Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 43770
date submitted 01.12.2011
date updated 01.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Angel Chord

Derek Tobin

Supernatural thriller: three strangers stumble into an End of Days demonic plot and discover that atheistic, hooker-using and guitar-playing angels are the world's only hope.

 

Three strangers (from contemporary Glasgow, London and Los Angeles) collide as they travel to a mysterious gathering in Los Angeles which they are suddenly forced to attend. As the real world unravels around them, they discover the truth about angels and demons and how they exert their influence on earth.

Upon his deathbed, Floyd Jackson imparts a secret to his eighteen-year-old grandson Sandy. He tells the boy the hidden truth about angels and demons. Floyd explains the three things Sandy need know about angels: they don’t have halos, they don’t have wings, but they do play harps - or at least they used to - in modern times replaced by guitars.

This is the one truth, hiding in plain sight in every holy book (whatever flavour) ever written. But a guitar in an Angel's hands is a weapon - a means of harnessing it's icon. Floyd knows this because he himself was a demon host, and, now repentent, asks his atheistic grandson to wash clean the stain he placed upon their family. But can an atheist become an angel? And if so, can he harness an icon with enough power to stop the End of Days?

 
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tags

angels, demons, fantasy, guitars, music, mystery, paranormal, religion, supernatural, thriller

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Liam Kidd, his head reeling with tales of Nazis and magic swords, bravely tried to summate the old man’s quack story. “So if ahm fillin in the blanks right, Malcolm…you’re sayin these things are now in guitars or musical instruments in our time and the music influences people…even withoot them knowing it?”  

     Malcolm loosened his neck tie and undid his top shirt button. “That’s close to the truth, son but when you say our time they’ve been in musical instruments for centuries especially stringed instruments and they don’t just influence people. Beasts as well as man are bent to the will of the hosts. Do you know the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Liam?”

     Liam smirked and blurted “Aye but am sure you’re gonnae tell me a don’t.

     Malcolm gave him a stern schoolmaster look. “It’s not really a funny story son, about as funny as a fire in an orphanage. In fact it’s probably the original horror story.” 

     Liam, feeling somewhat told off, strummed the Strat in his lap and listened on.

     “It dates back to 1284 in the German town of Hamelin and the story is based on very real events, Liam, again feel free to check. The Brothers Grimm wrote a version on which Robert Browning later based his famous poem published in 1849 on. The tale went through several versions between the 14th to 17th centuries before Browning’s, but its earliest reference was in a glass window in the Hamelin town church dated 1300 depicting the story.

     Malcolm shuffled across the room, feeling Liam’s stare of unconcealed interest heavy on his back. He knew to this youth he must appear decrepit, probably expected him to die any minute now. His slow walking speed was governed by a cruel coalition between his Parkinson’s and arthritis and it frustrated his young spirit to be so caged. He took a large book from the dusty display cabinet behind him, but then paused; looking at the shelf from which Liam had rifled then replaced his diary. His eyes fell on the diary and the hint of a smile came and went from his lips, but he said nothing, just flicked to a page and handed the book to Liam. The picture showed the stained glass rendition. The boy looked from the page and handed the volume back to Malcolm. 

     “The details are sketchy and there are several theories but there is no doubt a tragic event befell the city which culminated in all but one of the town’s children either dying or disappearing and this is historical fact.”

     Liam sat forward surprised, he had no idea this tale held even a shred of truth or any basis in fact. Don’t worry old man I will check this on the education motorway later cause I smell bullshit.

     Malcolm was smiling at him, like he’d heard every word of his internal dialogue. He snapped the book closed, its slap giving the boy a start. “As you know, Liam, the legend tells of a man entering the town and being retained to rid the town of rats. To do this he used a magical pipe, the rats followed his music and drowned in the river Weser at his bidding. On completion of his task the towns people welshed on their deal and refused to pay him. So he played a different tune and every child in the town except one who was lame, followed him to their fate.

     The early tellings recount that the piper himself cut the toes off the lame child because he had shown him some small kindness and so saved him from the fate of the rest by not allowing him to follow. But they don’t tell that in the sugar coated nursery rhyme. Anyway…the children were never seen again and the phrase Better Pay the Piper was born. That was over seven-hundred years ago, Liam. Now maybe the piper leading them out of town was just a metaphor for his influence on them, leading them astray in some way. Off the path of righteousness, much like your rock stars are accused of daily nowadays,”

     Malcolm paused and shook his head side to side. “But this story, Liam, like a few others I could tell you, I think it has a darker meaning. I believe those children literally followed him out of that town to whatever fate he led them to. I believe he had one of the most powerful marriages between host and icon ever recorded.

     Liam felt the gravitas Malcolm had injected into the words, but couldn’t help himself as through a nervous giggle he said. “Shit, Malcolm next ye’ll tell me Humpty Dumpty wuz the bogey man.”

     The old man sighed a smile back in defeat. “I can see this isn’t working as I’d hoped, Liam.

     Well whit did ye think, Malcolm I’d just swally this shit doon, gargle with it, then ask fur some more?”

     “I never thought anything, Liam, truth is I’ve never had to school anyone in this way, I’ve just left them to their own devices and with a little time they see things clear.  Trouble is son, we have no time, the dark is rising and my hand has been forced. I needed to recruit and fast.” The old man tugged the chain dangling from his waistcoat and retrieved his silver pocket watch -- as if motivated by the mention of time -- to check the hour. 

     Liam watched Malcolm fumbling with the timepiece and couldn’t miss his sense of urgency. He really believed they were on a deadline here. In hopes of grounding the old man back to the real world, Liam tried to glue some sort of tangible handle onto his nonsense claims. “If these things huv been aroon forever, Malcolm how come they’ve never been exposed…written aboot?”

     “Why would those who know of them expose them, they wield their power, they’re the ones on the gravy train with biscuit wheels? And those who don’t know of them…well they don’t know of them.”

     Liam threw up his hands in exasperation. “Aye but there must be thousands in between over the years…who’ve learned aboot them but don’t actually huv wan sittin in their fucking garage, Malcolm...people who’ve been burned by these things.

     Malcolm nodded an acknowledgement. “That’s true, Liam; a few have made claims and even got some small publicity; quickly labeled crackpots, every one of them -- just as you’ve already labeled me Liam.

     With his mother’s voice in his ear reminding him -- always show respect to your elders --Liam took some sting out of his tone and met the old man halfway. “A don’t think your pots cracked, Malcolm but it’s definitely chipped aroon the edges.”

     Well you won’t find much out there about these icon crackpots, Liam, they never write a regular slot in Paranoia Conspiracy Monthly. Truth is they’ve a nasty habit of disappearing and they’re never missed. But its naïve to think these things have never been written about. They’ve left their footprints in the sands of time alright and every now and then…someone writes about them before the next wave washes away their trace. They’re out there in too many books to mention even in some that you have heard of, Liam. Its not just students of history who know about these things either. Do you know what J.R.R. Tolkien did for a living, Liam?” 

     Liam frowned his response. “Naw an don’t even start wi that shit…yer pot is developin a gaping crevice as we speak, Malcolm.

     Un-phased he continued. “He was a language professor. He studied the history of languages and the common themes and stories that underpinned them. Do you think he came up with nine rings of power at random, Liam?  Nine objects which influence the host, the race of man and bend those around him to his will. Why not eight or three . . . nine is such a strange choice don’t you think?”

     “Am gettin tired o telling you to fuck off, Malcolm but a think a’ve goat energy fur wan marefuck off! As he said it, the guitar in his lap tingled and he started to strum, as if answering its call or, was it more like a command? 

     Watching him finger the strings, Malcolm said. “You know you curse a lot for such a young man, Liam…it’s not a nice quality.

     In truth Liam Kidd was quite shy and under normal circumstances would only ever swear when he was nervous. Sitting in a geriatric mentaloid’s house, listening to him decoct world history, was not what he considered…normal circumstances. Right now…Liam Kidd was nervous.

     Fuck off, Malcolm, lets look at this rationally. Things that are aroon any length o time are inevitably lost or destroyed or jist rot away wi time…how come these icons are still aroon?” 

     “Some of them have been lost, Liam, but in some cases technology has caught up to allow some to be reclaimed by those who know where to look.”

     Raking his fingers through his hair in frustration Liam asked “Whit does that mean?”

     Resigned to trying one last time to sell this to the boy, Malcolm continued. Now just sit back…strum your Strat and listen son. You ask about books and about these things being written about. Let’s leave the Bible for now, its too obvious. Let’s go back to the twelfth century. Have you ever heard of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?”

     “Naw but I’ve eaten a Tikka Masala in the Rubaiyat Indian. 

     “Well it’s not a curry house son…it’s a book of poetry written in the twelfth century. It was laid down by Omar, who was a philosopher and astronomer of sorts in Persia.  Anyway there are various references to the icons concealed in its text, it was a subtler time. People never came right out and said things as they do now, especially if these things could be considered supernatural. This book…could be considered an early documentation of the existence of the icons.”

     Liam, with more than the edge of impatience creeping into his voice, butted in. “But whit did ye mean some o them huv been lost?”

     “I chose to kill two birds with one stone, Liam. This is an early reference to the icons but it is also related to the loss of an icon. In 1911, some 700-odd years after it was first published, a small company in London called Sangorski & Sutcliffe crafted an exquisite one off copy of the Rubaiyat and called it The Great Omar. It was said by experts of the day to be the finest ever commissioned and took two years to make. The book had 1,051 semi-precious stones described as rubies, topaz, garnets, and other relatively cheap stones set in 18-carat gold. It had 5,000 separate pieces of coloured leathers and a hundred square-feet of 22-carat gold leaf in the tooling. Now it was certainly the most extravagant made at that time, but the binding could not accurately be described as “priceless. This was the label that Walter Lord unfortunately thrust upon it and provided it thereafter with the aura of a fabulous treasure. This was nonsense as it in fact it had no status as an antique being as it was brand new. It was worth about £400, Liam…the cost of a decent family car at that time. It was purchased at Sotheby’s auction house by a Jewish investor…one Gabriel Weis.

      It’s interesting to note, Liam that its cover differed from the traditional one for this book at the time. They usually had a golden peacock design. This however had three peacocks…but the lower part of the cover displayed a Persian oud…do you know what that is, Liam?”

     “Am no even gonnae guess.

     “An oud was like a lute.

     Liam’s blank expression forced the old man to spell it out for him. “Jesus, son…a stringed instrument. It was the guitar of the twelfth century.”

     Liam strummed a C-chord on his modern oud.

     “The oud on the cover was made with thin inlaid wood and ivory and unless information I paid a lot of money for is incorrect, it was mounted right on top of an icon.”  

     Liam muted his strings and sat forward. “So someone put wan o these things in a book, big wow! I thought you were telling me aboot lost icons, did they return it tae the wrong shelf in the library?”

     With Liam’s sarcasm burning his ears Malcolm answered. “No, Liam, this book never saw the inside of a library. It was on its way from London to New York in 1912 when the ship that was carrying it hit an iceberg in the calmest of seas and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic.”

     Liam raised his arms like a conductor. “All together now, Malcolmfuck off.”

     “It is fact and history will bear me out that The Great Omar was aboard the Titanic when she sunk. Now what history never makes reference to is that there were seventy-nine passengers on the Titanic whose surnames are of obvious Arab heritage; many from Persia…our own Omar’s homeland. She carried these poor emigrants from the middle-east who were seeking economic and social freedom in the New World. Now you won’t see them mentioned in the countless books filled with conspiracy theories about the sinking of an unsinkable ship, nor given any screen time in any movies of the so called accident. But they were there none the less, amongst the 2223 names on the passenger list.”

     Sensing dark insinuation in Malcolm’s tone, Liam ventured. Are you actually implying…that an Arab sunk the Titanic tae drown a book?”  The boy was laughing full on now. “…a mean why no jist toss the thing overboard and then huv a cup o tea?”

     “I don’t have all the answers, Liam. I do know there was a break-in to the purser’s office and maybe that was an attempt to do just that. The fact is the exact location of the book on the ship has never been clear. It didn’t specifically appear on the cargo manifest but was speculated to be in one of a few crates carrying books. The cargo hold was filled with crates and cases carrying everything from China plates to a shiny new car. Not to mention the amount of letters they were carrying, it was after all the RMS, that’s Royal Mail Steamer…Titanic. Ever tried to find a needle in a stack of needles? If you cant find it or get to it, ask yourself what’s the only way of being sure you’ve taken care of it? 

     Liam shook his head in disbelief at what he was hearing. “So whit did they dae…arrange fur an iceberg tae attack the ship…come oan, Malcolm?”

     “You know…it’s not the iceberg, Liam, It never has been. Its how they managed to hit it on such a night. There was no squall or storm, the sea was said to be like a mill pond, flat and calm. Do you know the odds of a ship going down to an iceberg son? The question that no one has really managed to answer over the last ninety-odd years is….what sequence of events led to that eventuality if…like me…you don’t believe in happenstance?”

     The boy put his hands to his head as if unable to believe his ears. “Oh…fuckyou’re fuckin gien me the brain pain.” His brow wrinkled in vexation. “Tell me, Malcolm…are you familiar wi the phrase Shit Happens?”

     Malcolm smiled. “I’ve heard it said from time to time but I don’t know if it’s true. What I do know and is as true today as back then is that people of certain doctrines will gladly sacrifice their own and anyone else’s lives if they believe they are serving the right end. It is the highest honour they can attain to die in such a…well let’s give it a name…a crusade.

     “Jist cause people are of a certain belief system, Malcolm…a certain faith…disnae automatically make them mad-mullah terrorists cruisin for a fuckin crusade.”

     “I said doctrine son, not faith.”

     “Like there’s a difference, Malcolm.”

     Malcolm cast a disparaging eye over the boy. “A faith is something you die for, Liam; a doctrine is something you kill for. There’s all the difference in the world.”

     Liam slumped back on the couch frustrated he could not refute Malcolm’s rantings. The old man, he knew, was like every professor he’d had in his solitary year at university. He only projected an air of intelligence because he was controlling the subject matter and was therefore, always one step ahead. But he could not deny he was being drawn in and part of him wanted to believe this crazy old man.

     His left hand shaped a D-chord and he could’ve sworn it rang out even before his right hand caressed the plectrum across the strings. This thing is tuned to perfection he thought, as the warm glow in his chest signalled wellness in every ounce of his being. He looked up and Malcolm was smiling knowingly at him.

     “Now something about icons that you need to know, Liam is that they are pretty much indestructible. Whatever they are made of…it can’t be found on any corner of the periodic table. That is why they have endured over the centuries. They are not subject to decay and they cannot be unmade by any craft that man may conjure. Many have been buried deep in the earth, but inevitably…with time, find their way back to the surface; drawn from the dark by the magnet of the hosts and the promise of purpose. It’s like they have no way of staying lost. Now, Liam…the sea is the deepest locker there is and it holds its secrets well. In 1912 anything at the bottom of the Atlantic was never seeing the light of day or feeling the touch of man again. But as I said, Liam, technology has caught up to allow some icons that have been lost to be recovered by those who know where to look. My sources tell me there is a salvage operation going on as we speak…with the sole aim of recovering The Great Omar from the darkness of Titanic.”

     Ah I’ve got you now professor. “How can that be, Malcolm…there’s nae way anyone could get near the wreck? I mean it’s protected fae treasure hunters…I read aboot it being considered a grave and no one being granted permission to scuba-dive it or whatever.”

     “Again you’re naivety is lovely, Liam. You don’t scuba-dive to that depth, it’s over two miles down, you need a deep sea submersible and they don’t come cheap and neither does dive time. But do you really think that Bob Ballard and James Cameron are the only people poking around down there? That ship has had so many ROV’s in and out of it there’s probably more film of that wreck than most tourist attractions. Hell son there’s even tourist firms who’ll take you down, legally for about thirty-grand.” 

     “Whit’s an ROV?” 

     “A Remote Operated Vehicle son, the little cameras mounted on a tiny sub to snoop around in nooks and crannies while the crew sit in safety outside a wreck.” 

     Liam internally deferred to Malcolm’s obviously superior knowledge on this subject and conceded to himself maybe he was being naïve. He resented Malcolm all the moreFucking Professor!

     “Now as I said, Liam, the book itself had no inherent value as an antique and the stones were only semi-precious. Its value lay in the level of workmanship that went into the binding. I’ll grant you that its antique status has changed dramatically and the stones have greatly increased in value given their age. But its greatest value to any innocent finder would lie in its association with the Titanic. That alone would greatly increase what it would fetch at auction if recovered. And let’s not forget it would be -- leather leaf or not -- in no great shape, the word mush comes to mind. But even if recovered intact its value would be nowhere near the costs incurred in seeking out and recovering it from the bowels of that wreck. The salvage operation would make a dent in any rich mans wallet. They don’t say that salvage is a great way to change a large fortune into a small one for nothing, Liam. So you have to ask yourself, why would anyone mount such an effort...if not for the promise of an icon? 

     Liam -- tired of the barrage of one sided story peddling -- sat forward and went on the offensive. “A don’t know, Malcolm…I mean I know a might be crazy but isn’t there a chance you could be makin all of this up. I huv nae way of checking any o this shit and I don’t even know you…why should a believe you?” 

     Malcolm had always appreciated a straight-talker and raised his hands in defeat. “You’re right son, but knowing someone doesn’t make them lie to you less, most times it’s the other way about. There’s less motive in lying to strangers. You have to ask yourself, why would I bother?  I don’t know you either but I know people and I can see that despite all your protests, on some level you already believe me, you’re just too scared to admit it, even to yourself.

     What you need to realise, Liam is truth is just something that someone believes. A lie is central to believe son. How do you know who your dad is…cause your mum told you so. But, Liam…honesty is not synonymous with truth. Truth is prismatic; whatever light you bring to it…determines how it refracts and bends. Hell you’ve taken things on faith your whole life, now finally someone wants to tell you the truth and you ask for proof.” 

     Malcolm felt the irony was so thick he had to brush it away from his face. “Belief makes things true, and never forget son, life is more or less a lie anyway.”

     Liam was right, it sounded like a made-up thing. But his life was at a standstill and he had just that very night lost the one thing that lent him hope, his band. Yet here was a man who it seemed had means and was offering somethingalthough what he was unsure. But he had picked Liam. No one had ever picked Liam and why would they? He was as Average Joe as they came, not even rock-n-roll. Medium height, clumpy black hair, anonymous in a crowd and looked like he’d never been stoned a day in his life.

     His father worked in a whiskey bond and in the inevitable convenience of its shadow he stank of it and comfortable in all his human frailties he succumbed to its call. His mother was what you would call a housewife, which in Glasgow meant taking the kids to school and going to bingo in the afternoon; hoping for that big win whilst exchanging tales of housing scheme scandal, fixed-eyed on the numbered cards. He’d lost count of the times she’d fed him about how she just missed the national by one number.

    He’d got his own place at eighteen, a council flat in a high rise in Townhead or Toonheed as it was to the indigenous population. Dropped out of university after year one and his wheels had been spinning in mid-air since…standstill about covered it.

     He had two pairs of jeans and though only one pair was ripped, the pockets of both were empty. Poll Tax overdue, bullshitting the council about rent rebates, stocking shelves in Asda never would cover it. He knew -- diet of beans on toast or no -- he was going nowhere…slowly. But at this moment with this guitar in his lap and this old man whispering syrup in his ear, none of it seemed important.

     Liam was raised a Catholic but the only practising he’d done lately was with his now ex-band. Even though an altar boy in his youth, he’d worn the surplice without ever really being what you might call a Fire and Brimstone believer. No one had ever told him anything in his whole life that would change his view of the world. People with audacity like that were rare. Yet here was a little old man offering something else to believe. He was merely offering it, not like a wheeler dealer hawking a gimmick. It was more of a take it or leave it pitch and without even a hint of proselytization.

     Liam thought of his pocket-sized life and thought of Chris, his band’s front man’s sniggers and then, fingering the strings of this weird guitar, thought of a million what ifs…what if?

   “A’ll be honest wi you, Malcolm, a don’t know how honest I can be wi you. I mean half o me thinks you’re a fruitloop…but the other half is sure you’re a fruitloop.” He strummed his new baby and continued. “Part of me wants tae believe -- but the other part -- that isn’t mental…says…where’s the proof? Call me old fashioned but I like to see things with my own two eyes old man.”

     “With that attitude, Liam, mankind wouldn’t have got off all-fours…where’s the proof? Have you ever been to China, Liam?”

     He gave Malcolm a nonplussed stare. “No.”

     “But you believe it exists don’t you…even though you’ve never seen it -- just like that air in your lungs that you’ve never seen either son. I’d bet you’d develop belief in that right quick -- if I held your head underwater. Or what about the radiation in Chernobyl… it had a fairly profound effect on folks in those parts, but no one ever seen it? Trust me boy -- eyes are overrated. It’s like Francis Bacon said, Liam: They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.”

     “Francis Bacon my arse, was he no the guy who discovered pigs taste good?” Liam joked, but the point wasn’t lost on him. It seemed the old boy had an answer for everything and crazy as it was, the longer he sat in his company, the saner he sounded. Besides where was the harm in playing along if he walked away with this guitar? This guitar that felt so good against him, like it was made for him and no one else. How could he give it back, how could he even put it down? “Ok let’s say am interested…why guitars, Malcolm, why no stick tae microphones like Hitler?” He said the words and although he recognised his own voice, couldn’t quite believe he’d uttered them. Either this old quack is a ventriloquist or I’m developing a sick sense of humour -- Hitler and microphones -- what the fuck am I talking about?

     Malcolm shrugged. “It’s never been fully understood but it’s something to do with the harmonic signature of a stringed instrument. It seems to make it a more efficient transducer… to allow more of the energy of the icon and host to be harnessed. It’s all in the vibrations. Any stringed instrument will achieve something similar, and they’ve been around forever, Liam. Also it seems they’ve always had an air of rebellion about them. In 400-BC Aristotle proclaimed the Kithara an instrument “not suitable to the education of youth.  

     “Was a kithara anything like a strat?”    

     Malcolm smiled, his eyes garlanded with crow’s-feet. “An early strat…like the lyre. The other thing to remember, Liam is that the guitar is both transportable and cheap and this makes it the instrument of the people. That gives it a bigger sphere of influence than say the stringed harp…you don’t see many of them on the main street busking. The guitar just has so many possibilities. It sounds like a cliché but it crosses boundaries cause it lends itself to self expression, without being caged by any particular style of music. Since there’s no formal rules about how it should be played, it allows people to put themselves into it and express such different emotions. It’s sort of like a sponge and folk let something of their soul soak into it, Liam. That’s what an icon feeds on, a host who is willing to let go, it’s an amplifier… and…a transmitter for raw emotions. Hell listen to me, I’m ranting.”

     “Actually that’s the most sense you’ve made aw night, Malcolm.”

     They both laughed and Liam sat forward on the couch. Awkward with the guitar in his lap, the headstock clipped his full mug of untouched, long cold, black tea off the coffee table to the floor. Malcolm’s brown carpet darkened a shade at the boy’s feet. “Shit…sorry Malcolm.”

     Malcolm paid it no mind and merely reached down to the coffee table and retrieved his discarded bank book. “It’s alright son I can afford a new carpet and besides it’s time for a move. The only question is…are you coming with me?”

     Nervous now it had come down to the crunch Liam asked. “Where are ye going, Malcolm?”

     The old man placed a wrinkled hand on his shoulder. “If I’m going to show you the real world son we need to go somewhere that’s better lit.” He fixed Liam with his steel blue stare. “Do you have a passport?”

 

 

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14

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HarperCollins Wrote

THE ANGEL CHORD is an enjoyable YA narrative with a unique premise: since the beginning of time, there has always been a great war between God and the Devil – the battle for human souls. In THE ANGEL CHORD each side has seven hosts (champions), each with their own icon – part weapon, part amplifier – through which the world can be influenced and persuaded to good or evil. Our story begins when two young teenagers, Sandy and Liam, are gifted with guitars – icons in modern form – and trained for the coming battle by mysterious strangers. They travel to LA, where an ancient meeting of hosts new and old, the conclave, is held. If they can survive the journey, they must battle each other to the death.

You have a talent for writing. Accessible, sharp, and often witty narrative is punctuated by lively characters and natural dialogue. Liam’s Scottish brogue and foul-mouthed sarcasm is brilliant, while the sinister figure of Stark – a pale skinned, sadistic demon – provides a strong nemesis for our heroes. The premise works well, and I can see the combination of rock music and fantastical battles being a hit with younger YA readers. Action is fast, furious, and just gory enough to make you wince without putting off a younger audience.

I’m going to focus on what you need to do from here on to take THE ANGEL CHORD to the next level – the largely critical focus, I hope, will be taken as a constructive complement and is not intended to be disparaging.

THE ANGEL CHORD’s two biggest problems could both be solved through cutting text. At almost 140,000 words, this novel is too long to be commercially viable – ideally you will want 80-100,000. The second problem is that it’s only from chapter 22 that the story really gets going. Your 40,000 word cut should come from chapters 7, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 21 AND 25. These are all exposition/infodump scenes – a classic pitfall, especially where authors are trying to build a series with its own world and mythology. Clever as many of the insights are, these chapters need to be removed or reduced drastically. There is a great article here on how to ‘make exposition your bitch’: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/08/09/25-ways-to-make-exposition-your-bitch/. Study and apply its insight.

To help the pace of your early story arc, quick edits I would advise are: Chapter 1 upping the ante from the outset with the news describing how a local murderer has the entire Dark Matter discography. Chapter 3 could include friendly/suspicious interaction with Dave and Sandy’s parents – to make their betrayal much more shocking later on – or John introduced here instead of just before he saves Sandy’s life. Chapter 5 can be cut down and folded into the chapter where they arrive at the graveyard. Chapter 8 seems unnecessary – Leo doesn’t seem that important in the grand scheme of things once I reached the end of the novel.

Structurally, Sandy and Liam need a more convincing reason to go to LA than just ‘the old mysterious man/guy who saved my life’ tells them to. For Sandy it’s not too unrealistic, as he has had his life thrown into chaos. However, Liam’s incentives are less convincing, even if he doesn’t have much to stay for. Perhaps Malcolm slips him tickets to a band he loves playing in LA? Or a relative of Liam’s in LA dies, and a funeral is held (possibly the dark forces have bumped the relative off to lure Liam there)?

I love your late twist in which *spoiler alert* it transpires Liam is actually on the side of darkness when we reach the conclave (or so it appears to me) – but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of his mentor, Malcolm, being a sinister figure. If I have this twist correct, then a hint here or there would be great – nothing overt, but enough so that when the penny drops the reader can nod their head wisely and say ‘ah yes, of course, I should have seen this coming!’

You do a great job of showing how icons can influence the battle for souls (I would say your single throwaway line ‘The music told me to do it’ was more effective than all the heaps of historical exposition). It’s less clear how hosts do battle against other hosts with their icons. This means that while the conclave is a fantastic scene – the trial to get there dark and gruesome, and thrilling once the contest starts – the ‘rules’ and the method of battle seem very fuzzy. What it takes to be skilled at the contest, and how Sandy thrashes five opponents, needs to be clearer for the reader to be fully invested in this.

Commercially, the originality of your story gives this novel a USP. However, there needs to be more of a sense of what has been achieved by the end of novel – what specifically is at stake and what still needs be overcome. If this series is to be a battle of the icons between influencing the souls of earth, I would like to have seen both Sandy and Liam more overtly start some kind of musical following, even if it’s a first podcast, or even sitting down to record a single. The standoff at Stark’s manor, when I realised it was going to be the last scene of confrontation until the next book, was ultimately unsatisfying – it lacked grandeur and real tension.

This novel has great publishing potential, and is a story I would be happy to take a second look at if these edits are comprehensively implemented.

DerekTobin wrote 793 days ago

To mark The Angel Chord hitting 200 comments - I've picked a few recent faves. Thanks to all who have read it so far and thanks in advance for those still to have a look and comment. All the best
Derek

"Derek, I have finished all the chapters that you have uploaded. You simply must upload the rest, you can't leave us hanging like this. I love it. Though it deals with angels and demons, you have done it in such an original and fresh way, its a joy to read, and I really want to read more. Hope you upload some more soon. This could easily be a book I had purchased at a book shop."
Gannon

"of books I have read on this site, by far this is one that has captivated my attention so quickly. I have to agree with your other reviewers that this story seems more likely to be found in a bookstore than free to read online."
Sassychick

"I'm backing this book as one with the potential to become a commercially viable,puiblishable commodity with good appeal across a number of demographics"
Michael ranson

"It's a really great idea that angels have upgraded their harps to using guitars and also fascinating that it's a key to using their powers. There is little doubt that the author Derek Tobin is a talented writer as well as storyteller. I've seen more than one book with a great premise fall flat because of lukewarm writing skills, but Tobin has a style that is every bit as good as the plot here. All three of the main characters are highly believable and likeable in their own way. readers could see themselves put into any of their shoes despite the fantastic nature of the story. Some of the personal conflicts are extremely interesting also, like having an atheist suddenly having to become an angel. I dont see many impediments to The angel Chord's success once published, it's pretty much ready to go right now. surely a movie of its own would soon follow."
John Breeden II

"This story is absolutely fantastic. This story is so wonderful that I'm reading it again this morning despite having a lot of work here in my office. Your use and grasp of descriptive words is utterly amazing. This is a really awesome story, do you know?"
Saerawrites

"The Angel Chord definately warrants a place on the Editor's desk. Backed and starred."
Ruth2904

"Hi Derek. What a stunning piece of work. Your imagery is superb and your handling of plot impeccable. I can see why you are sitting so close to the top. Rest assured you have my backing"
Kokako

"One word- fantastic"
Watchmaker.

"This is a really original piece of woirk great style and the writing really pulls you in. I could defiantely see this being published and selling"
PR Furlong

Gannon wrote 796 days ago

I am currently up to chapter 10, and I just had to comment to say that I am loving it. Derek you have done a wonderufl job. The narrative flows along at a nice pace and the suspense is also built up at a nice pace. Interesting and enjoyable characters. Imho this could easily be a book I had purchased at a book shop. Excuse me now I have to get back to it.

Jehmka wrote 820 days ago

The opening scene: I’m peering down into the old man’s cramped living room. The light is uneven and yellow, coming from an old floor lamp near the old man’s lazy-boy, reflecting off the old-fashioned wallpaper. There’s a layer of dust over the top of the TV. I see these details based on those you provided. It seems there’s just enough atmosphere and tone for this to work. The story is moving forward through concise, well-edited narrative. The old man in his basement, building a mysterious guitar (Frank Zappa would’ve likely enjoyed this scene.)

And then onto Jackie and Bill, and the promise of some creepy grave digging. These first two chapters have me convinced that I’d enjoy reading on.

One tiny nit: hair is blond. A woman who has blond hair, is a blonde.

The Angel Chord is highly recommended.
To rate this less than six stars would be wrong.

sassychick wrote 822 days ago

I have a read a view books on this site and by far this is one of the few that has captivated my attention so quickly. I have to agree with your other reviewers that this story seems more likely to be found in a bookstore then online for free to read.
i love the visual you brought to life and the interactions of the characters in the second chapter. the whole novel is very captivating and I am currently backing it.

Well done!

thelace_no1 wrote 293 days ago

Hi Derek,

it seems I'm coming to the party a little late on this one, but just wanted to say i really enjoyed it. Very nice writing and well constructed descriptions made it easy to read.

Dave.

Nik.Vukoja wrote 542 days ago

Having written a poem many years ago called The Devil Plays Bass and also having an ex-musician, the various classic guitars were instantly visible to me, which likely makes this a story I can relate to more? Not sure. I am only adding this point so that you consider that my opinion could be influenced by these two points.

Now, I have not read the lot and I am sure that when (not if) I do, I will love this even more, but I can say with all honesty if this book was on the market, I would buy it without hesitation.

Now for the negative – though there’s not much of it.

I personally dislike stories where I cannot get to know “THE MAN” instantly. By that I mean a name or something which helps me link to him and hold on to him. I have no doubt this will later be explained, but it did frustrate me somewhat. If there is a very good reason why we cannot know his name, fine, leave it. If not, give us something, a nickname – something. And even if he is on his own, he could have shuffled just as easily to a picture of himself, say playing a sport (or instrument), a news clipping or whatever and been referred to in some form. Aside from allowing the reader to commit to him, it would also give some insight into the character.
Again, this may not be possible for reasons further on and if this is the case, please ignore.

The other thing I noticed is you use HAD a-lot. There are many places you can re-work your sentences without using HAD. It’s a small point but an important one because, when you really need it you can use it without the reader thinking HAD HAD HAD…
I think you could also really tighten up some of the passages. Trust your reader, we get it, don’t cross every “T” and dot every “I” give us some credit, and even if we are wrong, so what? To be honest there is nothing better (for me) than to read something and then go “OH! I see…I get it now…”

Sorry about the war-and-peace epic, truth is, I really like it and want to see it published.
Nik.

Tickel wrote 556 days ago

Great review from Harper Collins, well done! Certainly hope they decide to publish it for you. I enjoyed it.

Clark-ee wrote 567 days ago

WOW, what a great review from the guys at Harper Collins. I'm going to have to read this before you pull it off the site to sign your publishing deal!!!

Jim

Scott Toney wrote 569 days ago

Great Review! Congrats!

Kerron Lee wrote 632 days ago

I know this book has been medalled so any comments I make may not count for much. This book is better than good.

Solerebel wrote 634 days ago

Derek man, ure one hell of a writer. Seven Chapters in one go, that's how captivating this is. Taking a break now and I'd continue. This is addictive.

Kerron Lee wrote 635 days ago

I'm just reading angel chord. I do hope it gets published. Hope to finish it soon.

TonyO'Hara wrote 651 days ago

Hi Derek
Great book and easily understandable why it's on the editors desk. Really liked the way the disparate characters stories are woven together in the first few chapters, keeps the reader gripped. Great idea, excellently written. Look forward to seeing it on a bookshelf soon, as it deserves to be.

Tony

Jacqueline Malcolm wrote 653 days ago

Hey Derek - I read the first 2 chapters of the book and I'm already captivated by the story. I normally only read the first chapter but I couldn't leave it hanging. I love the intense stillness of Chapter 1 - I was there with the old man - I could picture his ever move from the drool going down his chin to when he looked over his shoulder to make sure he was still alone. It was so evident that in the stillness there was something key happening for the flow of the story - thus before I knew it I was selecting chapter 2!!! I love the character descriptions and build up - Jackie Hendam is perfectly written and you have some really clever ways of saying how beautifully ugly she actually is - if that makes sense. You've chosen to write a lot in the past sense , ie, "Bryant brushed his palm along his thigh' which gave me a slight impression of not actually being on the journey with them - but thats just personal choice and definitely doesn't take away from the story. (Hope that makes sense). Obviously pointless backing the book at this point so I'm just left to say - can't wait to see it in print!!! Well done - great writing and a beautifully woven story in just the first 2 chapters. Have a great day - Jac :)

E.R. Yatscoff wrote 659 days ago

Okay, read the first three chaps. You're a good writer and editor. I would begin with the 2nd chapter as I found it far more interesting than an old man in a chair. As for the 1st chap. you should restructure it by separating the TV commentary from the old man's movements/reaction. I had a laugh over "...PHD in male manipulation." Good luck.

Velveteve wrote 661 days ago

Hi Derek,

Congratulations on making it to the Editor's Desk. Best of luck with everything.

Aisling

Roy Batty wrote 664 days ago

Hi, I agree with P Eley on the adjectives. Should you get the opportunity with an editor, I hope you do, I think you'll be asked to trim. A neat idea, I wonder who'd you get as the guitarists should you envisage a film? Steve Vai? Joe Satriani? Jack White? Back story for characters is only necessary when that back story influences their MO or impacts on plot, think of introducing those important points during interaction or action or introspection otherwise they become stand alone info paragraphs. I think you have a guitar fetish :) I have a dippy dongle that keeps dropping out. I'll keep reading. Starred and backed. Roy.

Velveteve wrote 664 days ago

If you have more to upload, please upload it. This is my kind of book, very Gaiman in tone, and I would very much like to see how it ends. I will be rating it highly.

Serina Hartwell wrote 664 days ago

Good evening Derek,

I've been reading your book, Angel Chord this week and can see why you have made it to the top five. I particularly liked the way you used description to build a picture. You have deep characters and plenty of twists and turns drawing your readers into your story.

I thought your idea was fresh and new, I've never read anything, or seen any film with a storyline such as yours. You really know your guitars which I found impressive. I believe your book will do well. Thank you for sharing your story.

Serina Hartwell

Elayne wrote 665 days ago

You have to be on your way to publication with this one, look forward to reading more!

Philthy wrote 666 days ago

Isn't it about time The Angel Chord made the desk? :)

Phil
(Deshay of the Woods)

morriss003 wrote 666 days ago

Derek, for the most part, your imagery is outstanding, much better than the average writer. The only one I would question is ,"like jagged shadows piercing an already forgotten dream." That one was difficult to imagine, and that is where your imagery is so good, I can see it as you say it.

C.A. Simonsen wrote 666 days ago

Derek, I finished the available chapters yesterday: you've created a suspenseful, intelligent story. I was a bit worried at one point that The Angel Chord might be a retelling of Crossroads, but it's not. It is original and, at times, heart-stopping. Congratulations on your success. I look forward to reading the conclusion, be it on the site or from a bookstore. Cheers. - C.A. Simonsen

Laurence Howard wrote 667 days ago

I love the premise. Great stuff. Captivating and well written. Deserves all the success.
Backed with pleasure.
Laurence Howard, The Cross of Goa

Jilleigh wrote 668 days ago

I love the revelations in the beginning, it's a nice touch. Fantastic writing here. I'm going to back 'The Angel Chord' and return soon. The pitch grabbed my attention immediately and the first chapter hooked me. Great job, I look forward to the rest.

ibholdvictory wrote 668 days ago

Hi Derek, The Angel Chord will make a great read. It is one of those books that will be timeless. Great writing, very desciptive and informative. Definettly this book is worth reading. Good luck and hope to see it on the shelves and I shall make it one of my best read.

Dont forget to go and check my book.
If only you could tell.

carolecat wrote 669 days ago

I'm backing this book because I thinhk it has major potential and one of the most intriguing plots I've come across in a long while!

patricia mc a wrote 670 days ago

Your storyline is tremendously original and interesting. I like the dense writing and the surprising twists that follow each other rapidly. The only criticism I can offer is to re-edit all those commas and perhaps consider paring down the adjectives. I.e., 'gentle' tap. A tap is gentle by definition. Even 'small,' gold snuff box. How many large snuff boxes are there? The extra adjectives slow the reader from getting to know what's coming next and believe me, with this story, they want to race ahead.

Good luck with this. I almost never read fantasy but yours is compelling. Pat McA, San Diego

Katie Ridley wrote 670 days ago

Derek, for someone so 'not that bothered' about getting published, you have an unarguable, natural talent! This book is contemporary, well written and engaging and you definitely deserve to be in the top 5. I will highly rate and back your book. Well done!
Katie Ridley, 'The Last Message'.

Watchmaker wrote 670 days ago

A brilliant supernatural tale told with style and originality. Glad to see this near the top.

Philip Eley wrote 671 days ago

Great read and a great premise. I have only read chapter one but I may return for more! Two pieces of (hopefully) constructive criticism for you. firstly, I think the angels in the opening revelations quote need to be playing electric guitars, i know it's a quote but you haven't quoted a specific bible version so i'm sure you'd get away with it, if the rest of the book is going to be irreverent why not set the scene in the opening quote. Secondly at times you go adjective crazy! There are 2 or 3 paragraphs in the middle of this chapter where every single noun is preceded by an adjective. Plus one or two adjectives seem particular favourites, e.g 'Cold' 'small' etc. Minor points I know but hopefully worth a mention.

patio wrote 671 days ago

I'm back for more of your fabulous book

August74 wrote 671 days ago

Fantastic. Reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman - not the style which is all yours, but the wonderfully irreverent way you depict your world. I'm going to read more. I hope this gets published. It deserves to be.

Bea Sinclair wrote 672 days ago

Original, and very well written. Deserving of a place on the ED yours Bea

Spear of Destiny wrote 672 days ago

Awesome opening. I need to crack on with this if there will only be another 12 days of it on the site. The rest of the books on my shelf will have to wait.

stearn37 wrote 674 days ago

Superb very well written.

From
John Stearn (Author of Derilium)

SnugglePuggle wrote 675 days ago

Hello Derek,
You sent me a private message just a few days ago. Even though I love supernatural thrillers, I am not really into the old angel and demon times. I'm more of vampire and werewolf times, thats what my book is about. I am slowly but surely getting to everyone's message and I read the first Chapter of your book. It's interesting, and the old man has a different character than I'm used to seeing. I will put it on my shelf for now so you can keep up your Top 5 rating. And I would love it if you could give me feedback on "Anything but Serenity." Thank you! -Lauren

SnugglePuggle wrote 675 days ago

Hello Derek,
You sent me a private message just a few days ago. Even though I love supernatural thrillers, I am not really into the old angel and demon times. I'm more of vampire and werewolf times, thats what my book is about. I am slowly but surely getting to everyone's message and I read the first Chapter of your book. It's interesting, and the old man has a different character than I'm used to seeing. I will put it on my shelf for now so you can keep up your Top 5 rating. And I would love it if you could give me feedback on "Anything but Serenity." Thank you! -Lauren

sayla wrote 675 days ago

Just finished chapter 5 - rated and backed.

Any comments, rating and/or backing are of course welcome - http://www.authonomy.com/books/44865/said-the-spider/

sayla wrote 676 days ago

added to watchlist - read the first chapter, will read more...

Philthy wrote 678 days ago

Hi Derek,
So sorry I missed giving you a read/review of Angel Chord. I’m not sure how I did that as this is one I’d surely look forward to reading. Anyway, below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions and should be taken for whatever they’re worth. Feel free to disregard what you disagree with.
Chapter One
I get why you have a comma after “armchair,” but I don’t agree with its effectiveness. Grammatically, it’s a stretch, and it seems like a blatant insertion for a pause that it serves more as a distraction. Why is it needed? The sentence is just as strong without. It seems like a borderline gimmick to me, if I’m being honest. That said, minus that small thing, this is an excellent opening-line hook.
“brightly lit” should be hyphenated in this case
“sound immediately damaging the calm of the room” I’m not sure “damaging” is an effective word here. Can calm be damaged? Damage implies destruction to whatever degree. It seems like there is a range of calm, to which end it becomes a subjective term. Calm, or in the case you’re using it “silence,” is also the absence of sound, in which case it cannot be damaged, but replaced. Or, saying the room was filled or even saturated by the ripping guitar chords might be more appropriate. Just something to think on.
Watch the “ly” adverbs, or just simply overusing adverbs. “fully wakeful” and “instantly alert”—the fully and instantly are unnecessary. The context infers that the MC is alert instantly (as opposed to gradually), and the fact that you add that after the “wakeful” part implies that he is “fully” awake, so you really only need to say that he was awake and alert. Or, even better, you could show the reader this rather than telling him/her about it.
What is a jagged shadow? I’m not seeing this image. A strong image should be simple and easy to see so that the reader does not have to think about it much. It should enhance the story, not distract.
I’m curious, if the TV is reporting the news to “no one,” why is it so important to describe what’s on it in such detail? Or is this meant to be omniscient foreshadowing?
Might want to take a look at your use of some of the punctuation—especially semicolons. They’re not always used correctly. Semicolons are generally used to separate connecting, but distinct independent clauses. They are also commonly used in lists following a colon. “…the notes that had poured sharply into his room, like jagged shadows piercing an already forgotten (already forgotten should be hyphenated, btw) dream” is not an independent clause. Therefore, the separation should be a comma, not a semicolon. Another example: “He turned to the window; staring out at nothing…” Staring out at nothing is a subordinate clause, not an independent one, so a semicolon is not appropriate here. A coma is the correct punctuation.
Read the next chapter, as well, and I have to say, I love your writing style. This story is intriguing and unique and you’re a master at telling it. My biggest suggestions are common things, but I’ve noted some examples above. The punctuation ought to be cleaned up, but that’s just editing. Also, be careful with your imagery. Some of it is fantastic. Some of it is peculiar and can serve as a stumbling block for the reader on occasion. But those are small things, really. I’ll gladly give this some support on my shelf this month as you push to stay on the desk. I’d be interested in reading HC’s thoughts on it, as it seems very publishable (not that I know much about the publishing world).
Best of luck!
Phil
(Deshay of the Woods)

Sara Walker wrote 680 days ago

I love the fresh take on angels and music. I'm put in mind of a darker version of Emma Bull's WAR FOR THE OAKS.

The writing is well done, though do watch the adverbs. There are at least 4 in the second paragraph and not all are necessary. "Although now fully awake and instantly alert" would work better as "Now awake and alert".

I love the three POVs converging towards the story, but I would like a greater sense of that main story within the first few chapters. From the description it sounds like we are getting mainly 18 year old Sandy's POV, so I was confused when that was not the case. I think I'd also like a greater sense of what's at stake (i.e. stopping the End of Days) from at least one character right from the beginning.

I love the male-centric POV. There's not enough of that in urban fantasy. But I would like to see the story more woman-friendly. Maybe Jackie could have a better motivation than simply being a man-hater? Also, I'd like a stronger sense of all the characters internal goal/motivation/conflict.

Best of luck with it!

Thomas Finn wrote 680 days ago

I really like your work. It is original, observant and a little zany. Brilliant!

Paul Dyer wrote 682 days ago

This is a thoroughly engaging and well-written work and though the supernatural elements haven’t kicked in, yet, as far as I’ve read, the build-up has all the quality and promise of a good X-Files episode; and that, from me, is high praise. I love the three interwoven stories and can’t wait to see where it goes. I want this to be available in the iBook store and on Kindle, so I can pay for something that seems too good for anyone to be reading it for free. I have so many things to read, I have to apologize for breaking off. But “The Angel Chord”—perhaps reminiscent of Scriabin’s “Prometheus (or mystic) chord” (C-F#-Bb-E-A-D) or of Strauss’s “Elektra Chord” (C#-E#-G#-Db-F-Ab)—will remain on my list of works I’ve met on Authonomy to which I will assuredly return at my leisure.

Cassandre wrote 682 days ago

Derek,
I can hardly say anything that hasn't already been said about this book. Your pitch is perfect. You have a unique and interesting premise. Your writing flows very well. I wanted more chapters than you gave! It is on a well deserved trip to the Editor's Desk!
I am delighted to back this book.
All the best.
Cass
Midnight Radio

Lizzie Cooper wrote 683 days ago

It has been a long time since I've read a thriller sci fi book that has captivated my interest the way your story has. Your first paragraph may be THE BEST opening I've read thus far. Can't wait to find out the damage this old man can do! And replace harps with guitars- simply brilliant.

ismene wrote 684 days ago

A very original idea, and you have built up the tension well. I have read the first 3 chapters and they do draw one in. Your characters are very strong and their situations intriguing. Just one thing - when I read your longer pitch I felt confused by it and may not have continued - that may just be because it is not my usual read and I mentally 'switched off'. I am glad I did look further though as I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Good luck.

Bea Sinclair wrote 686 days ago

An enthralling story so far. I have awarded high stars and put "The Angel Chord" on my watchlist but you will probably be on the ED before I have space to add to my shelf. however I will keep an eye on this.Yours Bea

ELAdams wrote 686 days ago

Read the first couple of chapters and commented a while ago, but seeing you're so close to the ED made me decide to come back for more! I've now read all 24 chapters and, safe to say, this is the kind of book I could see making it to publication. The idea is unique, fascinating and marketable to a range of audiences, and the writing style is pacy and gripping. You have a great setup for a superb thriller here and I look forward to buying it when it's published! Best of luck with the ED!
Emma

Jordan Lees wrote 686 days ago

This is such a fresh, enigmatic and unique idea that I can really see this making it all the way- I can imagine picking it up in a book-store. It takes an age-old idea of angels and demons and manages to make it fresh and captivating, as though you were the first person to ever write about anything like it, which takes a special kind of story-teller.

I haven't read as much as I would like to, but its on my watchlist because I certainly plan to keep going.

I can't think of any constructive criticism to give you on the opening chapters- your writing is flawless and carries the reader through with consummate ease. You have a rare quality that separates the best writers from the rest, and its the ability to have completely your own style and voice and yet hook readers and carry them through the story as though they were telling it themselves.

I really hope this makes it to the ED, and I have every faith that it will.

All the best,

Jordan.

C.A. Simonsen wrote 687 days ago

Derek, I'm new to the site and see by your ranking that you're not in need my rating, but I've got your book on my shelf and I promise to read more of it, as time permits. Gripping first couple of chapters. Your story is easy to picture, and I congratulate you on your success.
- C.A. Simonsen

JCS87 wrote 687 days ago

Um...I feel as if I have been sitting in the dark voluntarily! Your book is awesome :) Yup, going on my shelf, and highly rated! Good luck hun!

Amy Smith wrote 688 days ago

Having read all 24 chapters that you have uploaded, i was completely won over.
The Angel Chord has a wonderful unique premise which captivated me immediately.
The cast of characters are all well developed and very believeable and despite all the changes in perspective i never found myself being confused by the altering perspectives. None of them felt rushed or thrown together and nothing nothing irrelevant was included in the prose. It felt like every word was essential for the readers' understanding of the story. The changes in perspective built a sense of drama and intrigue and the length of the chapters ensured the pace was kept fast and gripping.
The prose is polished and the dialogue is crisp. Also although, although there are cliffhangers this device is never overused which is very refreshing.
My only criticism is that Liam's character has a scotish accent in some chapters and not in others which takes away from the continuity of the novel and the believeability of the character.
This aside, this a brilliant manuscript and its easy to see why it is heading for a spot on the editors' desk at the end of the month.
Congratulations on a great job.
I sincerely wish you the best of luck getting this published.
Highly starred and backed,
Amy :)

pittz wrote 690 days ago

I have to agree with Antonius' comments, and only have one to add of my own. It would be easier to follow the story if it was written in the first person present tense.
'The old man sleeps in his favorite armchair for the last time. In the corner his TV reports the news to no one.' Just reads easier imo. Hope this helps.