Death Unearthed (check out the first chapter here)
Romantic Thriller, Chapter One, Draft
The Editors' Choice is chosen from recent submissions that show a
lot of potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident
Editor. One submission per month will receive a detailed review,
meant to be educational for others as well as the author.
DEATH UNEARTHED, Chapter 1, by Sue London
Smooth, polished writing and an engaging heroine pulled me right into this funny, charming first chapter. There were a great many things that I liked about this submission, most notably the strong, clearly established voice of the heroine and the many delicious little comic touches... As far as style is concerned, I really have nothing to criticize. The writing flows, smooth and professional. The dialogue is crisp and natural, and dialogue attribution is beautifully unobtrusive. The author has chosen to write this story in the first person, and I think her choice works well. A light-hearted mystery/romance with an urban, chick-lit feel to it is ideal for first person narration, and I enjoy being inside Casey's head; she's smart, funny and interesting. The author has done a large part of the work already by creating such a likeable heroine.
However, the author should push Casey harder. If there is a problem with this chapter, it is a lack of dramatic tension. Granted, the tone is light, despite the gravity of Casey's colleague's murder, but even so, the arc of the story must put Casey to the test and force her to change and grow, and the first chapter must present the tensions that must be resolved in the book, great and small. I think it falls short of this goal. The tensions resolve too quickly, too easily, and the story sags because of it.
I am curious to see where this goes. My compliments, and good luck.
--Shannon McKenna, author of STANDING IN THE SHADOWS