Thursday, May 22, 2008
James Scott Bell's latest novel
I've had the privilege of reading an advance copy of James Scott Bell's forthcoming novel, Try Darkness, and I'd recommend it for anyone who's a fan of the private eye/legal thriller/suspense genre. I really enjoyed this book, the second in the Ty Buchanan series with which Jim launched into a wider market than the CBA. No, there's no profanity, sex, nudity, or gratuitous violence. It would fit right in with the products of any CBA publisher. There's no "conversion scene," no sermonettes, just a crisp, clean story of a man who's fighting his own personal demons and trying to make sense of the tragedies that have struck him. It's the kind of story I like to read, and Jim makes it extremely readable. If you've been involved with writing for any length of time, you've heard it preached many times over: "Read good books to learn about good writing." Well, this is one that any writer should not just read but study.
He hooked me with the first line: "The nun hit me in the mouth and said, 'Get out of my house.'" Now if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. And that brings me to the other point of this review (other than to highly recommend you pre-order your copy of Try Darkness now). In my last post I talked about Jim's other new release, Revision & Self-Editing. Reading the two books, one after the other, gave me an opportunity to see that what he recommends in one book he puts into practice in the other. Like coming up with an great opening line. Like taking every opportunity to ramp up the stakes. Like making sure that there's conflict in every scene--either external or internal.
And if you haven't read the first of the Ty Buchanan series, Try Dying, I also recommend it. Get both of them, read them in sequence, then buckle your seat belts. I have a hunch this isn't the last we'll see of Ty Buchanan. At least, I hope that's the case.