5/13 On the Bookshelf . . . “Ice Hunt,” “Deep Fathom,” “The Talisman: The Road of Trials” & “The City & the City”

Ice Hunt Deep Fathom

These last two additions complete my James Rollins collection for the most part, at least with his “non Sigma Force” novels.  Now to start working through it.

Talisman The Road of Trials

Will be interesting to see how this epic story develops in the form of a graphic novel.  Hopefully it’ll be as good as The Dark Tower graphic novel series.

The City & the City

I’m looking forward to this as, apart from winning awards, it’ll be my first China Mieville, who I’ve always wanted to read.

“White Horse” Progress Report 5: 1458 words

Made some good progress tonight. Not only was chapter three completed, but the novella is now taking shape.  I’d reached the point in a previous draft and wasn’t quite sure where the story was going to go next, but fortunately my characters were established enough that they knew what to do and the scenes flowed one after the other.

It’s without a doubt my favorite part of writing: where you have no clue what is going to happen next in the story, and your subconscious takes over and continues the story for you . . . somehow.  It feels like your characters are writing the story for you and you’re just along for the ride, which is kind of crazy to say, but is partially true in that some part of your mind is using the characters to drive the story.  Sometimes this facet of writing is readily available and the story writes itself; other times it’s hard work, requiring rewrites.

Today was one of those important days where the complete story took its shape.  This being the first novella I’m writing (I’ve either done short stories, full-length manuscripts, or short stories that turned into books), I was starting to wonder how to keep the story honed so that it wouldn’t turn into a full book.  Well, today, my mind did it somehow, and the story has its novella shape now that just feels right.

Also the entire four-novella project feels less like a giant piece of work with no end in sight that will take years.  Now I can somewhat see an end to this novella, with the whole project having more structure and substance.

Enough banter, time for some work in progress:

“Something on you mind Alan, or do you just like spooking your customers when they’re using the facilities?”

He laughed at that.

“No, something just came through the grapevine I wanted to pass along to ya.”

I was going to thank him before he said anything, but in the dim light I saw a serious look in his eyes I’d never seen before.

This wasn’t good.

“Seems like something’s spooked the honchos upstairs.  Spooked them in a big way.”


“The 13th Hour” by Richard Doetsch (Atria Books, 2009)

The 13th Hourstarstarstar

Richard Doetsch, author of The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith, returns with a new thriller that employs elements of the fantastic resulting in a story that will push the reader to their very limits as they wonder how the story will be resolved, and whether the protagonist, Nicholas Quinn, will come out right in the end, with the love of his life back with him.

The 13th Hour begins with a clarification by the author, and then opens with Chapter 12.  Quinn is at his home, working, then he hears gunfire and discovers the dead body of his wife.  Some time later he finds himself in police custody, the prime suspect in the murder of the love of his life.  As the good cop and bad cop leave the interrogation room for coffee, a stranger walks in, handing Quinn a old-looking pocket watch.  He is told that it is a time-traveling device and with it in his possession, he will travel back in time each hour, so long as he has the watch.  First he will travel back one hour, then two, then three, and so on.  It will be up to him to choose what he does with this valuable time and whether he will be able to solve the mystery of his wife’s death and stop the killer in time.

As Quinn wrestles with these thoughts, wondering if this stranger is just some lunatic and that he isn’t in fact holding an ordinary pocket watch, the cops return for more grueling interrogation.  As Quinn feels he is about to loose it, the hour strikes and he finds himself transported back an hour, into his neighbor’s home, while the body of his wife lies dead in his garage.  Now he knows this is real, but what is he going to do about it?

Richard Doetsch has created an enthralling mystery with a consistent pace that forces one to not want to do anything else, but sit and read and find out what happens to Quinn and what he’s going to do to fix all this.  And in the back of the reader’s mind is the big why and how of the pocket watch’s existence, which isn’t revealed until the very last pages of the book.

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Originally written on May 3 2010 ©Alex C. Telander