Friday, September 23, 2011

Death Has a Name (Book One of the Brodie Wade Series)

Author: Jerry Hanel
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
How long it's been on sale: December 2010
Current price: $1.99
Marketing: Paid advertising, blog spots, a single radio spot, social media, kindle boards, book reviews, etc.
Total sold so far: 200
Link to book on Amazon: Death Has a Name (Book One of the Brodie Wade Series)

Product Description:


Praise for the Brodie Wade Series:
"Do you love characters that grab a hold of your heart and won't let go? How about paranormal mysteries? Want a dash of romance and true friendship on top? Then you really need to read The Brodie Wade series."
-- Keryl Raist, author of Sylvianna

There is a Truth that exists. It is active. Alive. It fights the bounds of reality to make itself known. It's not my truth. It's not anyone's truth. It is The Truth.

There are times when select individuals can see and interact with The Truth, but Brodie Wade has been able to interact with it since he was a child. It has scarred his mind and body, but it also gives him the ability to know things that he shouldn't know. Thus, he has taken employment as a psychic detective.

Working together with Detective Phil Dawson, Brodie must summon all of his will to go head-to-head with The Truth to solve the latest string of murders. It appears that Dominick Fredrickton -- the Midnight Killer -- has returned from the grave, beheading the unfortunate few that get in his way.

When The Truth confronts Brodie and tells him that he must protect the Third Key, Brodie must discover what - or who - The Third Key is.

Can Brodie stop Death from obtaining the Third Key and regaining his physical form? 

First 300 Words:

 A middle-aged woman dashed through the darkness, then down the stairs. A man in a dark shirt was only two steps ahead. She had been attending to her mentor when she'd seen movement down the hallway. In an instant she willed herself into shadow and darted after him. She had to catch him before he escaped with her mentor's prized possession.

She held a glowing orb tightly in her right hand and a .45 in her left. Both hands were covered in blood from the man she'd always known as her mentor.

Was the beast now free from the chains that held him bound in the eternal realms? In the five years since she'd been promoted, her life had been relatively uneventful. But in the past twenty-four hours, everything had come undone. What had she become? A killer? A protector? She wasn't sure any more. Her life was spinning out of control.

She chased after the intruder, running forward at full speed toward the wall that he passed through with ease. Her heart raced and her lungs could not take in any more air. She was pushing herself to her limits trying to catch the servant of Death. If he got away, all of her kind would be in trouble. The world would be only one step away from torment beyond her comprehension.

As she neared the far wall she extended her hand, passing through as if it were a simple illusion. Emerging on the other side, she tried to get her bearings, having traveled several miles from the house she had been in only moments before. She stood directly in the middle of the street on Broadway. Cars honked and squealed as they sped by on both sides.

Frantic, she squinted left and right, searching for him, hoping that...

Vicki's Comments: I really like this cover. If I were designing it, I may not have put the title quite so close to the top, it looks a bit squeezed in to me, I probably would have given it a tiny bit more space on top and on the sides. But I admit that's nit picky. I love the font, and the images are wonderful. It does say "Paranormal Thriller" to me.

I think it's fine to put the genre in the description, in fact sometimes I wish more people would do it. At times I can't tell from looking at the cover and description exactly where the book fits. I would take out the praise, though, there's plenty of good reviews for this book and if people want to read them they can scroll down. The only time I would keep this kind of thing would be if the review was from someone very famous and influential, and even then I would keep it to a short snip.

The first paragraph of the description doesn't pull me in. When I look at a description, I want to know the conflict and plot of the book. The part about the truth being alive should come out in the story.

The rest of the blurb needs to be reworked, IMHO. There's some unnecessary information that could be cut, and I would get right to the conflict. Something more like: When psychic detective Brody Wade is asked to solve a string of murders he must face his sometimes terrifying visions in order to get to the truth. This gives you a lot of information in one sentence. It tells us that Brody is a psychic detective, that there's been a string of murders, and that Brody doesn't love the psychic visions he sees.

I wouldn't end with a question. Most of the time I find this cheesy. Sorry. If the information needs to come across, I would phrase it as a statement: Brody must stop Death from obtaining the Third Key and regaining his physical form. With a little tightening up, the blurb can be much better.

The beginning of the novel is a bit confusing to me. At first I wasn't sure who the point of view character was. Then I realized it's the woman, but I don't know her name. I don't know what she is. I feel very far removed from the character. I fear there are too many unanswered questions in this beginning.

If it were me, I would name the character and try to tighten up the beginning. I'm glad it starts with action, but I think there needs to be more clues as to what is going on. I'm guessing she's a ghost, or part of this Truth, but since she's got blood on her hands that makes me wonder if I'm wrong. I wish there were more explanation. (Which is probably pretty hypocritical because I'm the queen of confusing people.)

I'm guessing the blurb and the beginning are holding this back. What do you guys think?


  1. I like the cover but the title is a bit squeezed in. The different size fonts in the title make it look amateurish.

    I agree with Vicki about the blurb. She's right on with her comments.

    I'm not a fan of a vague she or he in the beginning. I get easily confused and when that happens, I stop reading.

  2. The blurb was just to vague. My mind kind of when "Truth... reality... yada... yada..."

    I pretty much (sorry. harsh here) hate beginnings where the character has no name. You immediately lost me.

    The cover is pretty good though. I like it.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Love the cover. The blurb is vague and an attempt to sound sensationalist without giving the reader any kind of 'meat'. I tune out after the first paragraph.
    The writing could use a lot of work. POV control is poor. Information is intrusively shoehorned in. There are too many sentences with the words 'would have' and had'. The solution to this, incidentally, is not to take out the would-haves and hads, but to ditch the sentence containing that information in its entirety. The writing is choking with intrusive backstory. Relax. You don't have to let us know all this stuff on the first page.

  4. Great cover. It really conveys a sense of suspense, menace, foreboding, all that, very good.

    I would consider cutting the first two paragraphs of the blurb and getting right to the conflict. Tell me about the character and what his main problem is. Save the expository detail for the story.

    I also like that you start with action, that's always good in a thriller of any kind. But I'm having real trouble latching on to the who, the what, and the why do I care. I know from reading the blurb that this isn't the main character, and it makes me a little impatient to get to the 'real' story. The faster you can get past this intro and introduce us to the main character the better, I think.

    There's more expository detail here as well that might not be needed depending on who this character actually is. If she turns the corner and gets killed and eaten (or whatever) you can probably lose a lot of the details.

    Altogether it looks like something I'd probably enjoy reading, but it could use a little polish in the blurb and the opening.

  5. I have to admit that I agree with the others. I like the cover and would have gone ahead to read the blurb but probably wouldn't have gotten any further. I think the blurb needs to be totally reworked.

    The first 300 words confused me. I know many people like to start with action but I disagree. Action, in and of itself, doesn't mean anything to me unless I feel some connection to the characters. I simply don't get that here.

  6. I may be in the minority, but the cover didn't grab me at all I'm afraid. As others have commented on, the blurb needs tightening as I switched off as I read it, which isn't what you need when you want to keep a readers attention. The writing is pretty solid, but the first paragraph isn't perhaps the best one to use to start the book:

    "A middle-aged woman dashed through the darkness, then down the stairs." - Who is the woman? Why isn't her name used?

    "A man in a dark shirt was only two steps ahead." - Not much to go on here. And is the most important point that he's wearing a dark shirt?

    "She had been attending to her mentor when she'd seen movement down the hallway." - 'Attending' makes me think she is a servant.

    "In an instant she willed herself into shadow and darted after him. She had to catch him before he escaped with her mentor's prized possession." She willed herself into shadow. OK, how? Does it hurt? There's no explanation at all for this amazing feat.

    I think I would start with knowing what had happened to the mentor. Perhaps she is going to meet him, but instead finds his body, then start the chase scene. Anyway, just an idea :)

  7. I agree with a lot of the comments here.

    I think the cover is okay, but could be more dramatic or unique.

    The blurb is too vague and abstract. It needs to have a more concrete description of the characters and action and conflict.

    The opening 300 words did not grab me at all. It felt very vague, especially for an action sequence. This sentence illustrates the problem:

    "She had to catch him before he escaped with her mentor's prized possession."

    Who is "she"? Who is "he"? Who is the mentor? What is the prized possession?

    You've given the reader nothing specific to care about. All of the people need names and the object needs to be defined.

    Hope that helps.

  8. The cover: really really like it.

    The blurb: I'd suggest starting with Brodie Wade, giving us the thriller angle, and then add the paranormal twist. Caveat: I'm not a paranormal reader, so take my opinion with that in mind.

    The first 300: Good writing but too vague, too confused. That said, you've done enough to make me interested in the story, which is a good thing because it's not my normal cup of tea.

    Good luck.


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