A. W. Gryphon
Sense of Wonder Press
Review by Sheila Merritt (Review based on advance reader’s copy)
A beautiful young woman who possesses potent supernatural powers is in peril. Those she loves keep getting killed; even her beloved world famous concert pianist husband, Wolfgang. Menaced by a man named Dorian, and shadowy figures belonging to a mysterious organization, the poor feisty girl does not know who to trust. This sounds like a movie on the Lifetime channel. It is unfortunately, a novel, which would be much better as a script; particularly a script that would be translated to film by that channel.
The multiple uses of the word “she” in several passages reads more like script direction than a novel’s narrative: “She turned around to a large black window behind her. She felt the presence of the man. She knew that she was being watched. She got up and closed the curtains, all the while telling herself that she was just being paranoid.” Then a few pages later, regarding the London fog: “She knew people hated it and got lost in it, but she hid within it. She’d always loved the element of mystery and surprise that it brought to the city’s daily life. She got into her black BMW Roadster…” There’s no shortage of “shes” for this writer.
There’s also no shortage of a short hand approach to description, which again, seems indicative of a screenplay style rather than that of a novel. While describing a character as a dead ringer for Anthony Hopkins is not necessarily a negative, it does in this case appear cursory and expedient. It comes across as another notation on a script.
When author Gryphon does go into more descriptive detail, it smacks of didacticism: Do readers really need to be instructed that coven is pronounced CUH-ven, or be told why Lord Nelson’s statue is in Trafalgar Square? Hint: It has something to do with the Battle of Trafalgar. Then, there is much made of the meaning of Goya’s paintings, and the beauty of Beethoven’s Pastoral.
It is hard to discern whether the author or the editor is to blame for a male character named “Francis” who becomes “Frances” (and presumably had not changed genders with the spelling.) In all likelihood, however, the author takes sole responsibility for these two consecutive contradictory sentences: “Amelia took the following day off from work, which did not go unnoticed as it was such a rare occurrence. No one thought much of it with her father’s body missing.”
A.W. Gryphon has credits in film production and post production. Lifetime movies are part of her portfolio. As a novice novelist, she lacks skill; but she does have great ambition: This book is the first in her Witches Moon Series. In Blood Moon a character is told: “Once you come into your own, you won’t have to search for the power.” Based on this novel, the author will have to continue the search.
[Editor’s Note: issues such as the use of Francis, various typos, and how to pronounce coven were cleaned up since the advanced reader’s copy of which this review is based.]