j. t. carroll recent comments

written 711 days ago
cherry

Hi,

Finally got the chance to read the first few chapters. You've developed quite a cold-blooded character! It will be interesting to see whether he has any redeeming qualities later in the narrative. My first impression matches what I noticed in a few other comments, that the first chapters lead with a lot of back story. The reader might get hooked quicker if you start with action and supply the back story in smaller amounts. Didn't notice any SPAGs, but I did think that the protagonist is very articulate for someone who didn't pay any attention in school. You've already moved the book up quite well in the rankings, best wishes for even more success!

J. T. Carroll - Bitnapped! view book

written 734 days ago
cherry

Lovely evocative writing! I can see why this book is headed for the editor's review. I did find that the lovely moods and rhythms were interrupted somewhat by the bouncing back and forth in time and POV. You might consider consolidating so there is less of that. Maybe confine each chapter to one time period and one viewpoint. It became especially hard to follow in 2035 when the narrative was "looking back" and the previous section had been in 2009. But all in all, a piece to be proud of and no doubt you will find a publisher's support!

I'd love to know what you think of my book, Bitnapped!, which is much lighter in tone, but also features a strong female protagonist.

regards,
J. T. Carroll
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written 736 days ago
cherry

Great story! I'm up to chapter 6 and have to keep going. I like Eddie and am fully invested in learning who killed the poor widow.

I'd love to know what you think of my book, Bitnapped!

J. T. Carroll view book

written 790 days ago
cherry

Hi Brian,

I don't see your book on the Crime/Thriller reading group, but since it falls in that category, I used that template.

Crime/Thriller and sub genre review group
Title: Mute
Author: Brian Bandell

Wow Factor (Read Speed/Enjoyment)
[8] Speed (Easy/Fast)
[8] Enjoyment
[8] Interest (very good scenes)

Literacy (Editing/Proofing/Structure)
[10] Free of (obvious) Spelling Errors (easy fix)
[8] Free of (obvious) Contextual Grammar Errors (easy edit)
[8] Free of Distracting Dialog

Story
[7] Coherent / Order
[8] Character/Subject Development

Marketing
[6] Cover Design (The girl in the picture looks older than your main character, I would love to see an artist's rendition of a little girl standing in the swamp, where they found her.)
[6] Pitch (It seemed to tell too much of the story. Just the main idea about the girl being traumatized by her parent's murders and the sympathetic officer would have drawn me in.)

Rating: 5 stars

Comments: I enjoyed the first three chapters. It definitely is a book that I would be interested in reading.

There were a few impressions that confused me as I read:

The mention of Melbourne made me think that the story was set in Australia, not the US. Maybe you could add a mention of Florida for readers who are not that familiar with that area of the country.

The first chapter spent quite a bit of effort setting up Kane as a redneck who didn't care about the environment, not sure whether he comes back later in the story, if not, it would probably increase the suspense in the first chapter if he weren't such a focus. And, just reading chapters one through three, it felt funny that one and two concentrate on the murders and introducing the child and Moni, but then three goes to completely new characters and a sub-theme of environmental issues with the turtle. (You can totally ignore this comment if Kane re-appears in later chapters and the Professor and his student do as well.)

A few sentences/paragraphs were structured such that I had to re-read them to be sure of the meaning:

"They had wrapped their nearest arms around their waists." clearer as, "Their arms were wrapped around each other's waists." or something to that effect.

The description of the grandmother at the funeral ends with the sentence "The sight had hammered home her abscence." Which sight, the sight of the grandmother at the funeral home, or the two bodies floating?

Also, would someone finding bodies floating and obviously dead touch them like he does to turn them over? Wouldn't they realize that they could be disturbing forensic evidence? Then when he drops the body back, he apparently realizes it is a serial killer, but the transition to how he knows (from playing cards with the Sheriff) could flow better.

Overall, an enjoyable read! As you see by my ratings, I definitely think it is publishable, based on these first three chapters. Hopefully my comments are of some use, ignore them if you think others won't have the same impressions.

J. T. Carroll view book

written 795 days ago
cherry

Another well-written chapter! I loved how the suspense is building.

J. T. Carroll (Bitnapped!) view book

written 797 days ago
cherry

I really enjoyed the opening chapter! It was well-written and interesting. It made me care about Jessup and what would happen to him. Just a couple of very, very small nits that tripped me up when reading:

- Dad and I used to fish ... (spend instead of spent)
- Suddenly the TV screen bulged like a partially-inflated balloon (and instead of as?) view book

written 817 days ago
cherry

Chapter 1 sets a great scene. It was interesting, quick-moving, and compelling--A great setup for a mystery. The following suggestions represent areas where I hit roadblocks that made me stop. Hopefully, you'll find some of them useful. Some are SPAG errors, others are suggestions to make a better flow.

1) First sentence, remove apostrophe from it's, which stands for it is, not possessive.
2) "Following "the" visit, instead of "a" visit?
3) What's he talking about (?), thought Phil. Later, you use italics to show Phil's thoughts.
4) It's not clear whether Phil is reading from a sheet of directions or remembering.
5) Slick had said "cross ... - This shouldn't be italicized.
6) he wished he'd of just (remove of) This also begs the question of why he didn't use a GPS if the car had one, it makes the reader wonder about the whole premise of the book. Why not have him drive an older model car that didn't have one? Or have it broken?
7) He wouldn't pull onto the side of the "road" - he's on a street. Just pulled over is sufficient or pulled to the curb.
8) It doesn't make sense that he would "hear the explosion of crashing glass" going off "inside his head" the explosion of crashing glass sounded loudly, as if it came from inside his head
9) "and held an arrogant tone" doesn't flow well. demanding, with an arrogant tone of confidence.
10) "his face was large and ovular" oval is better, don't think ovular is a word.
11)"made him think he would be spared or shot, one or the other" What other choices are there? Better to have Phil wonder whether he would be spared or shot.
12) "one quick scratch off sound" This is the point you want the reader to really understand what's going on. "Phil's car took off with a screech of tires" or something like that.
13) The paragraph that begins "The next thing Phil saw" needs more punch. Phil, in shock, had trouble processing what he was seeing. A body flew ....
14) the sentence about why the taillights came on is long and awkward.
15) "his adrenaline" "Phil's adrenaline" Don't make the reader guess who is being described.

I'll stop my comments here. If you appreciate them and would like more, contact me. I think that with a bit of polishing, you could move this book up in the ratings.


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written 817 days ago
cherry

Chapter 1 sets a great scene. It was interesting, quick-moving, and compelling--A great setup for a mystery. The following suggestions represent areas where I hit roadblocks that made me stop. Hopefully, you'll find some of them useful. Some are SPAG errors, others are suggestions to make a better flow.

1) First sentence, remove apostrophe from it's, which stands for it is, not possessive.
2) "Following "the" visit, instead of "a" visit?
3) What's he talking about (?), thought Phil. Later, you use italics to show Phil's thoughts.
4) It's not clear whether Phil is reading from a sheet of directions or remembering.
5) Slick had said "cross ... - This shouldn't be italicized.
6) he wished he'd of just (remove of) This also begs the question of why he didn't use a GPS if the car had one, it makes the reader wonder about the whole premise of the book. Why not have him drive an older model car that didn't have one? Or have it broken?
7) He wouldn't pull onto the side of the "road" - he's on a street. Just pulled over is sufficient or pulled to the curb.
8) It doesn't make sense that he would "hear the explosion of crashing glass" going off "inside his head" the explosion of crashing glass sounded loudly, as if it came from inside his head
9) "and held an arrogant tone" doesn't flow well. demanding, with an arrogant tone of confidence.
10) "his face was large and ovular" oval is better, don't think ovular is a word.
11)"made him think he would be spared or shot, one or the other" What other choices are there? Better to have Phil wonder whether he would be spared or shot.
12) "one quick scratch off sound" This is the point you want the reader to really understand what's going on. "Phil's car took off with a screech of tires" or something like that.
13) The paragraph that begins "The next thing Phil saw" needs more punch. Phil, in shock, had trouble processing what he was seeing. A body flew ....
14) the sentence about why the taillights came on is long and awkward.
15) "his adrenaline" "Phil's adrenaline" Don't make the reader guess who is being described.

I'll stop my comments here. If you appreciate them and would like more, contact me. I think that with a bit of polishing, you could move this book up in the ratings.


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written 817 days ago
cherry

I enjoyed reading this first chapter, it definitely pulled me in and made me want to read more. It's my favored style of writing, crisp, yet rich. I hope you won't mind me explaining which pieces made me pull up and took away from my enjoyment:

1) The opening short phrases provide a great opening, but once you get into the first paragraph, I want to know from whose viewpoint this is written. A simple addition of "My" to the first sentence in the second paragraph would do that.

2) "the breath fast exhales" doesn't read smoothly, nor is it consistent with "a twisting in "my" side. IAgain, I think that you need another pronoun in this sentence. Perhaps something like "I can't re-gain my expelled breath"

3) "a twisting in my side that gathers strength" doesn't flow or fit with the previous way you've been describing things. Perhaps something like "the twisting in my side increasing as if I'd been stabbed and an unseen hand was twisting the knife."

4) The last sentence in this first paragraph was a real stopper for me. It doesn't flow. Perhaps something like
"At below freezing, the shiver of my lips spreads through my body, as if to hasten my transition to a corpse.

5) Fourth paragraph, end first sentence after trigger. Remove and, start the next sentence with "Instead, I". At the end of this sentence "weighs heavier in my mind than the (add gun) in my hand.

I'll stop here, but if you appreciate this type of comment and would like more, contact me. As I said, I think this could be really good, after only reading the first chapter. But, you have a lot of missing pronouns, and some rough sentence structures. I'd be glad to help with. view book

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