Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review - Underneath by Michael Cargill

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm giving you an Indie Fever post. My second indie review of the year. Sit back and enjoy!

Indie Fever is dedicated to readers of indie books and to indie authors. I signed up to review at least eight indie books this year. It's a great idea and a wonderful cause! Here's the link: Indie Fever

Underneath won a review on my December 12 Days of Christmas indie author contest. The author hooked me right in with his pitch and I promptly bought the book which I read in just a few days. I give you my review.

From a reader's perspective:
To be frank, Underneath's main character, Hugh, scared the bejesus out of me. But he was so compelling I just had to keep reading. His odd thought process oftentimes gave me chills and made me wonder how many people like Hugh I'd passed by in my lifetime and never noticed. One of the supporting characters, Clare, was also well done, and I found myself identifying with her quickly. She has gumption and drive; both are qualities I admire a lot. The pacing was great and I flew through the book without realizing how much I'd read. I got a few surprises when the same exact words showed up at different times, and it thrilled and delighted me. Something else I liked was the author being from the UK. I learned some new words!!

From an editor's perspective:
I'd like to see a little more refinement of sentence construction and punctuation usage. I can overlook it if there are just a few but this book had a number of them. Short, choppy sentences left me stumbling over the words on more than one occasion. Plotline was bang on. I got the feeling this book was intended to be third person omniscient but it came off as third person limited with head hopping because one chapter would be about Hugh and another about Clare with snippets of other peoples' thoughts or feelings. I really only needed to see the story from two perspectives: Hugh's and Clare's. Quips now and then about random peoples' thoughts or feelings left me dangling (not in a good way). I think more character development of Hugh and Clare could've come from making this one small change.

Now, for my rating:
1 star for a terrifying main character.
1 star for rounding out the two characters I loved as much as was done.
1 star for bringing me to the UK and teaching me; as well as the surprises.
- 1 star for writing style (this is person by person so you may like it. I didn't).
- 1 star for including too many characters' thoughts and for punctuation blips.
3 out of 5 stars. Recommended reading if you like to be just a hair horrified at what could be going on in someone's mind.

You can find the book on Amazon here: Underneath for $3.30.

As far as the cover goes, I really like this one and feel it gives a good idea of what's going on in the story. One small tweak that could make it better is centering all the type. A general rule of design is to either left flush, right flush, or center everything if you do it once. Consistency is key! It could use some kerning as well but that's just aesthetics from a typography nerd.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Great review! I love learning UK words! My husband laughs because I'll start cursing using British slang after reading certain books.

    1. Thanks, Heather! I aim to please :) There were a couple I looked up just so I'd get the idea behind the meaning :)

  2. Hurrah, glad you liked it! And thanks, of course, for taking the time to read and review my stuff.

    I can't really argue with your criticisms, 'cos they make sense and you didn't call me any nasty names.

    Someone else gave this a 1-star review the other week. It was a real ranty review that made me laugh, so I wasn't upset or anything.

    Oh, and I also learned a new word today: kerning.

    I'm going to ponder it over the weekend, the sound of it appeals to me.

    Kerning. To kern, or not to kern, that is the question.

    "I got kerned on the way back from work! Can you believe it?"

    Also, I've still got those postcards you sent me. They smell terrific.

    1. No problemo. I try my darndest to make sense and I never call nasty names. I read that one star review and thought, "Wow, she should've read the whole book!" because, frankly, I think it's perfectly normal for a person to act/think like Hugh did. It may be disgusting to read about, but at least it's the truth.

      Kerning is moving two letters closer together or further apart. :)

      Thanks for the comment, Michael. I'm glad you're happy with the review.


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