Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

Murderous Reviews – Black Light – Mal Rivers (2012)

Black Light

This novel could have done with some judicious editing before publication. The use of both ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ in completely the wrong grammatical context is frankly unacceptable. I would also have asked someone who lived in London to read through the first draft since this is not a London I would ever recognise. One of the many murders that occur in this book takes place in ‘a posh hotel in White City’. As I happen to live fairly near I can guarantee that there are no posh hotels in White City. It’s mainly housing estates and kebab shops. It’s also not clear why the author chose to intersperse fictional areas of London with real ones.
To digress for a moment, when I first read the blurb for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I immediately (and I think wisely) dismissed it merely because of the fact that the author had chosen to call her characters Anastasia Steel and Christian Grey. ‘Dark Light’ almost went the same way. Aaron Light, an all round genius, but puzzled by the disappearance of his father, meets Alexa Black, a police-sergeant, when he temporarily becomes a suspect in the murder of the police-chief’s daughter.
Having helped the police with his Holmes-like expertise on a previous occasion, Aaron is asked to consult on this latest case, a series of murders of young people where the message ‘The Fall Children will perish’ is scrawled in blood on the wall.
On the whole, despite the stupid names and the odd view of London, it’s not a bad read, and drags nazi science, clandestine organisations and genetic engineering into the mix. It could do with a decent overhaul though, and some life being blown into some of the minor characters. However, maybe that will be dealt with in the sequels.

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3 responses

  1. Mal

    Hey, I came across this and would like to thank you for actually putting the time in to read the novel. Furthermore, I agree with the rating. Looking back, there was so much more I could have ( and shouldn’t have! ) done.

    Regarding editing, I wish it could have been better, truly I do, but one can only stare at the same passages of text five times over before it becomes thoroughly mundane. I go back to it time after time and still find the odd typo. It’s annoying, but as a self pubber, there’s very little I can do without a professional editor. I for one believe a story can’t be ruined by slight grammatical problems.

    The point about London is fair, although, I only delve to a certain layer when it comes to reality and fiction in terms of names and places. Perhaps the hotel in White CIty is unnecessarily bogus, but I don’t have a problem with it, even now. I do, however, regret making the fictional borough of Greyton. The name doesn’t even appear in the second novel.

    I could defend the character names, as this novel was supposed to be a little bit ‘out there’ but I suppose that’s a matter of opinion.

    Again, thanks for reading. I can only hope you find time for the second.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    • Thanks Mal. I’ve sent you a reply by e-mail, for reasons which are not entirely clear even to me. 🙂

      May 25, 2013 at 12:27 am

      • Haha, only just got it, for whatever reason I must have skipped over it. Thanks for the input, regardless.

        I do plan to go back over Black Light to sort out some of the grammar before I step up to the plate and get some marketing done, which would obviously be a wise move. I’m doubtful that will improve possible reviews, but as you say, it seems like the right thing to do. Although, I doubt I can move myself to give it that ‘overhaul’. Much like Anthony Burgess, I’m quite happy to lament over individual pages, but rewriting a whole book would probably bore me.

        It may get to the stage where I hire a proofreader, even though I can’t really afford to. I’d have to weigh up some figures and try and justify it. Considering I’ve written 3 novels in around 12 months, I believe the cost would be something like £750 for said year, which is more than 10% of my salary ( insert sad downtrodden working man face here ). And that, sadly, is just proofreading, not copy-editing. Considering I go over drafts at least 3 times myself, I have to decide whether £750 is really worth the price to remove a couple handfuls of missing full stops, capitals and the odd homophone here and there. At the moment, probably not, seen as I’m miles away from even making that money back.

        Anyway, sorry for the rant. Keep up the reviews.

        MR

        July 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm

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