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WHEN THE DEEP PURPLE FALLS

Going Down

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Sep 28, 2013: Reading When the Deep Purple Falls is a bit like being at the top of the Grand Canyon to start a hike – it might be an interesting journey, but it quickly becomes evident that the path here is down all the way. It is, for the most part, an eerily quiet depiction of a criminal whose life is falling apart, and who’s too numb to really feel it or know what to do. Our protagonist, Frank (a.k.a. Bardos), works for Mack, who seems to be sort of a small-time crime boss operating in the Maryland suburbs of DC. He’s been working for Mack ever since his uncle died . . . while working for Mack, as well.

The author does a good job of conveying how a person with no other opportunities and limited skills can gradually become completely enmeshed into the criminal world, with seemingly no way out. Frank comes from a background of numerous foster homes and juvenile hall, and doesn’t seem to have anything to recommend him, other than the fact that he’s willing to do just about anything when he first asks Mack for a job. As the story goes on, however, Frank is almost unable to sleep due to nightmares and eventually gets cause to doubt things about Mack, such as who actually killed his uncle and when Mack took an interest in him in the first place.

The writing is first rate in this piece; it flows well and has no noticeable typos. Keep in mind, however, that this is a 9 chapter prelude/promo for the author’s soon-to-be released novel. By the end of it, although I definitely liked the author’s style and found it effective and compelling, I didn’t feel like there was enough there to truly get a sense of how the author would tackle a longer work. I was also kind of hoping that, per the tags, there would be some comedy in this piece to break up the heaviness, but although I’m highly attuned to black comedy, I really didn’t find any in this piece, so be warned.

At any rate, this is a solid story and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in true crime-style fiction.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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WHO IS ANTHONY STEPHENS?

Psychological Drama

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Apr 8, 2013: The blurb makes it sound like this story is going to be a polemic against student loan debt. It’s not that at all. In fact, his debts are only one of the reasons Anthony Stephens decides he doesn’t want to be in his life anymore. But rather than suicide, he opts for pseudicide – faking his own death. Now, there’s a few dangers associated with pseudicide. One is you could end up really dead. Another is that someone who helps you could take the fall.

The novel takes place in the aftermath. Through a series of interviews, journal excerpts, and documents, we piece together what has happened. The grieving girlfriend, the cousin from the ‘hood, detectives and coroners, the nice lady who runs a B&B – they all have their take on what happened and on life in general. At the end, you will be scratching your head as you think through what you have read and more and more falls into place. It’s a powerful story. The readers’ interest is held through the unfolding of the mystery, but just as much through the interesting characters, of whom even the most minor have unique motivations and perspectives. The characterization and atmosphere building is great!

I think there might be a minor plot hole or two (I can’t get into them without revealing spoilers), but it might just be me being dense. That said, it’s an exceptionally unique and clever web novel that’s well worth checking out.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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MY STUPID JOURNAL

Dreaming of Paris

By Cora, member

Aug 10, 2012: “My Stupid Journal” is the diary of Daisy Tannenbaum, a precocious eleven-year-old who, while living with her aunt and guardian in Paris, gets tangled up in an old mystery surrounding Marie Antoinette’s long lost royal diamonds. As may be clear, the plot of this twisting and turning narrative is quite intricate. Although each episode is amusing on its own (mostly because of the sly wit and sarcasm of the main character Daisy), as a long-time reader of this blog I find that it is best consumed consistently and in order.

The most fun part of "My Stupid Journal" is that it is delivered through the eyes of a pre-teen with an overactive imagination. As a result, you get lines like this one in which Daisy describes her angry aunt by writing, “She gave me a look that would broil cheese.” Yet you also get beautiful ruminations from a sort of naïve American stuck in Paris, like this description of a rainy Parisian sidewalk: “Tempers were flaring. If you nicked someone’s umbrella by accident they were liable to screech at you. We passed a man, soaked to the bone, beating a reluctant umbrella against a signpost. Those without umbrellas huddled under the awnings of cafés or in archways, save for the young and impatient, who dashed on, hair matted, glasses fogged, sliding and dodging, knocking the unwary off slim sidewalks, leaving a trail of indignation in their wake.” As these excerpts demonstrate, and Fiona Gregory writes in her own review of the blog, the control and manipulation of language in “My Stupid Journal” is at once amusing and wonderfully poetic.

My final note is that almost as a bonus, this blog is incredibly fun for anyone who has visited, lived in, or just dreamed of Paris! Thrown in are beautiful descriptions of Parisian life—the corner cafés and the metro routes Daisy takes as she traipses about—as well as snippets of the French language that add flair and authenticity.

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