An interesting review of ‘The Swamps of Jersey’

An interesting review:

The reviewer gave it 2 stars.

LAS Reviewer “The Long and the Short Of It Reviews”

This review is from: The Swamps of Jersey (Kindle Edition)

A broken city flooded under a tropical storm has enough to deal with but when a gruesome murder is added to the mix will the city ever be able to recover from a place of financial ruin? I can’t say this was the most exciting mystery I’ve read, but it was an interesting read that is well written. The author has a way of creating scenes with detailed description so the reader has a good enough visual. The book has a interesting concept, but at times lost my interest. In reading the excerpt I thought the book would be more of a mystery about coverquotes2 the body found in the local swamp, and the investigation in finding the killer. Frankly this book was more about the politics of the town and its financial decay. The characters lacked depth and I just couldn’t find myself connecting. Detective Frank Nagler is on the hunt to identify the person responsible for dumping a young woman’s body in the Old Iron Bog. This isn’t a simple case for Detective Nagler because he ends up uncovering a lot of corruption along with having to confront a past relationship. The story gives great detail, however there are parts where it went overboard. In the first part of the story there are about three or four pages describing the rain, flood and damages to the city of East Ironton. The description was given with such flair I was in awe of the author’s poetic flow in describing such a detail that I could visualize the continuous rain and for a brief moment I could imagine the rhythmic sounds while reading, however it does slow down the story. Though this was a bit different from the suspense I normally read the conclusion was somewhat surprising. I didn’t suspect the killer so I guess this makes for a successful suspenseful read. Though I wouldn’t really call this a mystery, the writing was pleasurable. I would recommend to someone that enjoys reading about town politics and cities with corrupt officials.

MD: Food for thought here. What I found interesting about the review is, first, the reviewer both liked and disliked the same aspects of the book. That’s their right. They thought there was no mystery, but then was surprised by the revealing  of the killer.  As an author trying to improve writing technique, I ask, though, was it not clear enough that the murder in the Old Iron Bog was one part of a broader criminal enterprise, and as such part and parcel of the overall political corruption?  Maybe it wasn’t.

As for the weather description, I felt it was a key to setting the scene. But there is an unwritten rule about opening a story by talking about the weather and I violated that in spades.  On purpose.

Last, this is  not me complaining  I welcome all comments. After three decades in  newspaper business, I find I have developed what Townes Van Zant described in “Pancho and Lefty”: Skin like iron.  Criticism is a chance to learn, so I thank this reader for  taking the time to read the book and thoughtfully reply. With luck they will read “A Game Called Dead” to see if I got better.

About michaelstephendaigle

I have been writing most of my life. I am the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series. "The Swamps of Jersey (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) -- a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Contest; and "The Weight of Living" (2017) -- First Place winner for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest.
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2 Responses to An interesting review of ‘The Swamps of Jersey’

  1. Hi Dee.. thanks. Me, too. It’s like the story wasn’t a mystery, yet they were surprised by who the killer was…isn’t that what a mystery is? It’s like the reviewer who complemented the story for the quality of the writing, but said it had too many descriptions. Take ’em all with a grain of salt. My sympathies with the new King Bewilliam book.. similar .to what I was doing with the second Nagler book. You’ll get it sorted, sure enough.

  2. Dee says:

    The elements that were criticized were the very elements that I thought made the book unique and engaging and memorable.

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