Where Honesty Never Ends.
Darkness of her Soul by Elle Anor
Disclaimer: This work does have same sex undertones.
The Review Board shares their thoughts on Darkness of her Soul by Elle Anor.
First, we give you Wordsmith Andi.
The Wordsmith Weighs In:
Synopsis via Amazon:
A serial killer is on the loose in Pretoria, South Africa. Older lesbians are not safe in gay bars and clubs anymore. Will Captain Laura Gooding and her team be able to stop the killings? Something happens and the killer doesn’t kill according to profile. The Killer kills again and vanishes into thin air.
When I read there are a few key things I’m looking for, namely and in this general order:
1. Are the characters detailed enough in physical description, background, behavior motivations and interactions with other characters so as to be easily relatable? Are the characters authentic? Will I care what happens to them throughout the story?
2. Is there an actual plot that carries these characters forward through time and events in a coherent and pleasing/attention-keeping way? Are there plot holes?
3. Does the writing (the words chosen and structured to tell the story) match up in quality to the story itself?
Darkness of Her Soul met two of the three requirements to merit having invested the time necessary to read the work.
The author gives us a cast of characters that reach out and connect with the reader through a fast paced plot of unexpected and often snicker-inducing twists and turns. Frequently, when not reading the book, I discovered I was wondering just what was going to happen next and very much enjoyed the developing relationship between the characters Lynn and Laura, the primary character around whom the novel revolves. The book is full of moments of surprising attention to detail in a variety of fields: I now know how to make several alcoholic mixed drinks, know how several pieces of medical equipment work and why, and dove into a psychology class and came out a little more understanding of the mind of a victim of a sexual crime at the hands of a trusted relative.
This was enough of a connection with the story in order for me to slog my way through the writing. Ms. Anor admits in the post script that this is her first English language novel but this is no excuse for what appears to be a complete and flagrant disregard for editing. It should be fact enough to compel the author to hire on an editor whose native language is English. Yet English speaking or not any editor worth their salt (and the wages they might be earning in the process) might have taken a hand in pointing out the rough if not non-existent scene transitions. Scenes change often within the same sentence which is jarring, pulling the reader away from the story as they try to comprehend how the characters started in one place and ended up in another.
The overuse of commas was dreadful, making for stuttered reading until I trained my brain to see the extra comma but not pause in response. This did not seem to be something that was stylistic either. The text read as though the author inserted a comma every time she paused in her thinking. If so, she paused a lot. As a fellow writer this is something understandable but I strongly recommend a refresher course in grammar and punctuation.
In several places there were incorrect words being used. “Sequenced dress” instead of “sequined dress”; a character put on cloves at a crime scene, not gloves. The author also seems to appreciate the word plunge a great deal; she uses it with zeal to describe the characters sitting and laying down. They plunge to the couch and to their beds almost exclusively. I pictured these people moving in such jerky, compulsive ways that it detracted from the story.
There is a tense consistency that needs to be addressed. The text switches back and forth between third and first person tense sometimes in the same sentence.
I also found the usage of the F-bomb a little out of place in many places. Pat, one of the secondary characters, uses it in front of her sister’s young daughter and no one bats an eye. The words butch, dyke and dildo are strewn throughout the text lending a crudeness that is either intrinsic to the culture Ms. Anor is most familiar with in Pretoria, South Africa or words thrown in for the visceral reaction most people are going to have when reading them. I’d like to be clear in my meaning. What is at issue here is not the fact that this story revolves around lesbians but rather how the lifestyle is stylized in this text, particularly by the South African press. Do the newspapers there truly use those words in their headlines? Do the police and medical examiners use such vernacular terms in referring to a vibrator/sex toy as a dildo? It just didn’t read as professional to me – as though the author took the time to research medical procedures and equipment, police procedure and operations, but not how the press actually handles publicizing such atrocities. Because I had these questions I found this aspect to the story hard to connect with and digest.
My impression of Darkness of Her Soul was that the author has a genuine desire to tell stories and may even be pretty good at it. She gets people and creates characters that deserve better writing to support them. I followed the story on intrigue alone and often thought “this could be so much better if the author took a writing class, learned her craft and how to use it with finesse.” There is a great story in this book but the author tells it like she’s wielding a blunt axe instead of waving a baton and conducting a symphony.
Lastly this book is classified under the erotica genre. While there were aspects of sensuality and scenes of explicit sexual nature I would not consider this to be erotica. It would be more accurate to label it as a lesbian themed crime drama with a dash of sex and romance thrown in.
Result: 4 out of 10 TRB Stars.
Last but not least, Mini Truth.
A lesbian serial killer makes it her mission to rid herself of any lesbian that resembles the woman that molested her as a child. Trapped in a life that she doesn’t want, she finds an outlet, a relief of sorts, in murdering: using her feminine wiles to lure in her prey.
Suddenly, the killer disappears. She stops killing altogether. What happened to her? She fell in love.
Now as alluring as the above may sound, the execution in and of itself is simply terrible. I have nothing good to say about this read, unfortunately.
No wait! I lie! I do like 2 things about it.
1) The title
2) The cover
Yep. That’s it.
Now, before I continue with me review I’d like to note something. Per the blurb on Amazon.com, the author has revised the book and removed all mistakes, stating “All glitches have been removed, and I do apologize.”
However, if the copy that I obtained was or wasn’t the revised version, I cannot say. But, if it was, then it wasn’t revised very well.
I do not want to spend the entire day listing all of the things that are wrong with this read so I’ll try my best to sum it up in bullets.
I think this about covers it.
It’s not going to be hard to add this one. Overall, TRB rates this as 2.5 out of 10 TRB Stars.
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