Tuesday 6 November 2018

Diamond for a Ruby

Diamond for a Ruby by Stefan Nicholson (Amazon Print) PB RRP AU $5.00 (Kindle), AU$20.00 (Print) ISBN 9780648295334

Reviewed by Sam McNeil

This is a stand-alone spy-thriller book for the cross-over market that follows on from Nicholson’s first self-published book, Spy within a Ruby.

Set in England, the book begins with Ruby Peters, a M16 agent, in a pub paying tribute to her former boss, Roger Davis, when the barman slips her a note. It is from Davis who speaks from the grave with a coded message. Not knowing her drink is spiked, Peters returns home in a drunken state. From there she is arrested and taken to M16 where she is accused of murdering her friend Ilya Kasparov, a senior foreign agent, who is in fact a double agent. Thereafter Peters is in danger, fighting – with the help of her partner, Eric -- double-agents entrenched in MI6 who recruit mercenaries and a psychotic madman to kill her. Peter’s friends are injured and killed because of her involvement with Davis and she is betrayed by her own people.

There are numerous problems with this novel not the least of which is that it needs a good structural and copy edit. The narrative viewpoint shifts constantly and at random, and the story climax comes about two-thirds in with the remaining third about planning a wedding for someone Ruby hated at school. At times an unknown bad guy drops in an internal monologue. Notwithstanding this, there is a lot of exposition and telling the reader how the characters are feeling. Even the formatting of the book is problematic: there are no indented paragraphs, just blank lines between paragraphs.

One must admire an author who puts in so much effort and expense in writing and publishing his book, but this story could have been so much better if he had employed an editor and book designer.

Diamond for a Ruby is available from Amazon Print, Google-books and Kindle, and from the author PO Box 370, South Hobart TAS 7004. 

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