Saturday, September 17, 2011

Authors that Disappoint: A Review of Two Books

I recently had the opportunity to read two novels:  one by a best-selling Christian author I have long known and read, the other by an author I had never heard of.  The first book is One Step Away by Eric Wilson; the second, Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann.

These novels are set in the current time, in recognizable places in the United States.  What both novels also share is unexpected poor writing.  Let me qualify the remarks that follow by noting that One Step Away was in paper book format, Indelible in Kindle format.

Both books suffer from grammar and punctuation errors.  The first is homonym confusion.  Homonyms are words that sound alike or similar but have different meanings.  For example, you can pique someone’s interest, but you cannot peak their interest.  That was an actual example of homonym confusion from Indelible.  Other words were simply wrong and I suspect the author consulted a thesaurus rather than a dictionary.  Among these are canted which is never something done with a neck as the author states and a word not used at all in this time; spewed which is poured out of something, not as the author used it for rocks sliding away from a trail runner.  And two characters drive their hands; one into dense clay which is an acceptable use, one into water, which is not.  One Step Away contained missing words. 

The worst offender, Indelible, contained hyphenated words that should not be hyphenated and  individual words that should be hyphenated left unhyphenated.  Some paragraphs were indented; some weren’t.   Some phrases were in a much larger font than the rest of the book.   Some words were combined which should have been spaced.  Finally, the letter “r” or “S” in a different font was inserted sporadically. 

One Step Away contained characters that acted out of character, creating unbelievable characters and a predictable plot.  Indelible had characters with silly names and a predictable plot.  Indelible used at least one unbelievable metaphor (eg. disturbed leaves in a rocky mountain stream compared to goldfish—which would never be found in a cold Colorado creek) and other descriptive terms pulled inappropriately from other disciplines (eg. segue, a musical term).  Possibly Indelible most inexcusable error was to use bits of the the epic poem, Paradise Lost, pulled out of context to drive a subplot.   

To be fair, Indelible ‘s author had greater dexterity in describing scenes and places than did the author of One Step Away.  But I found myself racing to the end of both books merely to be done with them.  Do authors realize how much grammatical errors distract from their writing?  Have publishers stopped editing?  What more can I say about these books?  If you want to read a well-written novel, stay away from both of them.


I was provided a free review copy of Indelible by the publisher for the purpose of this review.  I purchased my copy of One Step Away.


  1. Wow! Please don't read my novels! Lol Seriously though a lot of those page mistakes aren't always the author's fault, but happen during copy edit stages and so forth. Its hard to know for sure. I got a 2 star review on Amazon once because the type set of the book was smaller than the author expected. Not fair! :) What DID you like about the novels? Kristen H is one of my favorite authors.

    1. It's difficult to ignore mistakes when they crop up only when the author moves to a new publisher. I contacted E. W. and he told me that I must have had an early printing. I don't believe that to be the case because I purchased it through a reputable bookseller. As for Kristen H., that was the only book I have ever read by her; perhaps, her others were better. That 2 star review was unfair, type size is fairly standard and easily accommodated by brighter light for smaller type. When a book is well written, I don't even notice the typos, if there are any. For example, I recently finished reading Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. I doubt that there were mistakes, but I probably wouldn't have noticed because the work was beautifully written.