It has been, um, a while since I last posted (three years, oy vey!) so I will reignite the blog with a few unexpected but welcome compliments I got while preparing my novel, APPREHENSION, for publication. Which occurs at the end of this month. It’s on Amazon now, in ebook form, but won’t transmit till July 30.
This is a review of APPREHENSION by Kirkus Reviews. I asked Kirkus to review my manuscript before publication because, for one thing, I was curious what someone thought of it who was not a relative or close personal friend, my beta readers. For another, Kirkus is known for concise synopses of books, short recitations of major plot points, and writing a synopsis for prospective agents and publishers was kicking my a… presenting challenges.
The review also presented some unforeseen challenges of its own. One agent I sought to hire all but called me a liar for having a review of an unpublished work. You’d think an agent would know about this.
Anyway, from Kirkus: (SPOILER ALERT, but mostly for the first chapter so the rest is still good)
Over the course of four bad days, a good cop finds everything he holds dear at risk in this debut novel.
John Kelly, an eight-year veteran of the Alexandria, Virginia, police force, has been in something of a downward spiral over the past year since Emma, his niece, was slaughtered in front of him by a man named Edward Falkner (Note: name changed to Pickett in the final version. MB) The killer would later die in prison, robbing Kelly of closure in the case. Haunted by his inability to protect Emma, and shunned by his embittered brother, Kelly is now estranged from his wife, Janet, and bound for divorce. “He felt good only because he was a cop,” Janet tells one of his colleagues. “But less lately.” How much less? Kelly counts the ways, including the unraveling of a seemingly open-and-shut parental abduction case in which the father was going to sell his 8-year-old son to a pedophile. Also in jeopardy: Kelly’s new and redemptive romantic relationship with an assistant public defender. Most critically, a reckless and shocking act of violence could have repercussions in a possibly related infant rape case and send him to prison. Kelly is the compelling “A” story, but this tale expands Crash-like to interweave subplots, including a veteran patrolman teaching a recruit in training the facts of cop life, and a case focusing on a teenage drug dealer who believes voodoo will set him free. There’s also a female officer to whom what happens after she is involved in a justified shooting is a real crime. Bergin, a former reporter and a policeman, writes with authority and empathy about cops. He flirts with cliché but doesn’t fully step over the line. The bureaucratic red tape and legal obfuscations are maddening. “Are you in Disneyworld?” an attorney for the city tells Kelly. “We don’t tell the truth in court. We tell little bits we are allowed to. We tell snippets that we can get away with, that are admissible, that are connected. We avoid things that are inflammatory or suggestive because they could be considered unfair.” While there are a few typos (for example, “hadgun” instead of handgun), these are minor infractions.
A gritty and authentic new voice in police fiction.
There it is. Let me know what you think. And let me know if you agree when you read the book. Amazon would like to hear, too, if you liked it. Enough good reviews, I get a toaster or something. If you didn’t, tell me directly, because I am working on the next and you can help me make it better.
I won’t be away so long from now on.
PS: I corrected the typo. MB