eBooks - Dead(ish) / Catharsis

Recently I read a couple free eBooks that I downloaded from Smashwords. Both were very good, I read them and enjoyed them. Each of them had a number of good points, but had some areas where artifacts of the self publishing process left me wanting.

Dead(ish) – Naomi Kramer, 2009, approx 48 pages

  • Linda, Mike and Trent are in a complex relationship.
  • Mike is being haunted, and has hired Trent as an exorcist to remove the unwanted spirit.
  • Trent is not an exorcist, he is actually a detective hired by Linda.
  • Linda is dead, and she is convinced that Mike killed her.
The perspective comes mainly from Mike and Trent, but Linda is mixed in piecemeal as Trent transcribes things she says to him during meetings.

One of my favorite things here was the Creative Commons aspect where Kramer advises you can update her book to remove the Australian slang and replace it with your own if you wanted to redistribute it. I thought this was a classy change that I have not seen thrown out there in other books read. Kudos on that.

I really enjoyed this eBook. Unfortunately, it is a novelette, barely more than a short story. The story is solid, and fast paced. I laughed out loud at a number of points. The problem is that I wanted more.

I have never been a fan of short stories. I get in a rut once in a while where I will read 2-3 collections at a time, but for the most part I avoid them.

I get too involved with a story and it’s characters. Then the end comes and I am left feeling unsatisfied. This is not a fault by the author. in fact it is a good thing. Quite to the contrary, it means they did a great job, but it doesn't increase my enjoyment of a story to finish it and find myself wanting more.

I believe that Kramer would be in a good spot if she were to reedit and expand Dead(ish). Add more background, space out the climax points, give more character insight and build up. Make this into a true Novella, the story and characters deserve the extra time spent!

Catharsis – Skyla Dawn Cameron, 2004, Approx 205 pages

In Catharsis, a group of telepaths head out on the road to escape a looming danger. The group has found each other online over the space of a couple years. The Protagonist, Indigo, is contacted to meet outside her hometown face to face. Moving the relationship offline is needed as members of their group appear to be disappearing or ending up dead.

The novel takes a turn when the group gets in a car crash (caused by some form of telepathic interference) and awake in a world where they are the only living creatures. Some other force is stalking them around a deserted town while they attempt to determine what is really going on.

The story was solid enough that I didn’t figure out the end before it arrived, though I did have inklings as to what was happening.

Catharsis was hard to read. I liked it, but it was in dire need of some external editor’s suave services. The amount of angry teenage angst will keep the book from being widely adopted by adults. From the other perspective, the amount of profanity will keep it from being adopted in the Young Adult circles.

There was also a bit of “kluge-y” feeling in relation to the familiarity of characters. They were intimately aware of each other in many aspects. Yet the trust level associated with the same characters was low. They were willing to discuss complex personal issues but unwilling to trust in statements made by the group. I dunno. It was off-putting.

Again, a good read, but could benefit from an objective third party.

A note – This book is available in a more complete format. This is mentioned in both the foreword and the last page, so perhaps print is more precise already. Apparently she has created a compendium version with short stories, artwork, and I THINK also fan-fiction.. I can see why this book has a following, but the need for a compendium kind of baffled me.

Should you decide to download this book, grab it from the author’s site. The free copy available on Amazon.com is filled with terrible formatting errors, where the Author site copy works like a dream :)


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