Friday, March 16, 2012

A Grand Murder

Long time readers of this blog know that won't review self published books. After reading A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case I may have to add independent publishers to that list.

Let me say straight off that it's not a bad book. It's a mediocre mystery. The author is pretty good at dialogue and knows it. Most of the book is dialogue. I think that the author can only get better. I thought the characters were interesting and I wouldn't mind reading more about them. One quibble I have is with the tittle of the book. The murder takes place on a street called Grand Avenue Hill. Two scenes take place at the crime scene and it it not mentioned otherwise. The cover pictures a large cup of coffee (the main character drinks a lot of it) which makes me think of a "grande" from Starbucks. If it is supposed to be a play on words it doesn't work for me.

My other nitpick is the geeky tech guy in love with the beautiful and unobtainable detective. Can we do away with that cliche already?

The real problems with this book I lay at the publisher's doorstep. They should have better proof readers and editors. Here are a few of the admittedly nit picky things that bugged me:

Words are missing here and there. For example the word "of" from the phrase "image of success" on page 158.
Plurals for words ending in an "s" are written with an apostrophe and an "s" instead of the now more common apostrophe. Page 114 has "Ridges's" instead of Ridges'.  
The "Ridges" spoken of on pages 114 doesn't show up anywhere else. I suspect the author changed the last name of the victim and used the "find & replace" on her word processor forgetting about the one plural. 
Words the author wanted to stress are underlined like the "I" on page 150. 
Use of a "dash" instead of a hyphen. They're sprinkled all over the place. Page 16 has nine of them. Some words I haven't seen hyphenated in years are hyphenated in this book. Using the dash takes up more than twice the space of a hyphen. It breaks up the writing and is really annoying.

The book is 207 pages long but the type is larger than normal. 207 pages of normal sized print is still a short novel. The price listed on the back of the book is $14.95 USD which would mean it would be about $17.95 CAN. If' I'd paid that much for this book I would have wanted my money back.


I received a review copy of this book.