Review: Stop Dead by Leigh Russel

This is the first of Leigh Russel’s novels that I have read, and it will probably be the last.
The story was pretty average, the plot struggled to remain credible. I really struggled to keep on reading this novel.
The characters are unremarkable, and Geraldine Steel, for all her success in climbing the police ladder, is pretty boring. The book irritated, because it had to showcase the woman DCI who has succeeded despite the odds, the female sergeant Sam, who, in my opinion, was only in the story to provide the lesbian interest, the inane pathologist, the rather scatter-brained Police Chief, the anti-lesbian colleague, the stolid sergeant from the old patch. All characters who have been done before, and done better. Sam, the sergeant, brings nothing at all to the story, and left me with visions of a petulant child, rather than a professional police person.
The capture scene is rather amateur, the heroic police officer entering the killer’s home against her better judgement, no longer washes, especially since it is not how the Met. would do things.
The mutilation of the victims provided a twist of sorts, but could have been dealt with in a way that shocked more.
The positives were the way that the story moved away from the first suspects, by-passing them as their relevance waned and died. This was realistic, it is how such investigations proceed, and it was well handled in the book.
The most irritating thing about the book was the formatting. The use of the block method for starting new paragraphs was really disconcerting, and on more than one occasion I thought that a new chapter or section was starting, when all that was happening was a new paragraph. On a number of occasions I put the book down in irritation at the poor formatting.
The prose was average, there were a number of grammatical and language errors, all of which should have been caught in editing.
Overall, a very ordinary, unremarkable and stereotypical murder mystery.

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E-Books not the answer

The excitement that e-books generated amongst aspiring authors has pretty largely proven to be unfounded. And it could be thanks to the organisations which supposedly support the new author. To get market share, Amazon, amongst others, promotes the notion of free e-books, and tells new authors that giving their books away helps to promote the author to the reading public. In reality, readers now don’t buy e-books, don’t support new authors, they simply look for the freebies. Amazon looks good in this process, and very few new authors see sales of any significance.

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When I Was Five I Could Fly

My newest book, a memoir called “When I Was Five I Could Fly” is now available to sample and buy on Smashwords by clicking on the following link. My newest book, called “When I Was Five I Could Fly” can be seen and downloaded on Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256289

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NaNoWriMo 2012

‎22000 words written in the NaNoWriMo contest. The story is strong, and developing nicely. 28000 words still to write though!

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Writing Month

November last year saw me write a 50021 word novella in the NanoWriMo contest. I went on to edit and publish the book through Smashwords, and it saw some sales.
It is November again, and I am once again trying to write a novel in 30 days. This time I’m trying fiction.
The first 3 days have gone well, and I have written almost 12000 words, good productivity, but keeping it up will be the true test.

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Avian Parallels

My passion for wild birds is such that I constantly listen to, or watch for them as they go about their daily lives. This passion for my avian freinds has followed me from South Africa to the UK, and it matters not that the birds are different, the need to see and hear them remains.
Back in Africa I knew the sounds and habits of every species that used my garden. The calls of every one, and the behaviour that was associated with the time of day, time of year, weather conditions, were embedded deeply in my psyche. Now, in the UK, the birds are new, the habitats are different, the weather has greater extremes, the gardens lack the size and diversity that is needed to attract many different species. There are far fewer species in the UK compared with my garden back in Durban, South Africa.
But in my little postage stamp of a garden in West Sussex, there are parallels to be drawn with some of the species in Africa.
Blackbirds have replaced the Olive Thrush that hopped around on the ground with head cocked, listening for insect prey under the ground. The Blackbird is a member of the Thrush family, and it behaves in all respects in the same way as the African Thrush.
Summers in Durban were punctuated by the arrival of two species of swallow, the Barn Swallow, migrants from Europe to Africa, and the Lesser-striped Swallow, an inter-African migrant. These species dominated our skies throughout the African summer. Now, in the UK, I still wait for the Barn Swallow, but I wait for it to return to the UK from Africa. There are no Lesser-striped Swallows to look forward to in the UK, but there are tiny House Martins, also migrants returning to the UK from Africa. Instead of Yellow-billed Kites overhead, searching for road-kills or prey in the fields, I have Buzzards, filling the same niche, and as appealing and exciting to watch, and Kestrels.
The raucous calls of the African Hadedah Ibis in the early spring and summer mornings, has been replaced by the raucous calls of gulls. And the parallel doesn’t end there. Gulls stride around on the open fields in the manner of Hadedahs too!
Yellow-eyed Canaries have been replaced by Greenfiches, Red-eyed Doves are replaced by massive, but equally dopey Wood Pigeon.
There was always great excitement in our African garden when the top raptor in the avian world, the Lanner Falcon, flashed across the sky on the hunt for prey. Now I see the iconic Peregrine Falcon, back from the brink of extinction and seemingly thriving in the UK. I am slowly learning the habits, calls and gizz of the birds of the UK. It is wonderful and exciting.

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Review – “Foxes On The Run”

Review of “Foxes On The Run” – by Lynn Snyman
2012-02-29 20:40
An excellent, riveting and jovial read! ….. a genuine recommendation for a few hours of nostalgic (and mischievous!) fun in the 70s!

Review of “Foxes On The Run” by Steve Woodhall
2012-02-25 08:44
If you liked Spud you’ll love it. A real bit of South African nostalgia!

Review of “Foxes On The Run” by Adele Morrison
2012-02-25 08:40
What I loved is the honesty of your writing and the ability to transport back to those halcyon days we all experienced in SA years ago ! Take care and keep writing !!!

Review of “Foxes On The Run” by Mark Robinson
2012-02-24 22:57
Your book was excellent – very well written and heaps of fun…and pretty wild! 🙂 It was great to read all the Saffa slang – you guys have as much slang as we do! lol. I was particularly impressed by how well you structured the story. I also liked the soundtrack idea.

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