The message, first and last

Here's a bit of thinking out aloud. Which is, I suppose, a fair description of a diary entry (or 'blog', if you insist, though what an unbeautiful word is that.)

The thing is, I am looking to insert the final pieces in the jigsaw called More Deaths Than One - Second Edition. It's the back page. This is so important if you want folk to buy the thing. We all do the same when we're looking for something to read: pick up the book because something on the cover interests us - we may have heard of or simply like the title or know of the author's previous works - or maybe it's just something about the cover picture. Then we turn over the book and read that which is written on the back. The trade call this the book's 'blurb'; for me, another word of 20th century awfulness.

A novel is going to use up a great deal of my available time and attention. Therefore I must be as sure as I possibly can that this thing I am looking at is not a waste. So, to continue thinking our aloud ... A novel is not what it is but what it does or does not do to its reader; for its reader.

A novel is a fictional story. As a reader I ask myself, does this one make me sad, glad, angry, thirsty for more? Anything at all? Have the events told of in the book and, at least equally, the words of the telling added a little something; sometimes (though rarely) even a lot of something to my life? Will it sing to me, for me?

You won't get more than the merest hint of any answers from a synopsis of More Deaths Than One. So I'm not going to burden you with one. Neither shall I at this point wax lyrical about a writer you've almost certainly never heard of called Bryan Islip. Read the last page inside if you insist on knowing about him; me.

It's the book, reader, isn't it? What's it about, what kind of a book is this More Deaths Than One? you still ask yourself. Is it an adventure, a thriller, a literary novel … etc?

Yes, it’s all of those. How to convey this in half a dozen lines? Well, I'm the one supposed to be a writer! Watch this space (back cover of edition two, More Deaths Than One.)

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