Book Jacket

 

rank 329
word count 10932
date submitted 24.08.2012
date updated 08.10.2013
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Comedy, ...
classification: moderate
incomplete

In a Cat's Eye

Kevin Bergeron

When a young woman is found dead in a locked room, three friends search for a missing figurine--and find a killer.

 

The police said Nancy OD’d and she was a tramp. But she wasn’t; she was my friend. I didn’t see her Virgin Mary statue in her room, and I said some guy killed her and took it. Mr. Winkley was in the hallway meowing. The Colonel knew all about crimes. He said, Okay Willy we’ll conduct an investigation... There were lots of suspects in that hotel.

When a young woman in her locked room is found dead with junk in her veins, three friends follow a twisted trail of clues through the Morpheum – a seedy, crumbling hotel, home to the lost, the forgotten, the dreamers, and a killer.

The cover design is by Adam Islaam.

 
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tags

character centered, crime noir, crime-noir, curious incident, fiction, humor, mystery, offbeat

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Isabel Lopez wrote 300 days ago

IN A CAT'S EYE ~ KEVIN BERGERON

Daniel Keyes' classic novel, "Flowers for Algernon," opens with an epigraph from Plato’s "Republic," which reads, in part, “Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye…and he who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh...”

The quote bears relevance to this story, firstly, because of the symbolism inherent in the cat’s eye, obviously significant as evidenced by the book’s title. Secondly, like the MC in "Flowers for Algernon," the MC in this story is a developmentally challenged young man whose weaknesses often make individuals like him easy targets for the alienating cruelty of society in general. Reference is made to the emergence from darkness to light in chapter 2 when Willy remarks, “When you went out on a sunny day, you didn’t see anything at first. I waited on the sidewalk until my eyes got used to the light.”

Willy, the protagonist, is an unemployed nineteen or twenty-year-old, who does odd jobs for his landlady, Elsie, and looks for quarters in the Laundromat to buy cigarettes. He is kindhearted but a bit paranoid of others’ intentions (he smacks a guy in the street who he suspected was going to jump him). His naïve misunderstanding of situations and coping strategies reflect Willy’s simple mindset and view of life. We see this most succinctly in Willy’s emotional detachment. For example, when he sees Nancy’s body through the window, instead of describing what he feels emotionally, he describes the sensation of the fire escape pulling away from the window, making him lose his balance. Willy’s voice is fresh, authentic, and consistent. By using simple vocabulary, repetitive phrases, and long-winded sentences, we see Willy as child-like and unsophisticated, characteristics which are common in the mentally challenged population and lend realism to Willy’s character.

Willy lives at the Morpheum, a hotel that houses socially marginalized individuals who, for various reasons, do not fit society’s norms. Its very name conjures up a place where people’s lives are changed. The eccentric inhabitants of the Morpheum do not necessarily serve as allegorical representations of universal human flaws but are presented, initially at least, as a group of alienated individuals interacting within their corner of the world. It is mostly through the skillful use of dialogue that we get to know each character intimately.

I was fascinated by the thought-provoking use of symbolism in this story. Mr. Winkley is the ever-present one-eyed cat whose eye color changes from green to black, like a mood ring. Ch. 6: “Cats hunt at night, so their eyes don’t need much light to see, but…they don’t see colors. Even humans don’t see color except in bright light, though we don’t usually think about it.” The statue of the Virgin Mary is one of the two colorful items in Nancy’s apartment. Thinking like a handyman, Willy describes its height as “the size of a ten-inch pipe wrench.” The statue goes missing when Nancy is found dead. It resurfaces in a telling dream wherein Willy sees Mr. Winkley knock it off the bureau, sending it crashing to the floor. So many interpretations could be attributed to this dream, but I saw it as the destruction of what is good/saintly by the evil that can be found in destructive personalities.

There is so much to love about this incredible story. The characters are rich and real and memorable. The protagonist has been created with an immense level of respect, and the narrative voice of this challenging character comes shining through. A brilliant combination of humor and heartbreak exalted by rich symbolism make this an inspiring work of art. I am in absolute awe.

Congratulations on the coming publication of your story as an e-book by Authonomy. The recognition is well deserved.

Isabel

blueboy wrote 215 days ago

The day before I found her started like any other. I’d been at the Morpheum for nearly a year. It was a nice place and I had a lot of friends.
(OK, to be honest, from the description, I did not think I would enjoy this. I write in a literary style as well, but your subject matter is not really my cup of tea. However, I did immediately appreciate and enjoyed your story telling ability very much. You seem to be something of a natural in that regard. You have mastered a skill that escapes most authors on this site, which is the ability to draw the reader into the story and make them care about you characters. Here you manage to do so very organically without stopping the narrative to artificially inject character development. So congrats on that.
As I said you have a strong narrative voice, more so than anyone else I’ve read since I have rejoined the site. You have a very natural story telling voice that pulls the reader along; and this is your strongest attribute. You so tend to stray into awkward phrasing here and there, so try to avoid that. Remember, flow is very important; read your story out loud and smooth out any place where it seems a bit rough or awkward sounding. Remember when you are balancing the meter of a sentence you should count syllable, not words.

Also, pay attention to tongue placement on consonants for a smoother read. Seems like a small thing, but if your reader is forced to readjust their tongue very often between words and sentences, it can become laborious and over time this can subconsciously effect the reader’s experience of the read. Flow is as important as the narrative and plot.)

You always had to go by Elsie to get in or out; she kept her door open so she could see into the hallway and sat there in a stuffed chair with her feet up on a card table. Her feet raised on account of puffy of puffy ankles, were adorned with fuzzy slippers that punctuated the story of a hard life told by her worn-down legs. Our landlady didn’t miss much; she sat in her chair every day, all day; nothing got by her.

I love Elsie as a characrter name, sounds home grown, like a family name.

(OK, “in the day” a bit wordy and unnecessary. Your reader is going to assume much of what your characters are doing pertains to the daylight hours, so there is no real need to point that out, especially if doing so bogs the narrative down. Just write the story, your reader will assume it’s daytime unless you say otherwise. If you are devoted to pointing out its daytime, then rework the sentence so that you can do so more fluidly.

Also, “she,” “her” and any pronouns should be limited within any given sentence or particular line of thought. In any given sentence or narrative element, your reader will assume your subject has not changed.

Also, the detail of the stockings is great, but work it in more organically. Always endeavor to balance superfluous details with the meter and flow of the narrative. If you with the narrative down with too many descriptive details, unless you do if very well smoothly, it is going to bog down your narrative. This is a good rule of thumb for details that are no intrinsic to your plot, details that are not going to be important later. The sort of character building details should be smoothed effortlessly so that the reader hardly notices that you are building a world around them. If character building details are forced and jammed in, then the reader is subjected to all the hammering and sawing as you attempt to build the world around them. This is rarely a good idea, except in certain cases. Flow is everything.
I would pick one of these details about her leg appearance, and round it thoughtfully. I chose the fuzzy slippers, to give you an example. You can always work the stockings in later, but do so organically, as a natural consequence of the progression of the narrative. Forcing the issue will make a passage awkward.
Also, don’t stop you narrative, and announce “Elsie is the landlady,” work into the structure of the narrative.
Also, “sometimes things happened at night, and she didn’t see any of that.” Firstly, this is very awkward sounding. It weights your narrative down without furthering your plot in any meaningful way. Secondly, it seems unnecessary. As a machinist, I’m sure you are aware that there is no such thing as a positive negative. So, to go out of your way to inform the reader about what does not matter, and goes wholly ignored or unnoticed seems pointless. )

Leaving one morning, I had just past her parlor, thinking I had gone unnoticed, when she called my name.
(Remember, not to describe every little action. Describe the main elements and let your reader’s imagination fill in the blanks. If you attempt to describe every little thing you characters are doing, then you will have a very long, tedious, and laborious manuscript.
“Willy!”
I smelled soup. I had a lot to do but I had not eaten either.

(Logic problem here.) A character should smell soup, not soup on a hot plate. Unless they can see the hot plate.
It’s not a big problem here, but just keep in mind that details that do not further your plot, should be avoided. The problem is not with the detail in any particular instance. The problem arises when you “tend” to added unnecessary details, because it adds up. Add superfluous details sparingly, that you way you conserve your word count, for passages intrinsic to the plot, where much detail is needed. So, just as an exercise, determine whether it is really important to point out “outside” in this instance. It reads fine here; it does not big you down, but remain aware that less is more in many instances. Being conscious of adjective and detail as you go will save you time editing later.)
“Willy, get in here! I want to talk to you.”
Sometimes Elsie had me to eat with her. (This is good character development, lets you know something about the psychology of Elsie. “wanted me” or “asked me” may make Elsie a more sympathetic character. ”asked me will likely stir your readers emotions more than “had me.”

In her parlor the TV was muted. I fiddled with the rabbit ears until the reception improved. It don’t hurt to be nice to her. (Here again, try to avoid dissect actions down to discreet parts and describing all of them. A characters behavior should appear as holistic as possible. It is not necessary to announce that your character is entering a room. Begin “In the room…and so on.. Your reader will assume the character walked into the room without you have to bog down the narrative informing them of it; and they will pick things up there. Express things as fluidly as possibly. Try to avoid awkward phrasing.
Also, try ti avoid relying too heavily of simple sentence structures. Change your sentence structure up for variety, and to make the story more natural sounding.)

“Let me prop you up,” I said, noticing her pillow had slipped out from behind her neck.
“Something’s got into Nancy.” (If her speech is part of who she is, fine. I mean if Elsie came from a very proper back ground that has stuck with her grammatically correct dialogue is fine; otherwise, be careful that you do not lean to heavily toward overly formal language. People tend to speak informally in day to day conversation.)

OK, I really enjoy you story telling. You have a way if drawing you readers along. Just polish while keeping so of the above suggestions in mind. Good luck with your manuscript.


blueboy

blueboy wrote 216 days ago

A peom by one of my favorite poet, the late William Griffin, seems in order...


Cat,
I love and hate you;
You make of me a couch, not a companion and I hurt for it.
I suffer at length for your leisure
And you mock my devotion with an unencumbered yawn.
Your affection, as remote as a distant bowl of food,
As brief as eye contact can be,
Pleases me, I suppose, because it is so fleeting.
Our bond seems a metaphor for all the joy
And sorrow of a weeping world,
An exchange reduced to one purring refrain
Made more for you benefit than mine.


William Griffin III


Jane Mauret wrote 258 days ago

Hello, Kevin
Just to say many congrats at having your book published. I loved it from the moment I started reading it so it is great that HC happened upon it also.!
Best Wishes.
Jane Mauret

Alexander French wrote 292 days ago

Hi Kevin

I enjoyed your fourth chapter, but I am a ferocious nitpicker.

You should put a hyphen in "ten-inch pipe wrench"

I once did a writing course with Peter Carey. He was a real "blue pencil man" which meant cutting out any words or phrases that were not necessary. The cat has his dish "on the floor." Leave that phrase out. Where else would a cat dish be?

Nancy has to give "two weeks' notice" (with an apostrophe). The 2002 film with Sandra Bullock got the title wrong.

Finally, Nancy straightened the collar of Willy's tee shirt. Do tee shirts have collars?

I hope you do not think me petty. Little things like that can put readers and editors off.

More to follow.

Alexander (Sandy) French

Alexander French wrote 293 days ago

Excellent third chapter. I loved the "who" "whom" bit.

I was not sure, however, when your narrator appeared to overhear what one character whispered to another. I suppose it must have been one of those proverbial stage whispers.

More comment to follow.


Alexander (Sandy) French

Alexander French wrote 294 days ago

Chapter two came up with no problem,

I found it rather hard to believe that your narrator was pushed into the river,

Still I enjoyed meeting Mr. Winkles, I may be wrong but I'm guessing that the one-eyed Mr. Winkley is the source of your novel's title.

More comments to follow.

Alexander French

Alexander French wrote 294 days ago

I have looked at your first chapter which I enjoyed. There are little mistakes such as "and she only twenty-one." They are no problem.

I am worried, however, about the fact that the entire chapter consists of a dialogue between Elsie and Willy.

Perhaps you could have Willy take a look around a say what he sees or pause to give a short description of Elsie.

Just a thought. You don't have to take my advice.

Alexander French

Isabel Lopez wrote 300 days ago

IN A CAT'S EYE ~ KEVIN BERGERON

Daniel Keyes' classic novel, "Flowers for Algernon," opens with an epigraph from Plato’s "Republic," which reads, in part, “Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye…and he who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh...”

The quote bears relevance to this story, firstly, because of the symbolism inherent in the cat’s eye, obviously significant as evidenced by the book’s title. Secondly, like the MC in "Flowers for Algernon," the MC in this story is a developmentally challenged young man whose weaknesses often make individuals like him easy targets for the alienating cruelty of society in general. Reference is made to the emergence from darkness to light in chapter 2 when Willy remarks, “When you went out on a sunny day, you didn’t see anything at first. I waited on the sidewalk until my eyes got used to the light.”

Willy, the protagonist, is an unemployed nineteen or twenty-year-old, who does odd jobs for his landlady, Elsie, and looks for quarters in the Laundromat to buy cigarettes. He is kindhearted but a bit paranoid of others’ intentions (he smacks a guy in the street who he suspected was going to jump him). His naïve misunderstanding of situations and coping strategies reflect Willy’s simple mindset and view of life. We see this most succinctly in Willy’s emotional detachment. For example, when he sees Nancy’s body through the window, instead of describing what he feels emotionally, he describes the sensation of the fire escape pulling away from the window, making him lose his balance. Willy’s voice is fresh, authentic, and consistent. By using simple vocabulary, repetitive phrases, and long-winded sentences, we see Willy as child-like and unsophisticated, characteristics which are common in the mentally challenged population and lend realism to Willy’s character.

Willy lives at the Morpheum, a hotel that houses socially marginalized individuals who, for various reasons, do not fit society’s norms. Its very name conjures up a place where people’s lives are changed. The eccentric inhabitants of the Morpheum do not necessarily serve as allegorical representations of universal human flaws but are presented, initially at least, as a group of alienated individuals interacting within their corner of the world. It is mostly through the skillful use of dialogue that we get to know each character intimately.

I was fascinated by the thought-provoking use of symbolism in this story. Mr. Winkley is the ever-present one-eyed cat whose eye color changes from green to black, like a mood ring. Ch. 6: “Cats hunt at night, so their eyes don’t need much light to see, but…they don’t see colors. Even humans don’t see color except in bright light, though we don’t usually think about it.” The statue of the Virgin Mary is one of the two colorful items in Nancy’s apartment. Thinking like a handyman, Willy describes its height as “the size of a ten-inch pipe wrench.” The statue goes missing when Nancy is found dead. It resurfaces in a telling dream wherein Willy sees Mr. Winkley knock it off the bureau, sending it crashing to the floor. So many interpretations could be attributed to this dream, but I saw it as the destruction of what is good/saintly by the evil that can be found in destructive personalities.

There is so much to love about this incredible story. The characters are rich and real and memorable. The protagonist has been created with an immense level of respect, and the narrative voice of this challenging character comes shining through. A brilliant combination of humor and heartbreak exalted by rich symbolism make this an inspiring work of art. I am in absolute awe.

Congratulations on the coming publication of your story as an e-book by Authonomy. The recognition is well deserved.

Isabel

carol jefferies wrote 300 days ago

Hi Kevin,

In A Cat's Eye

This is a return read and you did ask me for advice. This is only one person's opinion.

The opening draws the reader in and the characters are wonderful, but I think your work could benefit from a tightening up so it flows better. Some of the sentences are too long. There are repeats of the words 'figures,' 'but' and 'she.'

Can I suggest instead of writing, 'You always had to go by Elsie to get in or out, ' and then repeating the word 'she' in the sentences following this to describe Elsie, you write, 'You always had to go by the landlady to get in or out. Elsie kept her door open in the daytime so that she could see out into the hallway.'

To avoid use of 'she' again how about, 'Swollen ankles meant she needed to keep her feet elevated whilst sitting. I'd cut the legs off a card table for her to rest her feet on.'

'She was the landlady' can be deleted as it is now mentioned earlier. You can also delete the word 'always' too in the next sentence. Remember less is more, so get rid of any unnecessary words. Instead it could read, 'She wore nylon stockings rolled down just below the knee, and furry slippers. Sitting in that chair every day, all day long, little got past that shrewd old lady.'

It would also tighten up the next sentence by saying, 'One morning while I was on my way out, I just made it past her parlor, thinking she hadn't seen me, when she called out my name. "Willy!"'

Elsie is a great character and I loved the way she comes across as both motherly and a manipulating matchmaker. I also liked the fact that the story is carried forward by the very natural dialogue between Willie and Elsie concerning Nancy.

Chapter two opens with, 'When you went out on a sunny day you didn't see anything at first.' How about, 'It was such a bright day the sunlight blinded me at first. I waited on the sidewalk until my eyes grew accustomed to the dazzle.'

The following sentence is too long. How about breaking it into two sentences. 'After I finished looking at the chef I strolled around the town for a while. But there wasn't much going on.' Strolling instead of walking gives away the character's idle mood.

The word figure is repeated so how about instead of 'I figured he was planning to jump me,' say, 'I suspected he was planning to jump me.'

The next sentence needs breaking up to deliver more impact and the describe two actions. Instead of, 'I went over to him...' How about 'I went over to him and smacked him. He pushed me into the river and shook his fist at me before walking off.'

Also this sentence needs dividing up into two. 'Before Nancy took him for his operation he got into fights all the time. He lost most of them. We hated for him to have surgery, but he kept fighting and getting into trouble.' Delete 'all the time.'

Instead of ,'He probably figured that the mouse...' writing, 'He hoped that the mouse would forget he was there, and come back out.'

Chapter two ends well with Willy's mistrust of Stanley.

There is repetition of the word 'she' in the first paragraph of chapter three. 'She had them all locked...' How about, 'She had them all locked when I knocked on her door. Unlocking the three locks she opened the door to let me in.'

This sentence is too long, 'It would have taken ten minutes...' To create more impact, how about, 'It would have taken ten minutes to tighten the hinges and plane the door edge. But I made a big deal out of it to reassure Nancy that I was doing the job well to make her feel safe. I was also hoping that Elsie might let me slide another week with the rent. I liked having an excuse to spend time with Nancy.' (Remove 'some')

I told her I'd check the condition of the wood does not need speech marks as it is not direct speech.

The descriptions of Howie and Francine are brilliant. But it better to show rather than tell the reader. So how about saying, 'Francine frowned at Howie for not going with her. She strode into her room with Mr. Winkley.' 'Strode' says more about her mood, she probably felt annoyed with Howie.

Instead of 'That Howie would get the money from Elsie,' how about, 'I suspected Howie would get the money from Elsie, and instead of buying hinges, spend it on beer.'

Instead of 'I went to the supply closet....' how about, 'I went to the supply closet and took out the set of old hinges I intended to use. Cleaning them with Brasso, they looked like new. Keeping an eye on the stairway Howie had gone up, I put them in the Peavey's bag and along ...window.' Delete word 'where.'

This sentence is too long. 'He had a bottle of beer...' How about, 'He had a bottle of beer and that made me feel better. I meant to save him some of the Thunderbird I'd bought, but I ended up drinking the whole bottle, sitting on the railroad tracks in the sun.' (Liked end of this sentence.)
Instead of 'I figured the Colonel...' how about, 'The Colonel must have given him the beer because it the the Colonel's brand.'

There needs to be a full stop when Willy asks Howie if he knows where Nancy is. 'I asked Howie if he knew where Nancy was. He said that she had been talking to the Colonel in his room. When he came out, she had gone.'

This sentence needs to be made into two to create more impact. 'She wore a baby-doll nightgown...' How about, 'She wore a baby-doll nightgown around the hotel and never combed her hair. She wasn't bad to look at.' Delete word 'too.'

A full stop needs to be after, 'She yawned...above her head. If there had been...'

How about instead of, 'We finished working on the door..' 'After we finished working on the door I lay on my bed smoking, and thinking about the story the Colonel had told me. it was about soldiers who had hidden inside a wooden horse they had made. The enemy dragged the horse inside the walls of their own city.'

How about a bit of emotion in Nancy's gratitude towards Howie and Willy for fixing her door. 'I know," she said utterly delighted.'

Break the following sentence with a full stop instead of a comma. ''There's some other things too(.)

Instead of the long sentence to describe something banal, 'I'd better go back to my room... ' just write, 'I'd like to freshen up first.'

Chapter four reads,'I think she just wanted to be proper...' how about, 'She sounded as if she wanted a formal practice to reassure herself about opening the door to strangers.'

It would create more drama if you write instead of, 'I don't like him following you...' How about, 'I don't like him stalking you like that.'

Instead of, 'He wanted to tell me something but he couldn't, how about, 'It was as if he wanted to tell me something but couldn't say it.'

Instead of, 'He's just a lonely man...' How about, 'He's just a lonely man whose deaf, dumb and shy.'

This sentence is to long, 'Nancy's mother gave it...' How about 'Nancy's mother had given it to her just before she died. Nancy had been only nine.

I wondered how Willy knew that Nancy prayed when she was alone? How about, 'Every day when she was alone she told me that she said a prayer to the Virgin Mary.'

The next sentence is confusing too about whether the statue was present that night. I take it Willy would have noticed it was missing. How about, 'I don't remember actually seeing the statue that night, but if it was missing, like I told the cops, I'm pretty sure I would have noticed.'

This sentence needs breaking up. How about, 'There wasn't much to see out of the window. Just the side of another brick building across the alley. Looking sideways you could see some trees and some grass.'

The scene with Nancy at the stove and then them eating the meal sounds a bit disjointed. How about 'Nancy was busy at the stove. All of a sudden she strode over to Mr. Winkley. He was drinking from his dish on the floor. Stopping down she gazed at his face. I couldn't think why she did that? And then she returned to the stove.'

Instead of Mr. Winkley was standing...' How about, 'Mr. Winkley was standing on the table with his head right in my plate. It was difficult for me to eat and I had to keep pushing him away.'

Then you repeat the fact they are sitting eating. Delete, 'We were siting there eating.' Shorten the next sentence to 'Nancy picked up her glass of milk and flinched.'

The bit about the coat-rack is good as it adds to Nancy feelings of being badly treated, but again the sentence needs breaking up. 'I had hung my coat on the wrong rack. It was where the office girls hung their coats and they told him. He gave me a written warning.'

A full stop after '... you could get anything you wanted(.) But I don't know anymore."

Instead of, 'she dropped a spoon and bent all...' how about, 'She dropped a spoon and bent over to pick it up. I couldn't decide whether she looked better from the back or the front.'

How about instead of, 'She was washing the dishes with her back to me,' you have already said previously that she has her back to him. 'Washing the dishes, she said, "I'm not going anywhere."'

Full stop after, 'her saying that out of the blue struck me(. ) Nobody had said...'

For the next sentence how breaking it up to, 'Now when I think about it. Did she mean that her life wasn't going anywhere? I don't know.'

I hope this helps. It is such a great story with such well painted characters, plot and dialogue it would be lovely to see it move up the ratings.

Good luck with it,

Carol Jefferies
(Diary of a Bad Queen)
(The Witch of Fleet Street)



















Elliott Baker wrote 305 days ago

In a Cat's Eye is as clear an example of voice as I have yet encountered. There is a lilting poetry of this prose that is almost hypnotic in its effect. The opening marvelously contrasts the dramatic with the mundane. The road begins in one direction with a death only to change radically in the next two sentences. The second sentence, a neutral exposition of location, transitions to the totally mundane statement about good friends. With three sentences I'm startled into attention and then locked into the best of all positions for a reader. What happened? I love this convention which you use to good effect throughout the piece. For instance: the juxtaposition of the statue of the Virgin Mary with a ten inch pipe wrench. It's almost impossible not to visualize both.

Just one nit pick: I would have preferred to meet Roy first hand rather than just hearing about him. Even just having him bump into Willy would give me a more concrete image when the Colonel and Willy discuss suspects. Five stars.

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 360 days ago

An interesting story is building here. You've done a nice job of developing the characters for the reader. One can see the hotel manager as she sits in her chair keeping tabs on the goings on. The girl who's trying to make a better life and the young man with a chip on his shoulder who is just trying to find his footing. I really enjoy your style.
God bless you!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

Lara wrote 374 days ago

Good premise and straight into the M C s everyday life, with clear hint that he's not going to be a hero. The sentence about dying by her own hand needs tweaking, it's slightly confusing as it stands. In 2 you have our man pushed into the river but there's no mention of his getting wet or struggling out, nor is he dripping when he reports it. The plot continues to develop nicely with more characters appearing, each with their dark side showing. The quality of writing flakes a bit thereon. I'm sure it's going to be enhanced as you write on. Rosalind Minett
SPEECHLESS
A RELATIVE INVASION (set in the forties)

Billie Storm wrote 402 days ago

A Cat's Eye is so fluid, and so simply written that I suspect immense care has been taken to create this sinuous and effortless prose.
Willy's voice drifts by and sweeps me along on his view of life: the matter-of-fact way he survives, the loss of interest in when the old woman is not going to give him any soup, smacking someone he thinks will jump him, brutal in parts, humorous in others. There is a naivety about the character, but a world weary aspect, too, like a child grown up too quick.
I love the dialogue, casually watching it unfold, I know, you like any good practitioner, will snap me in while a relax.
The atmosphere has a sort of thick humidity, a flicking flies away as the day rolls on, waiting for events to emerge, and those passively observing, energise into a kind of living, if only vicariously..
The sense of portent deepens in this ostensibly hum-drum, living cheek by jowl existence. The one eyed cat is a fascinating thread to follow. A cat, itself pacing and mysterious, a perfect metaphor.

Fully starred.
Well done, and will shelve you on the next shuffle.

David 2012 wrote 407 days ago

Hi Kevin,

In A Cat's Eye puts me in mind of a slow moving stream where one can idly wile the hours away just enjoying the day. The microcosm offered by The Morpheum presents us with characters that seem authentic and a narrative that is well paired to them. It makes for a good read.

David
Toccata and Fugue

Gesher wrote 411 days ago

The first thing I have read on authonomy that has an original voice and has also kept me reading past the first two chapters. What a lovely surprise! The easy, unforced narrative reminds me a little of Steinbeck's Cannery Row/Tortilla Flat and that's about the greatest compliment I could ever give. High stars and am TOTALLY backing this . Well done,

Gesher (The Volunteer)

Wussyboy wrote 411 days ago

What an original (and blackly humorous) book you have here, Kevin, very nicely done! I only set out to read one or two chapters, but ended up reading five, the quirky characters and even more quirky dialogue really engaged me. I LOVE Mr. Winkley (I had a one-eyed cat book up myself last year) and Willy is a magnificent creation, the kind of simple yet wryly funny (and keenly observant), ominiscient narrator that one could listen to for hours, were he sitting in your living room. I'm intrigued as to what exactly he's done to have "served his time" but am guessing irrational violence, in that he smacks some innocent bystander for just asking for a fag! There is a bit of repetition - rather too many 'is he/her bothering yous' for my liking, and Willy says he doesn't like Roy twice in one paragraph in chap 1 - but otherwise this is one of most enjoyable books I've dipped into this year. Six stars.

Joe Kovacs
A Marriage made in Chemical Heaven

Tornbridge wrote 437 days ago

In a Cat’s Eye by Kevin Bergeron

It’s always nice to stumble on a gem and I have to say this is rather good fun. It plays out like, well, a stage play with a lovely balance of story development and wit.
It cracks along pretty quickly and the dialog and characterisations are well drawn.

By chapter five, I was really quite engrossed. I knew from the pitch what was going to happen and thought the build up was very well done.

This get’s five stars from me. Well worth a read.

Best of luck with it
Tornbridge
The Washington Adventure

I’m pretty rubbish at spotting these but one correction I noticed.
“I guess. You don’t want (to) burn your soup.”

Lauren Grey wrote 456 days ago

Kevin, your book came recommended to me by Cherry on my, I’m Looking...thread

This was a first-rate read. I found your writing, narrative and dialogue, to flow in a most realistic manner and the unhurried pacing was perfect, further enhancing the subtle dry humour throughout. The character of Willy did confuse me initially as I thought he was much older in the opening. However, by the time I got to chapter seven I was totally engaged with his very distinctive personality, brilliantly done in how you slowly revealed this multilayered character to the reader.

I loved the revelation about Stanley in chapter seven; this really adds another dimension to the already well-developed storyline further hooking the reader, well done.

There was only one line I stumbled over, and that was in chapter five, ‘It appears to me as how you are very interested in that statue...’ This sentence doesn’t read right to me. I think perhaps needs rewording or a word was dropped in editing?

All in all, this is a most enjoyable read, and I am so glad that I popped in to have a look. Very well done and high stars.

Janet/Helen wrote 461 days ago

In a Cat's Eye. Chapters 6 to 11.

Thoroughly enjoyed chapters 6 to 11 and really got drawn into the mystery of Nancy's death over the last four chapters. It is the case that you express things a little oddly at times - but I believe this is part of the humour that comes off the pages so well. No errors that I could see. Let me know if you download more. In any event, will back in the future when I have some room. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

Lara wrote 461 days ago

Cherry recommended this expecting me to like it, and indeed I do so far. I think you could work on your language - i.e. the way you express things - but the dialogue and visualised scenes are convincing. Good characterisation.
Hope to read more at some point. Well done. Rosalind
A RELATIVE INVASION

Michelle Richardson wrote 462 days ago

In a Cat's Eye - There was something very current about this but at the same time it could be set in the past. It reminded me of Breakfast at Tiffany's for this, which I really love. Sharp use of words and a thoroughly likeable read.
Michelle-43 Primrose Avenue

Janet/Helen wrote 462 days ago

In a Cat's Eye. Chapters 1 to 6.

This has cheered me up no end this morning. Recommended by CherryG - I love the humour and the way it's written. The characters, the storyline, the settings - eveything works for me. No errors that I could see. I have problems with internet access at the moment so have only read up to 6 but will return tomorrow to read to 11. In the meantime 6 stars and onto my watchlist for backing when I can. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

Cherry G. wrote 463 days ago

Read all you have uploaded here and I'm left wondering what will happen at the party. Are you going to upload more chapters, or will I have to wait until it's published as an ebook? Please let me know when it's published as I will certainly buy it.
Great characters, with convincing atmosphere and dialogue, this is full of humour, mystery and down on luck hardship. I enjoyed reading it so much, I've given it 6 stars. I have a backlog with books on my shelf, so won't be able to back it for a few weeks yet, but I hope to have it on my shelf by June.(Apologies for the delay.)
Just one typo I noticed, in Chapter 1 when Elsie is talking:
"...and she('s) only twenty-one."
Good luck with publication and sales. It deserves to do well.
Cherry
The Girl from Ithaca
PS. I like the title!

Nichola Hunter wrote 473 days ago

It's easy to see why this book has been selected for publication. It reads very well...the humor is dry and the writing flows like honey. I love the sparse yet detailed observations of the narrator and the matter of fact way he presents the story. It makes for an extremely comfortable read, if that makes any sense. It's nice to see such a polished work here. I look forward to reading the whole thing when it becomes available as an ebook. Bravo for excellent writing!


Nichola(Victoria) Hunter
Ramadan Sky

djchorus wrote 488 days ago

When I read your long pitch, I thought I detected some tongue-in-cheek and wasn't disappointed when I read your book. You've done nicely something that is not easy, conveying rather hard hitting, harsh events with a brush stroke of dark humor, perhaps even irreverence. Some might be turned off by the style, but others will love it.
Good for you!
Up on my Watch List and headed for my Bookshelf soon.
-David Johnson
"Tucker's Way"

Su Dan wrote 495 days ago

your simple, straight narrative voice is a breath of fresh air- it flows and gives your story a real edge and quality...great work...
backed...
six stars******
read SEASONS...

carol jefferies wrote 511 days ago

Hi Kevin,

I just read the first three chapters of your book 'In Cat's Eye,' and was drawn to read it by your pitch.

The story has a dramatic opening with the mention of someone's death.

The setting of the hotel 'The Morpheum,' which seems to offer accommodation for losers is well painted, as are the characters you write about, especially Elise, Stanley, Howie and Stanley.

It took me a while to realize that Mr Winkly was in fact, a cat. I don't know if that was intentional but it was a good idea.

The dialogue is brilliant and from the start it captures the undercurrent of emotions between the characters.

I like your tongue-in-cheek writing style.

Willy's character is gradually revealed to the reader, and he comes across as a street-wise, sly character but with mainly good intentions if they don't interfere with his own needs.

Well done and I am backing your book,

Carol Jefferies
(Love for Lilian)

Nigel Fields wrote 523 days ago

Kevin,

I enjoyed your first chapter. Fantastic opening line! Love it. I enjoyed your approach to beginning this story, the dry humour is refreshingly good. In a Cat's Eye, a snappy title. Good pitches.
Nit: "You don't want burn your soap." I'm guessing you mean 'to burn'?? Maybe it's a phrase I'm simply unaware of. I'll try to pop back for more of a read soon.
Regards,
John Campbell (A Lark Ascending)

Kevin Bergeron wrote 523 days ago

In A Cat's Eye. Kevin Bergeron. 14/02/2013

Hi Kevin,
This is the first time I have read and completed in depth notes on a complete MS. I think we exchanged comments, comments on comments and played with ideas for both stories for about a month. Perhaps this is the ultimate in the Authonomy process. For me it allowed, and sometimes forced me to justify what I had written and quite a few times accept that things were not as I deduced. I learnt a lot and would gladly go through the process again.

I believe that you are on the verge of having your story 'take off.' It's so satisfying to read something which departs from the popular car chase, gory murder, erotic relationships and the usual razzmatazz. You have, for me, combined a number of realistic characters who represent a vulnerable underclass which many people will never meet. I suppose this reflects the number of people one has come into contact with over a period of years. The off-beat characters and their environment hover around, Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,' Charles Bukowski's world and sad backgrounds described by Graham Greene. As I remarked once before, I see them all in some unpainted visual by Edward Hopper.

Most important are that your characters are such that each one has the potential to raise tension and introduce conflict; not in the usual confrontational way but in everyday behaviour such as 'That's my chair you're sitting in; You said this/that; the really simple everyday events that we all experience and sometimes end up as full blown problems. Your MC, Willy, at times gives us a great depth and understanding of his world which begs the question, 'Who's crazy?' But your main achievement is the 'fantasy' portrayal of Mr Winkley who is – a cat! Not just any old cat but one who is sometimes friendly, sometimes aggressive and has a way of passing on messages/hints to those he wants to. This combination of harsh reality and fantasy is terrific, simple and offers infinite potential.

I've already remarked on ways which I think can progress and develop the story so will not repeat what we have discussed over the past four weeks. It's obvious to me now that although there is a lot to be said for reading just the first few chapters and commenting, to find someone who is prepared and committed to a whole MS is invaluable and probably a rare occurrence.

Last of all Kevin, thanks for all the work you have put into reading and commenting on my book, from the comma, apostrophe and spelling to long discussion on complex issues and inconsistencies relating to chronology and...

Chris. Sorting it Out.



Chris,

Your comment is one of the most gratifying I received, particularly because it homes in on the very things that I intend the book to convey to the reader; the concepts, characters, and atmosphere came through to you. This can only happen when both the writer and the reader contribute their efforts. Sometimes I like to believe that I write for myself, and that a book has a purpose and life of its own apart from the reader. But really, it only lives when somebody's reading it. You're the only reader so far that has mentioned the thematic idea of "who's crazy," which for me is one the major themes in the story.

I agree that the second half of the book is not as strong as the first half, and I'm working on that now. I also agree with your comment that Willy needs to be more proactive. I'm putting him in more danger, so that he is forced to make decisions, take actions, and learn some lessons from his experience. You observed that the characters are sometimes inconsistent in their speech and behavior, and that indicates that they are still being developed. Bringing this process to a conclusion will, as you say, probably add about 10,000 words to the book, which would probably be a welcome addition since the book is now at minimum length for a novel. I really need to pin down these characters. The truth is that I don't fully know them myself, not yet anyway. The MC is particularly difficult in this way. There is an inconsistency in his character that may stretch the reader's "willing suspension of disbelief" past the breaking point. I'm still getting to know him.

Kevin

InquireTheOrigin wrote 524 days ago

You know, it's funny. I find stories like these to give me a tear and a serious page turn. I really adore the play of words and the simple suspense in the first chapter. Not too much, not too little. This has become an absolute favorite. I really do enjoy the characters, I feel they've become personal. Very personal...
I love the humor and consideration between the characters. It has a sense of charm. I like the flow, it's really smooth and it comes across as a great read. Your choice of words and visuals are creative.

Best Of Wishes
A.D. Reid

wekabird3 wrote 531 days ago

In A Cat's Eye. Kevin Bergeron. 14/02/2013

Hi Kevin,
This is the first time I have read and completed in depth notes on a complete MS. I think we exchanged comments, comments on comments and played with ideas for both stories for about a month. Perhaps this is the ultimate in the Authonomy process. For me it allowed, and sometimes forced me to justify what I had written and quite a few times accept that things were not as I deduced. I learnt a lot and would gladly go through the process again.

I believe that you are on the verge of having your story 'take off.' It's so satisfying to read something which departs from the popular car chase, gory murder, erotic relationships and the usual razzmatazz. You have, for me, combined a number of realistic characters who represent a vulnerable underclass which many people will never meet. I suppose this reflects the number of people one has come into contact with over a period of years. The off-beat characters and their environment hover around, Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,' Charles Bukowski's world and sad backgrounds described by Graham Greene. As I remarked once before, I see them all in some unpainted visual by Edward Hopper.

Most important are that your characters are such that each one has the potential to raise tension and introduce conflict; not in the usual confrontational way but in everyday behaviour such as 'That's my chair you're sitting in; You said this/that; the really simple everyday events that we all experience and sometimes end up as full blown problems. Your MC, Willy, at times gives us a great depth and understanding of his world which begs the question, 'Who's crazy?' But your main achievement is the 'fantasy' portrayal of Mr Winkley who is – a cat! Not just any old cat but one who is sometimes friendly, sometimes aggressive and has a way of passing on messages/hints to those he wants to. This combination of harsh reality and fantasy is terrific, simple and offers infinite potential.

I've already remarked on ways which I think can progress and develop the story so will not repeat what we have discussed over the past four weeks. It's obvious to me now that although there is a lot to be said for reading just the first few chapters and commenting, to find someone who is prepared and committed to a whole MS is invaluable and probably a rare occurrence.

Last of all Kevin, thanks for all the work you have put into reading and commenting on my book, from the comma, apostrophe and spelling to long discussion on complex issues and inconsistencies relating to chronology and...

Chris. Sorting it Out.

wekabird3 wrote 552 days ago

Feedback 2. 23/01/13.

Hi Kevin,
Carrying on from last feedback. Just for info, the UK correct terminology is 'Learning Difficulties-Social model,' or 'Learning Disability, medical model.'
LP. I notice you have worked on this. Am still unsure regarding the 'investigation.' I'm assuming there would be some kind of enquiry, either Coroners Office or Police or both. Maybe the Colonel has doubts about the findings and could take it on himself to make his own investigation...something like that.
However, in relation to the SP/LP they are mainly to satisfy requirements of Authonomy. (In my opinion they can be a useful tool in making the author locate/focus the story). But it's the story that is important. The SP/LP has the role of attracting the potential reader.
I still think the last para of your LP is great.

Chapter 3. (Your writing is polished so mainly I will offer suggestions as to tightening the story up).
1). I know that Willy is speaking but the sentence 'She unlocked the three locks etc. Three things:
a). Maybe, she freed the locks etc.
b). Maybe, replace the first AND with a comma. 'the three locks, opened the door.
c). Would she ask 'who's there?' before freeing the locks?

2). 'The truth is...' I like this sentence because it shows that Willy has positive mental attributes.
3). Practical Issue here. It would take longer than 10 minutes to remove hinges, find somewhere to work on door, deepen rebates etc. However, as we discussed before, this 10 minutes may be Willy's immediate response. Just a point. As an afterthought, the reader should be able to work out the latter so maybe ignore. There is a lot of depth in this story. I feel that I ought to write out a profile of Willy and pin it behind my screen.

4). I note the Thunderbird. I used to drink it. And Night Train, and settled brasso. All cheapo stuff. (In the UK).

5). Your depiction of the characters is simple and allows me to visualise and, to some extent, understand them.

6). Cat's in my room. (I thought Francine had taken him to her room?).

Chapter 4.
1). I wonder how many people recognise the truth/reality regarding 'the hanging of the coat?'

2). When Willy picked up the table were the glasses and dishes on it?

3). The observation regarding the Bluebird? Fantastic.

Chapter 5.
'Mr Wrinkley went to sleep.. Maybe try for an smoother link to the next para. Where the words Mr Wrinkley was in the hall, meowing. I had to read it twice. Maybe something to do with the tenses. IT'S locked vs Mr Wrinkley WAS.

Kevin. It's obvious that you have polished this up to a high standard and I'm not going to find many examples of how to suggest improvements – which is great.
In my opinion you have captured the general conditions both physical and mental of the downbeat characters and of where they live. Your prose comes over as 'beautiful descriptions.' Maybe more so if the reader has' met' some of those characters. I visualise a kind of 'Hopper' canvas.
It really stands out (at present) that Willy has another intelligent/observational side to him. How he uses this will unfold.

I am more than happy to carry on with this as I find it captivating.

Having said that, I will put it on my bookshelf.

Chris. Sorting it Out.

Andrew Esposito wrote 558 days ago

In a Cat's Eye is mystery full of quirky, interesting characters. I really liked the 'chatty' dialogue, written clearly and stamped with the character's personality. It has a Nathaniel West ring to me, with a setting that is reminiscent of a bygone era. I liked Willy and I liked the how the reader learns more about the principle characters from various conversations of the 'residents'. The over-all feel of the plot to me was one of sadness. The story is full of broken people with ailments and flaws, trying to cope with life or trying to promote an outlook that is false to bolster self-esteem. Francine is one tragic example. Willy fits a now long tradition of flawed characters with redemptive traits crafted by writers like Steinbeck and Salinger. Kevin, I think a lot of thought and planning has been undertaken to create an engaging storyline that is simplistic on the surface, yet deep with social issues. I've rated In a Cat's Eye highly with stars and I wish you much success. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

Seringapatam wrote 558 days ago

Kevin. This is excellent. I would just write a book about characters if I was you...You have a brilliant descriptive voice and the way you chose to describe the depth of these characters at a time when you wanted to get the reader even more involved is genious and will serve you proud in whatever book you write. I loved this style of writing and give this full marks. I could get lost in this book anytime. So well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R). Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you. Happy New Year. Sean

wekabird3 wrote 558 days ago

In A Cat's Eye. By Kevin Bergeron. 17/01/13.

Hi Kevin, As one ex-machinist/toolmaker said to the other...Anything I note you can take with a pinch of salt. For me, it's about being able to improve the story/book. So, here goes.

SP. Okay.

LP.
1). Location on the edge of society. That statement gets me thinking. Although not a physical description it could be anywhere in/around the town or city. Gives the reader lots of imaginative scope.
2). 'Three friends, a mentally challenged...' I used to have lots of contact with social services and the super-political correct language jars with me. It's like describing an obese person as being horizontally challenged etc. (just MY opinion).
3). At the moment I am unsure about the reason for the 'investigation.'
4). I like the last para. This is, for me, the draw.

Chapter1.
1). What do you mean by nice?
2). What are a 'lot' of friends?
3). 'Legs down for her...' (a little jarring here. Maybe: to suit her/comfort or something.).
4). 'and furry slippers..' (Maybe: knees: feet stuffed into furry slippers..)
5). You use 'always' twice in para 2.
6). Maybe do a frequency count on WAS words.
7). 'I fixed the rabbit ears?' Don't know what that means. (UK).
8). Maybe when using the second FIX, try another word.
9). Same with SAT.
10). AH! Apologies. I have reached para beginning: 'I never liked Roy..' I can now see and recognise Willy therefore many of the above comments are inappropriate because this is the way Willy thinks and speaks.. I should have remembered the LP info. However, I will leave the above comments because it has taken me this far to recognise the individual styles of your characters.
11). I like the way he returns to the soup.

Okay. Having read this chapter, I believe you have the words used by the speakers, spot on. You are writing as people speak which is great so, I'll go to chapter 2 and probably a lot less comments as I now see what the book's style is. Finally, at this point I have a great empathy with Willy and Elsie.

Chapter 2.
1). 'Some guy tried to jump me...' Good introduction to one aspect of Willy's mental state (paranoia).
2). 'I headed back...' Another great para re his mental state. Both the above paras create an vision of pathos.

I'm going to stop here Kevin because this may be the kind of feedback you don't want. (I only get about one in five return reads and sometimes no acknowledgement at all).
Now, after reading previous comments left by readers, I notice you have plenty of positive feedback so I will try not to duplicate.
I think your depiction of Willy is first class, especially so if the reader is close to someone like Willy. I would definitely read on because somewhere along the line his 'other mental abilities' are going to 'complete the man.' This obviously raises questions regarding who is mentally unstable and who isn't and lots of other issues relating to human behaviour. Interesting.

Hope this is useful,

Chris. Sorting it Out.

Michael Matula wrote 565 days ago

Excellently done. A great, understated sense of humor, and a really likeable, quirky protagonist. I laughed out loud a few times in the first two chapters, and there was some terrific, zippy dialogue on display in the scene with Willy and Elsie. I also loved the exchange with Willy and Mr. Winkley, although I'm still trying to decide if I'm just really clueless, or if I wasn't supposed to know that Mr. Winkley was actually a cat. (Looking at the Long Pitch, I'm a bit concerned it's the former.)

I didn't have many critiques to mention, as the writing seemed very clean and polished to me. Two lines in the opening paragraph (“The Morpheum was a nice hotel.” and “I had a lot of friends there.”) didn't quite grab me right off the bat. I wanted a bit more from them, though this is probably just personal preference, and other readers will likely feel differently. Also, after he leaves in chapter 2, I felt like some of his actions--like wandering around town, and getting knocked into the river--were a bit too rushed. This could be fine, as it seems to be for comedic effect (and I did find it funny that he gets dumped into the river so casually), but I did wonder a bit why some details were included if they were being glossed over.

Overall, I thought this was a really fun book so far, and a pleasure to read.
High stars.

Mike
Arrival of the Ageless
What, the Elf?

Cathy Hardy wrote 568 days ago

This is a wonderful piece of work. Reading on, I find I need to know what happens next, as it is so gripping. Hope you get it published. xx

Thomassino wrote 590 days ago

I read this style a long time ago, it's a little vague, short on description and you spring Stanley on us as if we know him already, and then we find out about the cat.

It took some time to get used to your style and I think that after a little polishing here and there and a few additions for clarity this could turn out to be a real head slapper - a good mystery, in other words.

Best of luck with this.

Sneaky Long wrote 595 days ago

Hey Kevin,
I like your story so far. You have described your characters and environment very well. I can see everything; a good thing. Because Nancy seems the most innocent among the crew; she has to be the one to die. But you describe her so well and make her so vulnerable; I DON'T WANT HER TO DIE! But then we have to have a story, don't we? You captured my interest and kept it. Good job!

Nit-pics First paragraph, ..."some us who'd..." should be "some of us who'd" you wrote "Willy, has Roy..." You should drop 'Willy" since it is Willy talking. You wrote "I figured that Nancy felt..." Don't need 'that'. You wrote, "... trouble with one arm that he didn't..." Perhaps consider dropping 'that' and replace with semi-colon. "...trouble with one arm; he didn't... I am a 'that' addict and tend to overuse it. Perhaps, when you next edit, you might consider if you need as many 'thats' as you have. The next paragraph is a good example; you write "I'll tell that Roy he had better stay away from her if he knows what's good for him," I said. I never did like that Roy. Perhaps instead, "I'll tell Roy he had better stay away from her if he knows what's good for him." I never did like Roy. (That's all I'm going to say about "that".)

You write in the third chapter, "...the hinges and receipts I told you about." Are you speaking to the reader? If you are, you should delete it. We are watching the story. We don't know that you know we are here and we shouldn't.

I thought the end of chapter 3 was a little lame. You might want to make it more realistic. Nancy has already agreed the door is fine, so when Willy says "Right now?" Nancy only has to respond, "Give me a few minutes to freshen up." or she might want to give a time "Give me ten minutes."

These are suggestions. You have a good story brewing. I know Nancy is going to get killed but I hate it. She's nice and I wish I could get to know her better.

For now, high stars and watch list. Good luck with your story.

Sneaky Long

Jane Mauret wrote 596 days ago

Hello, Kevin
I read the whole of this book after seeing it promoted in the Site Blog.
It is the only time I have read a whole book here and I have to say I did not want it to end.
I loved the voice of Willy which was mesmerizing and innocent all at once.
I liken this writing to stories by Ruth Rendell that are not out and out murders as per Inspector Wexford.
She often writes like this, where inner self-talk leads the narrative.
Like her, you have produced a slightly off-centre character, whose thinking is sometimes skewed, but they have a goal and they are going to achieve it, no matter what.
I could picture all the eccentric characters very vividly via your expert use of a few words and their dialogue (so plenty of showing over telling).
I can't understand why there are not more backers; how can we get word out!
I did not notice any grammar or punctuation issues which is great, as often good writing is spoilt by sloppy presentation.
I hope you are now writing a further book and I look forward to the opportunity of reading it.
Thanks and bye for now.
Jane Mauret
I CAN LAUGH - NOW!

Stark Silvercoin wrote 598 days ago

In a Cat's Eye is an amazingly well-told, old fashion mystery with lots of modern pizzazz and flair making it anything but old in style. What can be more classic than a locked room puzzle? How about adding in some quirky main characters who step up to the plate when the police refuse to act? Did I mention that one of this motley crew is a cat?

In truth, author Kevin Bergeron has added several dark and serious moments in the story, but these are punctuated with a sort of dry humor that brings everything back to an even keel. There is great balance in the book, so the reader is able to follow the crescendos of the story quite naturally, just like real life.

Characterization is key with any story, and probably more so in mysteries, with readers wanting to be amazed by the detective. Only here, we don’t have a Sherlock Holmes, we have some well-fleshed out characters with serious character flaws. This is a more modern way to tell a story, and today’s readers will readily identify with it.

The only suggestion I might have is to add more period detail to give the setting as much flavor as the characters. In this way, the setting and the time frame can become almost like a character of its own. I know this is supposed to be the 60’s, but I got a much older feel when I read it. Your chosen time-frame works just fine, but bring forward more details about it up-front, like an episode of Dragnet or Adam-12 would do, so readers don’t craft a different look of The Morpheum in their minds only to have to rebuild it a bit later.

Mystery books with quirky characters are white hot right now, and In a Cat’s Eye is as good as anything I’ve pulled off the shelf recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergeron is able to capitalize on the pending success of this novel to carve out a niche of eccentric not-quite-mysteries in the future. I think once Cat’s Eye is published, that would be a workable plan for this talented newcomer.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

patio wrote 612 days ago

We watched TV with the sound off...giggles

But seriously, this is a sad but beautiful story with a brilliant opening chapter. I was hooked from the start.

Max stars but still reading

levielm wrote 618 days ago

Kevin, I give. Stuck in the great short sentences that pack a punch with the ability to draw characterization a of people and scenes. At first, I balked at the style and voice, but on repeat readings, I find your style vaguely reminiscent of Hemingway.

Much of your mastery in building a story lies in your ability to give readers the stark and simple effect of words and sentences built on a straight and simple platform. You show skill in descriptions of scene and character. Your dialogue usage is stellar, maybe at time a bit much for me, but hey, it's your story.

Other writers should take note of how you build sentences.... Note, no superfluous, crafty, over-the-top, flowered, noun-zapping adjectives or verb-killing adverbs.

Nicely done. I am adding you to my Zinger list in the Recommend a manuscript forum. JK.

Sharda D wrote 619 days ago

Hi Kevin,
A return read for your support of ‘Outsiders’. Thanks again.

I liked your pitch, but perhaps a few more paragraph breaks wouldn’t go amiss. It also seems to give too much away, perhaps a shorter pitch which just teases the reader to open the book, rather than one which summarises too much of the plot.

I like the narrative voice, a convincingly deep POV and a very likeable main character in Willy.

I love Elsie! What a great character. I could really hear her voice and see her too.

Fantastic dialogue throughout. I read the first three chps. But I felt it was slightly too dialogue-heavy. Some more description of the settings would be good (in the wonderful voice of your main character, Willy, everything seen through his eyes would really add something). Also felt you needed a few more smells, sounds etc, to help to draw your reader into your world.

A wonderfully written story, Kevin, I really enjoyed this and will keep it on my WL for further reading. Will also think about a future backing when I have some more space on my shelf.
6 stars from me.
Sharda.


Mr Echols wrote 621 days ago

My Dear Kevin,

I've backed this story for some time, and I think it's high time I came clean on why! My apologies for writing this so late - I wanted to wait until I had enough time to do the story justice.

What can I compliment that hasn't been said already? A sleepy, laconic tone? Check. Elements of detective noir and, as KayChristina notes, a whiff of Tennessee Williams, or Harper Lee? Check. Clever mentally challenged POV which hides some facts from us in plain sight? Check, and check.

I think, at its heart, this is a very sad story. It's almost as if there is no real mystery to be solved - and everyone in the Morpheum knows it, but they allow Willy to conduct his 'investigation' almost as part of his grieving process. That does not mean I didn't smile and chuckle frequently while reading In a Cat's Eye. Your wry, offbeat selection of down and out lodgers all had charming and distinctive voices, who argue, as we all do, about the strangest and pettiest things.

But all these fine words don't really help unless I can give you some useful critique. I think there are a number of 'tension points' in the narrative that aren't followed to their maximum potential - more left as fraying loose ends. The first are the nasty scenes of Willy almost burning the cat's eye out with the cigarette, and his sense of guilt making him believe he is the murderer. This is never manipulated by others or forced to any form of crisis. The second is Willy falling under Roy's spell, and acting as his lackey for a while. It seemed Willy never did anything truly terrible, or was forced into making an uncomfortable decisions for Roy or against him - Roy's influence just seemed to peter out. Similarly, I was expecting an excruciating grilling at the hands of the police officer - but Willy seems to be let off the hook almost immediately. I feel that these three elements have the potential to be combined into a real edge of your seat third arc - which would make Willy's maturation and peace of mind at the end of the story all the sweeter if he has to struggle just a little more to get there.

So good luck with this fine story sir - I'll be backing you all the way to the editor's desk.

Regards,
Gitano Dragonetti

Andrea Taylor wrote 631 days ago

This was mesmerising from the start. Dialogue really good and the descriptions were lightly but expertly handled. Can't see why this shouldn't make the ED! I have put it on my bookshelf. Good luck with it.

c.carrig wrote 634 days ago

I have read the first chapter of your work. I enjoyed the voice used, it creates a familiarity with the protagonist that allows you to invest in what they say and feel.

You obviously have genuine talent and I enjoyed reading the opening of this slightly gothy thriller!

dlfowlernovels wrote 635 days ago

Great story, great characters, great writing. You have obviously worked hard at your craft. 6 stars!

ShirleyGrace wrote 641 days ago

Kevin:
Poverty...near hopelessness...survival...escape. I like the way you share your characters. I could 'see' the landlady sitting there in her chair giving advice. I like the way the cat takes almost human qualities. I kept getting the feeling I was watching a play. It's true down to earth writing with a lot of grit. High stars from me and more later.
Shirley Grace
The Devil's Stepchild

John Philip wrote 642 days ago

I do not have time to read the complete book right now but I certainly hope to return to it later ,as it is the kind of story I like to see through to the end. Meanwhile I have contented myself with dipping into the story, to see if the style and momentum are maintained and, as far as I am concerned, it passes both tests. You have a good writing style, with just the right amount of dialogue. Not too much descriptive stuff which tends to slow down a work of this genre. Altogether a well rounded and well thought through piece of writing.
John Philip

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