1 January 2012

Promissory Payback and Unrevealed

It is going to take me a while to catch up on all the reviews I missed while my daughter was ill and I want to thank all of the authors and publishers I owe reviews to, for their patience and understanding. Promise, I'll get it all done in time.

So here are my first reviews from that time. These were supposed to be posted mid-November but better late than never, right? Let's start with Unrevealed by Laurel Dewey:

Unrevealed is a collection of four short - and I mean very short stories featuring detective Jane Perry. The longest of these little snippets is 34 pages long. Unlike a lot of reviewers out there, I enjoy reading short stories from time to time. Some authors are extraordinarily good at producing stories that are well developed and carry a punch, with an economy of words. I wouldn't say these stories fit into this category. These stories read more like police files. They have all the facts but the mystery is not really a mystery. There is no real depth to the stories and the outcome of each is quite obvious from the outset. That said, I think there are some seriously redeeming qualities to this collection: 1) it provides a comprehensive introduction to Jane Perry, homicide detective, private investigator, recovering alcoholic. Before the end of the first story in the book, I was hooked on the main character. I really love Jane. She is gritty and real and actually flawed, which I love in a heroine. 2) The writing is very impressive. Laurel Dewey is easy to read, interesting and the words and story flow beautifully. Reading this little collection made me want to know more about the cases profiled and also about the detective spotlighted. I was happy to move on to the novella waiting in the wings. Don't let the size of the book fool you. This is definitely an adult read (OK maybe older teens as well). The language is pretty rough.
Character Development   4 – we do get a good idea of the main character over the course of the four stories
Editing                              5
Sex                                    0
Violence                            2 – no overt violence but description of violent crime scenes
Romance                           0
Readability/Flow              5
Language                          4 – gritty, liberal use of f-word

A Taste from page 6:
‘In AA, you delve into why you drink and what triggers the need to disappear. I find it ironic that a group dedicated to uncovering the need to disappear has the word anonymous in its title. Shouldn’t they call it Alcoholics Identified?’
Next up, by the same author (Laurel Dewey) is the novella Promissory Payback also starring our intrepid detective, Jane Perry. I felt like this was a sort of Encyclopedia Brown for adults. (I may be dating myself here but if you missed Encyclopedia Brown as a child, you did miss out.) The clues are obvious and there is little emotional investment required of the reader but the writing is good, the case is interesting and the characters are likable. It's an easy read, there's lots of good irony and sarcasm and it's worth the half hour (OK maybe an hour) it takes to read.
Character Development         4 – the only characters we know well are the victim and Jane
Editing                                   5
Sex                                         0
Violence                                2 – no overt violence but description of violent crime scenes
Romance                                0
Readability/Flow                    5
Language                                4 – gritty, liberal use of f-word

 Overall, I enjoyed both of these little books. I'd definitely read more of Laurel Dewey.


  1. I'm not a short story gal but your reviews are very thorough and specific. I loved Enclopedia Brown as well.

  2. Welcome back to the land of reviews and you came back with two good ones too

  3. I love short stories! These sound good. Great reviews Dana! Glad to see you back:) Happy New Year!


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