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E-Book Review Volume 1

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TITLE: Quatrain
AUTHOR: John Medler
GENRE: Fiction
PAGES: 271
a thriller. It’s plotted, like many books nowadays, to
transfer easily into a screenplay, but, by its very
nature, this genre must rocket along, carrying its
readers with it. Introspection, description or anything
which stands in the way of moving the story forward
must be reduced to a minimum. Here, the dialogue
doesn’t improve by much, even when the action
In 1557, 16th Century oracle, Nostradamus, published
his opus entitled, "Les Propheties"--a collection of
1,000 four-line, rhyming French verses known as
"quatrains". However, only 942 quatrains have ever
been found...until now. Can a cynical college professor
and his two rebellious teenagers find the
Nostradamus' 58 lost quatrains and use them to
prevent an impending terrorist attack? And will anyone
believe them?
moves from 15th century France to 21st century
America and the author feels the constant need to
describe everything with a plethora of adjectives. It
can’t seem to be able to decide whether to be a Jane
Austen or a James Bond. This book could work if only
the author would pay attention to how story, and
particularly the thriller genre, works. Back story is only
necessary if it’s relevant or necessary to move the
plot along. Without that justification it is no more than
window dressing and that is not what the thriller reader
Don’t get me wrong, there is some good stuff here,
but it needs work. The author should have another
look at the structure, which is the basic framework of
all storytelling. As it stands, it is flawed, but it can be
rectified and would make for a much better story. Also,
the author should take onboard the adage that the art
is in the rewriting, not the writing. Rewriting is a horror
and a chore, especially if you’ve poured your heart
and soul into getting the stuff onto the page in the first
place. But without it, the good book that lies within
will always remain buried.
My heart sank when I opened Quatrain. Single-
spacing shows up the deficiencies of the pdf format
and the sight of those unrelenting blocks of text was
Things didn’t improve as I started reading as it
opens with a childbirth during which the mother dies.
All very dramatic, I’m sure, but I don’t know these
people and don’t care for them. Things didn’t improve
with a description of the father which reads, ‘He was
not a horrible man’ which comes out of nowhere and
seems to have no connection to the narrative so far.
The dialogue which follows is risible too, with
characters failing to speak to each other, but instead
declaiming that they are characters in a book and
therefore don’t need to be believable. - My God! Cate,
I love you so! Do not leave me! Only bad drama reads
that way.
But wait, some hope survives, the last sentence
of the first chapter reveals that the new-born is the
niece of Joan of Arc. Took it’s time and nearly lost
me, but it’s hooked me for at least another chapter.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase, this is sub-Dan Brown
stuff, trying to latch onto the recent interest in the
paranormal and secret societies. In that regard it
works quite well and the premise is interesting, but the
language is much too flowery and over-descriptive for
All reviews are my personal opinions and shouldn’t
be taken as gospel. They are meant to be
constructive and I hope writers will take them in
that spirit. Most things I criticise just mean that
more work is required.
If you ask about my qualification to pass judgement
on my fellow writers, well I’ve been a professional
writer for over 35 years. That means people have
been paying me to write for that long. I’m also a
trained journalist, have worked for the BBC and
have written for print, stage, radio, TV and screen.
You’re welcome to send in your own reviews.