A Cautionary Tale for Writers
Surfing Amazon one day for “Christian mystery” (or some similar keyword) I came across this book about a crime scene cleaner who finds evidence that the police missed – and it was free! I downloaded it, eager to start reading, and went to load it onto my e-reading device.
File is locked with DRM (digital rights management), meaning I couldn’t read it on my Nook (it’s a Kindle/.mobi file), nor on my dad’s Kindle (device registered to him, book registered to me).
Almost a year later, I did finally get to start reading (because AT&T got me a smartphone, long story short)…but needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Gabby St. Claire is a professional crime scene cleaner, and an interesting enough character. The perky go-getter type, with an interest in chemistry and forensics, she uncovers evidence in one of the houses she’s cleaning that seems to shed light on a murder investigation.
She then immediately jumps to a conclusion, and pursues that conclusion through the rest of the book. Most sleuths pursue a mystery: she pursued her conclusion…and guys. Continue reading
The very first of Agatha Christie’s detective stories, Mysterious Affair at Styles was a breath of fresh air – air scented with ancient country mansions, rich but foolish old ladies, a rogues gallery of extended family, poison, wills, minute yet vital clues, and, of course, an intelligent detective to bring it all together. Continue reading
It might seem that to pen a review of literary titaness Jane Austen’s best-known (and possibly best-loved) novel would be presumptuous.
Nevertheless, I shall proceed to gild the lily and explain why, when I finally crossed its threshold several years ago, I found it worthy of every adulation ever laid at its door. Continue reading
Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”
If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.
Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.
As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me. Continue reading
Science. Darkness. Vigilante justice.
Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens allegedly said, “A classic is a book which everyone praises, yet nobody reads.” The inverse is equally applicable, in that a book which everyone is forced to read in high-school English is not, for that reason, a good book.
Published in 1886, A Study in Scarlet is the first story about Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. It introduces the world-famous champion of logic, the private “consulting detective” who specializes in solving sensational cases while patronizing the dumbstruck narrator, Dr. Watson. Continue reading
Human beings are curious creatures, subject to passions of love and hatred, extremes of pride and compassion. A Double Barrelled Detective Story expresses this with curious – yet characteristic – Mark Twain humor.
In this season of buying, selling, celebrating, advertising…I’d like to take a moment to talk about ebooks. The market of ebooks actually reveals some profound facets of our philosophy, and points to the worldview that underlies our actions.
From the prices of ebooks (for which I’ll direct you to Jordan Smith) to DRM (which I’ll explain in detail), how authors and readers interact matters – both to how readers view writers and their works, and to how writers are compensated for the toil and tears they put into creating their book.
In-depth characterization, thoughtful Christianity, and an authentic teenage voice help set this story apart from the other books about lost children and teens finding their way. Continue reading
Quiet, Unassuming Read
Made in Yorkshire: 1964 is exactly what the title says: a story of the life of one boy (Richard Warren) in Ledder Bridge, Yorkshire in 1964. Quiet, yet engaging, it’s a gentle read that nevertheless touches harsh things. Continue reading
The works of G.A. Henty formed a staple of my childhood literary diet, and When London Burned is one of my favorites. Although Henty’s works are strongly formulaic, there’s no denying his formula’s power to create engrossing, rollicking adventures with an undercurrent of history. Continue reading