Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book ‘Em / Tony McFadden

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Sick of snow, Tony McFadden moved with his family from Canada to Australia, near the coast. He says “half a kilometer from the beach beats snow any day of the week.” He has four novels available from the usual e-book stores, plus two short stories featuring Eamonn Shute, the protagonist in Book ‘Em. Both short stories can be picked up for free, at least for the moment, from B&N or Smashwords. For more, visit McFadden’s website.


Newly minted millionaire Eamon Shute and his girlfriend, Nicky, owner of a store specializing in rare books, are dragged into a story involving murder, embezzlement, and a four million dollar book.


Book ‘Em is a good edit and proofing away from being an entertaining read. The protagonist, Eamon Shute, is one of those larger than life heroes who is entertaining and seems to figure in stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. McFadden’s hero combines street smarts and the ability to defend himself, leftover from his upbringing as a poor Irish lad, with an innate intelligence and a sensitive, loyal side. Combine that with his financial situation, a windfall from the Irish lottery, and Shute is a package that should appeal to most women.

Shute’s girlfriend Nicky is also an appealing character. A transplant to Miami, from the Dominican Republic in her case, Nicky is smart and independent. They make a great couple.

In contrast, the villains in this story are slime balls. There is never doubt as to who you’re rooting for and who you aren’t in Book ‘Em. Although I think it often feels like a thriller and the villains are mostly clear, there is still plenty of mystery, with the outcome in question to the end.

The majority of the problems are minor: things like “of” instead of “if,” a missing or extra word. There were a few instances of verb tense errors or using a form of a word that doesn’t exist according to the dictionaries I consulted (unorthodoxed). Last, using the idiom “once and awhile” instead of “once in a while” occurred multiple times. I’d have no qualms recommending Book ‘Em to anyone who likes mysteries or thrillers, if they have a reasonably high tolerance for typos. However, the sheer number, averaging at least once every five to six printed pages, is too many.


Although McFadden lives in Australia and grew up in Canada, his writing appears to use US spelling conventions. The only exception is using the European convention of single rather than double quotes around dialogue.

Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

A large number of typos and proofing errors.

Rating: *** Three stars


Vicki said...

It sounds like an entertaining read. How sad that editing issues have let the story down. Perhaps this review will be the impetus Tony needs to have it at least proofed.

Thanks for the review, BigAl.

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks, Vicki. He commented on the FB wall that he thought this was a fair review and that this and another of his books were in need of some proofing. I loved the characters and find it sad when a book's greatest deficiency is technical rather than creative.

Tony McFadden said...

It was a very fair review. This was number one (and the other book I mentioned on FB was number two), and since then I've jacked up the edit side of the equation. Because (I'm guessing here Al, so correct me if I'm wrong) I lost a star to edits, I've stopped working on the draft of number six to go back and have these two cleaned up.

BooksAndPals said...

You're correct, Tony.