Thursday, 15 January 2015

A CRY FROM THE DEEP by Diana Stevan



3 out of 5 stars

Mystery, romantic suspense, diving

On Amazon UK HERE 
On Amazon.com HERE 


Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's book review team

I was looking forward to this book, as it deals with the subjects of reincarnation and time slips between the 19th century and the present.

It’s a very good story idea, it’s well thought out, feasible, and there are no plot holes or errors of continuity.  The (American) English is perfect, and the proofreading was virtually faultless, which is always a big plus.  The subject matter of diving for historical artefacts is extremely well researched; I read in the back of the book about how much work the author had done on this and was impressed; it will probably appeal to anyone who is interested in this subject.


So why only three stars?  


I found the narrative rather old fashioned.  The romantic side of it is a bit Mills and Boon, with the occasional throwing in of something more ‘earthy’ that seemed a little incongruous.  It was predictable - as soon as handsome Daniel Costello was introduced I guessed the outcome.  I found the delivery and dialogue a tad wooden throughout; aside from Hennessey, the brutish head of the diving team, one character’s dialogue was indistinguishable from another’s, with a relaying of information as opposed to painting a portrait of the person.  Ms Stevan has used regional dialect accurately, but I never had the feeling of different ‘voices’, and could not see any of the people in my mind’s eye.


The point of view changed from Catherine to Daniel on a few occasions, and this new outlook made the story perk up.  My attention was also renewed when Catherine began to unravel the mystery, in Ireland; I thought the Irish section was the best, and I imagine well researched too (I’ve never been to Ireland, so can’t say).  However, I felt this could have been done in a much more intriguing way, perhaps with alternating between past and present so that we knew more about Margaret and James; the piece set in the 19th century is so brief that I had all but forgotten about it by about a third of the way through. The mystery would have been far more compelling if it had been unleashed gradually, rather than the reader being told more or less everything at the very beginning.  Throughout the book there was too much exposition (dialogue used to give necessary background information, executed in an contrived manner) and ‘telling, not showing’ (delivering statements to tell the reader what a character is like, rather than allowing a picture to build up via his/her speech and behaviour, and others’ reactions to them). 
   

To sum up – it’s a fairly competent debut novel, but for me it fell flat.  However, a review can only ever be one person’s opinion, and readers who like a more conservative approach to dialogue and predictable romantic developments might well enjoy it very much; I see that it has other, more postive reviews and I imagine the author’s style will develop.  I’d like to thank Ms Stevan for supplying a review copy of this book, and wish her luck in her writing career.  

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