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NEWSHOUND

Gripping Good Story!

By Walter, author of The Fifth Defiance

Jul 3, 2017: The Good:

The author has a fine sense of character. You’ve seen hard charging journalists, supportive but skeptical editors and free spirit friends before, but they are well drawn and possess a specificity that augurs well for this series.

The overall arc appears to be the slow discovery of a dark design, but this is complicated by the fact that, as a muckraking journalist, that is exactly what the main character needs there to be. Further, she is concerned about her own paranoia, and everyone who knows her tells her that she worries too much. It raises an intriguing hint of unreliable narrator.

The side characters smoothly play to type, but avoid falling into the stereotypical traps that you might worry about. You will find yourself nodding along as a prickly editor winds our heroine up, only to find that this is not the ideological descendant of J. Jonah Jamison that you were expecting at all.

This is also a story that knows how to take its time. We are several installments in before our protagonists lycanthropy takes the stage, and the time spent in familiar surroundings grounds the character in a way that will pay dividends as the events of the story unfold. The author has established a baseline, and now we can feel the impact of events which might push the characters away from that baseline.

The Bad:

There is an odd tension between the story’s setting and the protagonist;s job which can jerk you out of your immersion. The protag researches information on reddit, only to turn around and write it to a newspaper column that could never possibly reach as many people as you could on the site. Editors haggle over inches, though surely the newspaper’s website is where most people who read these stories will see them.

This same slight time jump dogs other aspects of the story. People call one another rather than texting. People wait nervously for someone’s arrival, rather than knowing their progress their various apps. Press conferences are the definitive spin on issues rather than exclamation points on the social media arena where you’d expect these issues to be threshed out etc.

Verdict:

Fundamentally, Newshound is a fun read. The schedule states that we should expect 2 thousand new words every 2 weeks, and if your impressions are anything like mine, you’ll think that’s not nearly enough.

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NEWSHOUND

Newshound – Stories of a Werewolf Journalist

By thelonewanderer, author of The Open Road

Jul 3, 2017: Heather Stone is the only werewolf journalist in the American Southwest. And her lupine nose smells conspiracy.

Most fiction with a journalist protagonist is centered around conspiracy, usually political. M.T Bade’s Newshound is pretty much on target – political, the small and persecuted in one corner with the big guys on the other. But the most interesting bit is how it takes reacts (inspiration if you are feeling optimistic) to the current political scenario in America. And yes, this means travelbans, subversion of federal institutions for driving a political agenda and the general chaos that follows you-know-who. (This last bit is an assumption from my part but one that has some basis I think)

I’m not an American and my background to this are the stories in the news media and social media(over-saturated as they are) so I don’t want to sound stupid by saying stuff that I have no right to. The author however is careful in how he approaches this material, just as he is with the setting in general. I am genuinely interested in where this story goes.

But that’s not the best part of the story. I liked best the touches about Heather being a werewolf, where the character reacts to this urban fantasy setting. They had me grinning. It is these careful, quiet moments, the back and forth between wolf and woman, sharing tenancy of a single body, which makes the story feel authentic and fun.

The writing is clean and straight, and right from the first few lines, you find yourself switching into Heather’s perspective, to her struggles with effortless ease. From one writer to another, it was something I envied. There are a couple of worldbuiliding posts, but they are mere appetizers, a hint at a rather complex, well-thought of world. For one thing, we are yet to encounter magic apart from a rather cathartic bout of shape-shifting.

The first few chapters of the serial serve largely as an introduction, a little long one at that, to the setting, the cast and the life of a werewolf journalist. And I think this is where the serial stumbles a bit, or at least doesn’t fully use the impact that a beginning can create. The main plot thread starts only with the fourth chapter, pushing the opening news story that Heather works on as just another prop in the background. And consequently, this makes the jump to the conspiracy a bit too hurried and not very convincing as Heather has a bigger stake in the first news story. But here, I lay my only quibbles to rest.

All in all, the Newshound is a very promising beginning. We’re only about eight parts in the story, so there’s it’s just getting started. And that’s probably why you should start reading this serial. Because the best is yet to come.

Disclaimer – This is part of a review swap.

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