenarian treasures, Haley thought, as she walked the border marked by the rusted signs. She photographed several protected trees. Not a place for mansions and country clubs. ~ Says the same thing but paragraph doesn't begin with 'Haley', again.

Returning her camera to her backpack, she took a sip of bottled water, and hiked the narrow footpath back toward the dirt road she’d driven in on. ~She’s multitasking here. Returning the camera and at the same time taking a sip of bottled water?

As she emerged from the tunneled path cut through a house-high rhododendron thicket, she froze. Her heart fluttered. ~ I think, coming across a stranger with a rifle, her heart would more than ‘flutter’? Mine would pound.

A hefty man with a sour frown and a rifle notched in his arm [was standing] -stood next to her SUV.

His dark brown eyes [were glinting] – glinted with menace as they roamed over her, lingering where they shouldn’t.

Hayley glanced down.

She cast a quick glance up and down the road to see if the gunman had a partner lurking. ~Repetition of ‘glance’.

Hayley took a deep breath. Okay. First thing first. The rifle barrel [was] aimed downward. His trigger finger [was] pointed forward in the safe position.

Consider rearranging to: Okay. First thing first. Haley inhaled a deep breath. The rifle barrel aimed downward, his trigger finger pointed forward in the safe position. ~This eliminates another paragraph beginning With ‘Haley’. You have Haley scanned, Haley walked, Haley glanced, and Hailey took - all quite close together.~

She stared into his glinting eyes. ~Repetition of ‘glint’. Maybe ‘ ice-cold’ eyes? Or something different? Piercing eyes? By the way, I’d give him a different colour of eyes as Jake also has brown eyes?

You got a truck close by?” she asked. ~ No need to mention who’s speaking as we already know it’s her?

No doubt the guy had made a note of her license number and would report the incident. She might have to explain. But, she was prepared for him, his bosses, their lawyers and the Planning Commission. She had more than enough pictures of the forest to illustrate to the Commission exactly what was at stake in this case. – I would end the chapter here, and start ch 2 with Haley and Jake in the office?
****


SRWENT wrote 1201 days ago

Congradulations Al: Make us proud...

Happy new year

Richard A. Wentworth

EMDelaney wrote 1201 days ago

Congrats Al. Way togo.

Mavrick wrote 1202 days ago

Al,

I promised that I’d try to take another look at Savannah Passion before the end of the month. I’ve made it, but only just!

Reading the first few pages, I didn’t recognise anything at all from a previous read. I eventually re-read my original comments and noted that most of the things I’d ‘moaned’ about no longer applied – and that Hazel Falcon used to be Sharon??

Anyway, on this occasion I saw nothing that I would change, and very much enjoyed what little I managed to read.

Backed, with pleasure.

Neil

Fischier wrote 1203 days ago

Since You asked me to review the book, and it seems to be the whole point of this site to learn from each other (I'm a newbie here) I decided to share my complete review of the first chapter.

The following might sound harsh and dismissive, but please don't be offended. Criticism is a

two-way street!
Please remember that the following review is very much my personal views, and mostly

intended as a way for You to have a look at the script from the angle of someone who hasn't

read it before. I know from my own experience how hard it is to really read a text for the

tenth time and really seeing its problems. Furthermore, my native language is Swedish, not

English, so please excuse all the errors in the review ;-) For the same reason, I won't

bother with spelling, punctuation or grammar.

Chapter one:

On page one I would consider beginning with the paragraph "The pungent aroma". I wouldn't

change anything, just move it. It instantly puts the reader (TR) in place and it's

impossible to stop reading, since TR needs to find out who "she" is and also what was

happening, and what "this place" is.

I would remove "selling to some scrap dealer" this just raises unnecessary questions "why a

scrap dealer, why not just throw them away, were they made of some rarer metal?"

Also why was vandalism unimaginable and now, not then? Also she clearly just imagined it...

I love the sentence "Nothing man-made could compare to such perfection", not only is it

poetic, it also says a lot about her in very few words and explains her next actions.

I would exchange the first reference to Bald Eagles to another animal, it spoils the

surprise and grandeur of the event when she actually sees one.

The passage when she meets the man is very good and has good flow, except that, again, You

spoil the surprise of him being suddenly and physically hostile. I'd consider beginning with

this and then letting Hayley be scared. She's a hard-nosed lady....

Fischier wrote 1203 days ago

... (cont'd) She's a hard-nosed lady, would she really be that

scared in broad daylight without provocation? It's not like he's initially threatening her

with the gun, even if it's menacing that it's there.

For the same reason I'd tone-down her fear. Her heart is thumping quicker, she's warmed, the

forest grows quiet, her voice and her hand is trembling, her mouth is dry, she has to take a

deep breath, there's a knot in her stomach, her voice is crackling with nerves, and after

all this, she pulls a gun on the guy and shoots at him?

Generally I'd consider using "less is more" in the descriptions. Too many superlatives can

be tiresome in the long run, and will have lost their poignancy when they are really needed.

Also I'd consider cutting down on the "easy" adjectives generally and try to be more

descriptive, in a few words. When Hayley meets Jake we learn that he has perfect teeth and

long, blond hair, he is impeccably dressed (How? Suit, pullover? Colours, makes? Rings,

shoes, smells? How does the long hair go with the impeccable dressing? How is he moving,

smiling? confident? worried? Round face, tall man, weak jaw, big feet?)
Instead we first learn that he has round, dark eyes and then that he has brown eyes, then

his eyes gets even darker.

Then, further down, after a very well written and interesting conversation, we learn where

they are. I'd again consider describing the place much earlier, "placing" TR i the room, and

ending the first paragraph with something that would keep TR reading.
Please let me know if You'd like me to continue.

SRWENT wrote 1203 days ago

Hi Al, I had a thought: the chapter is long and could be broken up into short chapters.

RA Wentworth

SRWENT wrote 1203 days ago

Hi AL, one sentence bothered me. THE AIR WAS DENSE" Once again, describe the humidity of Savanna, the Farrerie dissappeared and now is a sports car...


A suggestion: while Nate and Hayley are talking could...she fantasize about him and her? or...? a spark that sends her mind realing on a sexual fantasy!

Richard A. Wentworth

Frank Talaber wrote 1203 days ago

HI Alan
Indeed a well written and paced book. I like the first opening chapters, Hayley seems very believable and I liked the tension between her and her husband. I myself would have started the opening chapter somewhere around where the man says "Can I he'p ya". that would make for a stronger opening and pull readers in better. Fit the rest in later. The ending on chapter one seemed weak. Chapter two seems to have very little indents for paragraphs, except where there's dialogue. Very off putting, not sure if that's a font thing, might want to check it out. I liked the ballsy Sophie, seems like a friend Hayley would have, similiar to her. In chapter three I had a problem with her not just asking for the address in the opening. I'd have just said something like "I already know it, but give it anyway". I really liked the expression ' like a swarm of palmetto bugs' I don't know what those are like, but it was unique to the charactor and the area. I have to check them out. Again very well written and I'll probably read more later.
Thanks
Frank

SRWENT wrote 1204 days ago

Hi Al, I'll read more this weekend and to dee what I'm saying for descriptiona go read ON THE ROAD by ANTON CHEKHOV start at the line

"OUT SIDE A STORM WAS RAGING/" its the fourth paragraph were this remarkable scene is.

Richard or SR

Richard W Hardwick wrote 1204 days ago

Hello there
I've read the first two chapters and am struggling to give you any advice to be honest.
Your writing, as someone else said, is very clean - and that I applaud - because one thing that doesn't work for me is too much superfluous stuff and sentences that waffle.
However, it must be said that this is not really my thing. I struggle to feel a great deal for the characters - although you are obviously showing some depth and cracks in the relationship. The stereotype of such characters puts me off - American, highschool, successful, friends surgically enhanced etc etc - it just doesn't do a great deal for me for some reason.
I do think I could be drawn more into it by more happening in chapter two - probably by extending it and adding, or simply by ratcheting up the tension somewhat. Also, although the writing is clipped and neat, it sometimes seems a little too much clipped and neat to me. I'd quite like that pattern to be broken up a little with some meandering sentences, and perhaps the clipped and neatness of the characters further broken up by revealing some more about them - either back in time or about what is about to happen - a little bit more grabbing perhaps.
Finally, it should be said that I'm in a pretty glum mood and that can't have helped, and also - you're number two so you're doing loads right already, and there's plenty of great reviews before this one.
So good luck and sorry I couldn't be more helpful and enthusiastic
Richard

jonsdawn wrote 1204 days ago

I liked the opening, felt it needed a little more discription of why she felt at one with the tree but that could just be me. Good opening

Marita A. Hansen wrote 1205 days ago

Chapter 1: This is a very clean chapter. I could find nothing grammatically wrong with it. I only noticed one thing that you might like to look at. See your lines below:
She got in, keyed the engine, and drove down the road.
She passed the jerk down the road and found his truck just a quarter mile beyond.
“down the road” is repeated within close proximity. You could maybe change the first “drove down the road” to “drove off.” Or you could take out the second one. Either way, I’m just being pedantic :) but thought you’d like to know.

In relation to the story, and its structure it was a very good first chapter, setting up the ecological and criminal elements nicely. Hayley is a good MC, strong and not letting some hick get one over her. Also, I thought the dialogue was excellent, the bad guy’s lines nicely contrasting with Hayley’s more refined speech. I’m not familiar with Southern talk but was wondering whether his words “give me” could be changed to “gimme.” This may be more ghetto speak so don’t change it unless you think it would fit his character.

I wish you all the best with your editorial review, and I hope you have a very Happy New Year (with getting your book published). All the best, Marita.

Paul G wrote 1205 days ago

Alan,
This is not the sort of book I would generally read, but I did check it out at your request, and the writing is very good. It should be a great success. Backed.

Paul G

Chris Wilson wrote 1205 days ago

I can see why your book is ranked number two (at the minute), I love it! I might read it again later!

MonicaR wrote 1206 days ago

This is a great start. I like your style and the words paint a picture and flow well. I am looking forward to reading more.

apelle wrote 1206 days ago

You are obviously a seasoned and passionate writer with good human insite and the ability to use fact / fiction crossover storylines.


It's good to see this new system works and the cream rises to the top. This is a very polished work. Deserves it's top spot! It's got it all.

Adina