A 9 minute cautionary tale written and read by Keith Jahans
Writing medical or techno thrillers requires a great deal of background knowledge. But it has not got to be comprehensive as science is evolving constantly. As soon as a scientific discovery is published it can already be out of date.
There are advances that are fundamental science such as the now established structure of DNA which has lead to the identification of individuals (microbes, plants, animals and humans) through genetic fingerprinting. A number of crime writers get round having to deal with modern scientific forensic techniques by setting their stories in the past, usually before the 1960s when genetic analysis was not fully developed. Even today separate forensic laboratories in various countries use different methodologies and these will change over time.
Novelists and short story writers have the perfect get out if the science described in their work is incorrect or outdated in that it really is only fiction. But what they must ensure if they wish their work to satisfy the expectations of their readers is that it has to be believable.
I read a great deal and fit my reading around the time I devote to writing and promoting my own books. I review books I have read on my own blog at http://wordpress.peatmore.com. Most of the books I now read are written by lesser known writers. As a writer myself, I know a positive review can give a boost to someone’s confidence and even help promote their work. Most of those I read are talented at what they do and deserve a wider audience.
Writing is a lonely business so the mere fact that it is obvious that your work has been read and somebody has taken the trouble to write about it is a reward in itself. But a bad review may have the reverse effect in which case the writer must be philosophical about it. The fact that not everybody is going to like your work is a fact everyone working in creative art is aware of so a few poor reviews amongst many should be expected. Most authors even those who have become quite famous have had their work rejected at some point, myself included, when trying to follow the traditional path to publication. Rejection is part of the job.
Many of the books I have reviewed have been written by people I have met and some have been by those I consider as friends. The question then arises about how objective I should be and the short answer is that I should be objective as possible. After all, I am reviewing the work not the person who wrote it. I find that most of what I read turns out to be extremely enjoyable, some not so, so the extent of my enjoyment is reflected in my review. But if I think that a piece of writing is particularly bad, instead of writing about it, I will point out my concerns privately and don’t publish the review. This may be considered to be a copout but I know how soul destroying completely negative criticism can be.
I think now is the time for me to share with you the worst review I have received and have pasted it below.
Wasted time and money on this crappy short “book”. I wish I paid more attention to the description
This is pretty damming but I assure you that I have received many more excellent reviews – honest. But you can judge for yourself by checking out my books on my website at www.peatmore.com.
Previously posted as Guest Blog for Jagged Edge Reviews on 23 May 2018
This is a well crafted thriller with a supernatural theme.
The narrative describes the hunt for a hidden painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It spans countries and time zones and follows the fortunes of the main protagonists, art historian Angela Renatus and art detective Alex Caine.
Angela has several hallucinations, the first of which sends her spinning across time to when Da Vinci first created the painting. Alex also experiences hallucinations, but these are clearly linked to Angela’s and are not so intense. Angela’s part of the story opens at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where she was working for the director, Albert Scordato who has been abusing her and becomes the central villain of the narrative. Scordato has been secretly videoing her, witnesses the hallucinations and realises she may be a link to finding the missing painting which being by Da Vinci is worth a fortune.
The hallucinations are also witnessed by Alex, who falls in love with Angela and persuades her to leave the Getty and come with him to Italy to unravel the mystery behind her hallucinations. Scordato follows, recruiting henchmen along the way, with the intention of ceasing the painting and doing the protagonists harm.
The author gets the feel of the different time zones in story right. The dialogue used by the characters in the past times may not be strictly accurate, but this does not matter as it describes how they must have reacted and felt at the time the actions take place. Belle Ami has obviously done a great deal of research about Da Vinci and the Renaissance. She seems to know the period well. The love she has for the art of this time clearly comes across in the book and made me want to revisit what I already knew about Da Vinci and the time in which he lived. I am not so sure that the description of events in Florence during World War II ring as true. But I will need to research that period myself to be sure of its accuracy.
The hallucinations and the time shifts they cause are expertly described. The love scenes between Angela and Alex are also very well written. The love they have for each other and food make the story extremely sensuous. The character of Angela is well portrayed and believable. She comes across as impoverished and downtrodden. Alex, on the other hand, seems too good to be true. He is a rich ex-military hero with a liking for fast cars and is an expert in the use of small arms. Sordato appears to be almost a cliché of a James Bond villain. There is nothing wrong with that as I love the James Bond books and films, but I would have liked a bit more originality here.
But despite these minor critisems I enjoyed the story and the originality behind the plot kept me reading right until the end.
This book is technically flawed in that the narrative constantly jumps point of view so that I had to re-read some passages twice in order to understand which character was describing the piece I was reading. But having said that the story worked well and I really enjoyed reading it.
There was a great deal of description on what the characters were wearing, but this was never boring as it was evident that they were obsessed with appearance. The characters themselves were well described and showed that the author had a good understanding about those she wrote and what motivated them. The central narrative centred around Harriet (or Harry as she was mostly referred to) and her chauffeur driving company employing attractive female drivers. Most of the story centred on her and a group of friends who were holidaying in an attractive villa next door to one rented by a famous pop group.
The interaction between the sexy males surrounding the pop group and the gorgeous Harry and her girlfriends was well described. There were several twists in the story which kept me reading to the end.
Published by Nielsen and available
as a paperback and ebook
I received the following message via Linkedin and am posting it below as an example of the challenges faced by independent book sellers.
Jim Hart 1:09 AM
Keith, thank you for being part of my LinkedIn circle. You are one of an
exclusive group who value the written word, art, learning, and
community, a group of thinkers, creators, doers of deeds. I value and
respect you and your connection.
Connye & I founded The Published Page Bookshop for and because of
people like you. For decades we have worked to build a truly unique
“old school” bookstore, where creativity, passion, ideas, and
excitement flow from the shelves and fill the air. Where new authors
are introduced to the public, and old treasures are preserved and
shared with new generations, a place of community. I think we have
succeeded. You can see far more of our shop in pictures and videos by
clicking on the link below.
But our wonderful shop is facing a crisis. Unless we can meet our
mortgage holder’s demands, we are in eminent danger of foreclosure,
and closing the doors of this wonderful bookstore.
Your contribution of $5.00 will help us keep the doors open. And if
you can share this request with your own friends and acquaintances,
We believe it is important to have physical bookstores, where
neighborhoods meet, where children discover the love of books and
reading, where authors and poets can meet and interact with their
readers, where literature and culture fill the air.
If you believe in these things also, we would love to have your help
keeping them alive. Connye and I have invested everything we have
toward those goals. We think they are worth fighting for, and hope you
Far more information about our shop and about Connye and me is shown
on our GoFundMe page:
If you would like to discuss this in person you can reach me by email
My personal cell for text or voice is 817-217-0656
Connye & I both hate to ask for help. If we didn’t believe this shop
was worthy of being saved we would not ask. If you can help, thank
Jim Hart, Owner
I have played games throughout my life. I think that this is the same for most people. I have also followed many sports which is true for many people but not all. Nowadays there is too much money invested in some sports but those sports where it is invested are very selective.
A great deal of invested money is derived from gambling but those that invest do so to make money and are not interested in sport. Some sports have become so money orientated that winning is the be all and end all. I used to follow rugby football but I do not now. The players are so big and bulky that the small fast players I liked to watch in the 1960s and 1970s are no longer evident. There seem to be more injuries these days because as they crash into each other more players are hurt. There was a time when sport was an enjoyable social pastime but sadly this does not seem as apparent as it used to be. But despite this the elements within it still make good story telling.
Whether the game you indulge in is sedentary (Board games, video and computer games) or physically active (football, athletics etc.) the intrinsic element of competiveness is stimulating. I included some of these elements in my novel, Gifford’s Games, written under the penname Jack Lindsey and hope that I have produced a narrative that is enjoyable to read.