Book Review of Seven Bridges by Ciana Stone
First things first, I love the cover. Simple, but effective. Black and white with just a hint of blood red. You know right away exactly what kind of book this is.
The story is, for the most part, well done. It reminds me of the Dean Koontz books I read years ago, and if you’re a fan of that style, you will most likely enjoy this. But it does have some issues. There is an editor credited, however, I feel the novel suffers from a lack of professional editing.
For starters, there is a prologue, titled “Present 2020”. And then the first chapter is “January 3, 2020”. This means that the prologue here is happening after the first chapter. I found this a bit odd and confusing, especially as the rest of the book frequently jumps around in time between present day and flashbacks. A prologue’s purpose is to offer some bit of crucial information or point of view that chapter one cannot offer. It should catch the reader’s attention in a way that is different from the rest of the book. If your prologue doesn’t do that, get rid of it. Nine times out of ten, that is the case, as it is here. This prologue is not different from the rest of the chapters, so it should just be another chapter.
Also, there are a great deal of flashbacks in the book that I think could have been dealt with better. First of all, they are italicized, and should not be. We should know we are in a flashback by the way it’s written, starting with a few lines of past present tense and then slipping into simple past tense. Italics are not needed, and when used in large chunks of text like they are here, can be hard to read. Flashbacks should also be brief (these are very long), and the backstory should be shown, not told. We should never lose sight that this is a memory. I had trouble with that in Seven Bridges.
There are times, too, where the author is telling us who sat where in the car. The reader doesn’t need to know this. Every sentence should either move the plot forward or reveal something about a character. Telling us who sat where, or that she took off her shoes, does not do either of those things.
Also, a novel should have each paragraph indented, and there should be no space between paragraphs, so there’s a formatting issue here. But these are all things I think an editor should catch.
As I said before, the story itself is good. It’s well thought out, and there is a definite surprise twist near the end. One thing I really liked about this book was the changes in point of view. Two or three sections are written from the point of view of the killer, and I would have liked to have seen more of this. And while italics should not be used for flashbacks, they do work marvellously for the times Izzi hears the killer’s voice in her head. I think this part was really well done. To sum it up – the story is good, but in need of some better editing!
My review at Reedsy can be found here