Book Review – Book Cover Design Formula by Anita Nipane

June 23, 2018

I was invited to download a review pdf copy of this guide by the author and I was most certainly glad I did.  The book cover is usually the first feature to draw a potential reader’s attention.  It is therefore essential to make it as appealing as possible to the eye while at the same time capturing the essence of what the book is about.  It is one of the hardest ingredients of the book to get right.

Mainstream writers will probably employ a professional designer but for the self publisher this investment will mostly prove too expensive.  Some are lucky in that they may know of a student going through Art College who will produce an acceptable cover at a low fee, or even for free, for a chance to include it in their CV.  Others might know of a family member or friend who is willing to do this for them cheaply or again for free.  There are also cut price offers online from sites such as Fiverr.  But often the cover they produce will not be of good quality.  The alternative is to attempt to do it yourself which invariably leads to a mess.  But this book guides the do-it-your-self publisher through the process while pointing out the pitfalls of such an approach along the way.

I was fortunate to acquire the guide when I was about to launch my forthcoming novel, “Magic Bullets”.  I am most glad I did but only time and the comments I expect to receive from those who follow my work will allow me to reflect accurately whether I made the right choice.  However, I do know that the final cover choice was down to me and not the fault of this guide or its author.  I thoroughly recommend it for any writer even those who employ professional help as it will prove invaluable in choosing between the various designs such a professional might come up with.

Keith Jahans


Available on Amazon’s Kindle Store.

 

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Book Review – Quota by Jack Bold

June 11, 2018

A frightening account of what could happen in a future society.

Jack Bold is the penname for the writing partnership of Brian Bold and Jackie Green.  The authors have put together an excellently crafted novel.  The characters are believable and, as in the case of all good narratives, drive the plot.  The story centres on the activities of one family living in an all too credible dystopian world where people have the length of their lifespan determined by the government.

The scientific basis for the increase in dementia as being due to consuming meat from cloned GM cattle was sketchy as was the case of these animals having a mild case of mad cow disease.  Dementia is a health problem in the developed world and it might have been better that the authors left it as that and not speculated on its cause.

Despite this minor point, I found the tale completely absorbing and my desire to discover how the central characters would fare kept me reading right to the end.

Keith Jahans

 

Quota is published by Amazon CreateSpace


Book Review – Worst-Case Scenario: a short story by Paul Falk

May 29, 2018

All life on earth is doomed to be destroyed by an approaching asteroid.  This is the scenario depicted by Paul Falk and described mostly in the first person by narrator, James Stone.  When the impending doom is announced by television media wholesale panic ensues and the frightening situation Stone finds himself in leads him to take desperate measures.

It is possible the story can be thought as an indictment of modern day gun carrying American society.  I don’t think the method used to switch to a different point of view at the end of the story worked.  But I did sympathise with the central character and my concern for his welfare, and those closest to him, kept me absorbed to the end.

Keith Jahans


Available at Amazon Kindle Store for $1.34 / £0.99


Book Review – Caged by Paul Falk

May 26, 2018

This is a novella written in the first person.  The story reads like an official report.  But this is okay as the protagonist, Jack Toback, is a government servant brought up through the ranks of a USA prison service.  He makes some small attempts at humour, which though few, fit into his personality.

He is put in charge of a revolutionary correctional facility run by robots and there is a great deal of description about their development and how they work.  Although the narrative is set in the future it is very relevant to the current time as the use of electronic technology and robots are becoming more integrated into our society.  The story left a number of issues unresolved.  This is not a unique or bad idea as it keeps the reader thinking about the various forces influencing the outcome of the automated prison experiment.

There is certainly potential here to expand the plot further and develop it into a novel or as a series of shorter stories.  The detailed style of writing may not be to everyone’s taste but it locked me in to turning the pages of my Kindle right to the end.  I can recommend it to any lover of dystopian fiction.

Keith Jahans

Caged is available on Amazon’s Kindle Store for $1.40 / £0.99

 


Book Review – Dead Simple by Peter James

April 11, 2018

This is the first book in Peter James’s detective series featuring Roy Grace.  The author has hit on a winning formula as the jacket states that 14 million copies of have been sold of this book alone.  It is certainly a rattling good read for anyone who loves police procedural crime novels.  The plot kept me riveted right to the end with many unsuspecting twists along the way.  Peter James is certainly an expert storyteller.

Keith Jahans

Published in 39 formats and editions and easily found
on Amazon & other major book stores


Book Review – The Assassination of Margret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

April 5, 2018

This is the title story in a collection of shorts by author Hilary Mantel known for her award winning novels about Henry VIII’s “Fixer” Thomas Cromwell.  I have not read these novels but have seen the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall which was the first of the Cromwell stories and it is clear from these that she is a talented storyteller.

The stories in The Assassination of Margret Thatcher collection are expertly written with well crafted descriptions of the characters and the settings in which the action takes place.  But apart from the title story, which is the last in the collection, I found the narratives hard to follow.  However, I am glad I persevered with the stories as short story writing is a difficult art to master and I was intrigued to see how a writer with Hilary Mantel’s reputation went about tackling them.  The collection has received many excellent reviews so it might just simply be that the stories are not to my taste.

Keith Jahans

The assassination of Margret Thatcher is published by Fourth Estate
and is available in hardback, paperback, as an ebook and audiobook


Book Review – Jim Laker: Nineteen for Ninety by Brian Scovell

January 29, 2018

I met the author, Brian Scovell, in November 2015 at the Folkestone Book Festival where I bought a signed copy of this book and, such is the length of my book reading list, it is only now I have managed to read what I found to be a riveting book.

Jim Laker was one of my sporting heroes.  Even though I was born and brought up in Bristol I have lived most of my life in Surrey and have followed the exploits of Surrey County Cricket Club for many years.  Laker plied his trade in a generation of cricketers that preceded those I followed and I only got to know of him from his work as a TV commentator long after he retired as a player.

He seldom appeared on camera but from his manner and through the sound of his voice always appeared to be a gentleman.  It therefore came as a complete surprise that I read that he was banned from Surrey CCC and the prestigious MCC for four and seven years respectively.  This was due to his book, “Over to Me,” which was ghost written shortly after his playing days and criticised a number of prominent men who were instrumental in running national and international cricket at the time.  Laker admitted that he should have been more vigilant in reading the proofs prior to publication but publishers then, as they still do now, relish controversy as this invariably serves to increase book sales.

But it is his expertise as arguably England’s foremost off-spin bowler is how he should be remembered.  His feat of taking 19 test wickets in one game in 1956 was a remarkable achievement and will probably never be surpassed.

This is an adsorbing read for anyone interested in the game.  On first reading the events appear dated but it is the nature of the game of cricket that occurrences similar to those that befell Laker can happen today.

Keith Jahans

 

Jim Laker: Nineteen for Ninety by Brian Scovell
is published in hardback by The History Press