(Note: I originally wrote this review in December of last year, 2016. BL was having major problems at the time, so this ended up sitting in draft mode until today, when I was organizing some of my shelves and wondered why this review had never posted. Aha!)
When Stephanie at Stephanie's Book Reviews reviewed this book, I was intrigued enough to check it out on Amazon. The Kindle edition was only 99 cents, so I splurged and bought it.
Disclosure: I paid the full retail price for the Kindle edition. I do not know the author, nor have I ever had any contact with him about this book or any other matter. I am an author of contemporary gothic and historical romances and non-fiction.
This is not really a review, since I've only read a couple chapters and may or may not read any more. But I'm so disgusted by what I found that I feel compelled to post this information. As an author, I cannot post it on Amazon; authors are not allowed to post negative comments/reviews.
I know virtually nothing about the publisher of this item, Diversion Books of New York City. They have a website that makes them look professional, and they seem to have a number of authors and titles in their catalogue. But I personally would never recommend them to anyone, based on my reading of the opening chapters of this book.
Editors are supposed to fix errors. Although editors are human and make mistakes, they shouldn't make big fat obvious ones.
Screen shot from K4PC
Copied text from later in the same chapter:
Lee Nicholson would not be wounded. She would not bleed.
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 245). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
Copied text from the next chapter:
“You haven’t been charged with anything, Miss Nichols.”
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 292). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
Copied text from later in the next chapter:
Where would she go?
Detective Lowry was staring at her with something verging on concern.
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 317-318). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
She turned from her dresser to face one of the plainclothes men sifting through every item in her bedroom.
“I’m known as Lee. Lee Nichols.”
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 365-367). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
An error like that is pretty much unforgivable. I caught it on a first reading late at night when I was tired as hell.
Names are important . They are one of the first identifiers of a character. They can also stop a reader in her tracks if they're wrong or jarring or . . . too familiar.
From early in Chapter 1:
Her mentor at Columbia, David Eddings, had assured her that it was her looks and not her scholarship that had landed her a spot on the news.
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Locations 224-225). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
David Eddings was a well-known author of several best-selling fantasy series. Coming across an unusual name of a real person like this is a jolt that pulls a reader out of the make-believe world of the novel. Had the name been Donald Eddings or David Geddings, I would never have noticed it. But I did notice "David Eddings" and was immediately on alert.
When the main character's name changed from "Lee Nicholson" to "Lee Nichols," the importance of the other name doubled. "Leigh Nichols" is one of the many pseudonyms of another best-selling author, Dean Koontz.
Had this been a self-published book, I probably would have stopped reading at that point and just posted a DNF review. There were other elements of the plot that bothered me even at less than 4% into the book, but I could have overlooked those if I felt confident of the writing. But because it was published by a third party, I decided to do a little more research.
The first stop was Amazon, to see what the reviews were like. Oh man, oh man, oh man, here we go again.
The Semper Sonnet's dedication:
For Jean Naggar
Margolis, Seth. The Semper Sonnet (Kindle Location 64). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.
From the Amazon page for the book:
Full transparency my ass.
Oh, and that 1 comment? It's Jean Naggar's link to her own book. Follow that up and you'll find that Ms. Naggar is a literary agent. I'd be willing to bet she's Seth Margolis's agent.
Full transparency my ass.
So now I have a really bad taste in my mouth about this author and this book. I regret spending even 99 cents on it and putting 35 cents in Margolis's bank account, 7 cents of which probably went to Naggar.