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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by J. L. Murray

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (A Niki Slobodian Novel)

Here are the first five sentences I read:

It’s not like the movies, where they don’t know they’re dead. They don’t often haunt people or places, and as far as I know they don’t befriend lonely children. If you could see them, you might not even know them from some of the living. Empty-eyed and looking around at the world like they can’t believe it’s all still there going on without them. Or maybe they’re seeing it for the first time.

 I like that this first five draws you in and gets you thinking, but I had a seriously hard time clicking Download even though Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was Free. Here’s why:

I don’t like weak sentences especially in the first paragraph. The constant use of ‘they’ or ‘they’re’ gives this section an ambiguous feel, but it’s also repetitive and anticlimactic. The reader can glean what J.L. Murray is talking about in the first sentence and definitely gets it by sentence two, so why not come out and state, plainly, that you’re character sees dead people? Ghosts? Spirits? Whatever term, it would’ve been better than ‘they.’ Also, sentence four bothers me. I’m all for using ‘Like’ when making comparisons, but this sentence would’ve been stronger without it.

Empty-eyed, they look around at the world in disbelief as if they can’t believe it’s all still there going on without them.

Despite this lackluster beginning, I did hit download because there were 15 positive reviews and I am just that curious as to whether this book by J.L. Murray will live up to the hype.

To recap: I wouldn’t have picked this book up if it weren’t Free. The first five didn’t do enough for me and weren’t strong enough to make me want to read it let alone pay for it. I did Download the book because it was Free and if it gets better I will put foot in mouth and leave a good review. I promise. 🙂


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