Reviews

Emails from Jennifer Cooper

29 of 30 stars

This innovative and unusual novel features an epistolary and diaristic structure that utilizes emails from a divorcee over forty to an early boyfriend about her life since their time together. In the process, she captures the running essence of her life before, during, and after the break-up with her husband. The unread emails are rich with meaning and the woman is an engaging, breezy, and irreverent character who grows upon you as she describes her life with substantial verve and a nervous intensity that also comes through in the writing. Many characters flit through her life and she is engagingly open about all the encounters including quite a lot of sex, not all of it with her husband who was cheating on her with her knowledge. The dialogue, including interior monologue, is catchy and displays her persona beautifully. Many other interesting additions include lengthy confession of his misdeeds by her errant husband, a blog post, narrative poem, and excerpts from a friend’s writings. Her emails, which are sometimes written in a sort of stream of consciousness fashion, are filled with fascinating reflections as well as references to current events, luminaries, films, et al. It’s difficult not to be taken by her saga.

–Writer’s Digest

“Scott explores the complexities associated with father/daughter relationships, the messiness involved with past love interests, and what it’s truly like to tackle work and parenthood alone – all through the fresh perspective of a compelling and unapologetically honest heroine . . . irresistible.”

–Rain Taxi Review of Books 

Asbury Park

“Rob Scott is one of the most talented and entertaining writers in fiction today. This book is about ghosts, politics, and vengeance as much as it is about love, suffering, and human weaknesses. The multilayered narrative is never dull and keeps a great balance between flashes of humor, anxiety, horror, home life, mystery, and violence. With Sailor Doyle, Scott has created a flawed, likeable character that works perfectly as the narrator for a story that shifts seamlessly between things as diverse as conjugal crises and a trip to the bottom of the ocean with the rotting corpse of a dead woman.  Asbury Park is more of what made 15 Miles so good: a noir-esque police procedural with a heavy dose of creepy psychological horror and a few supernatural elements sprinkled in at the right time. This is not a regular horror story or a crime novel; it’s a mixture of both that keeps the tension high and the surprises coming for more than 500 pages. That is no easy task, and Scott has now pulled it off twice.”

–Horror Talk 

“Scott perfectly blends mystery and horror in his second novel featuring Virginia police detective Sailor Doyle . . . providing a moving portrait of a tormented man attempting to hold his family together. “

–Publishers Weekly

“Sailor’s a hugely engaging character, and his supporting cast no less so, with the setting of Asbury Park itself as alive as the damaged souls hurtling through it . . . it’s a dark pleasure to spend more time in the company of Sailor Doyle . . .”

-SFX

“This is not your usual crime novel and neither is it horror, the world Scott has crafted is actually real, real areas and descriptions and therein lies the horror behind the scenes of American society; the drug problems and corruption . . . Sailor is one of the most broken but believable characters coming out of this genre, and Scott’s naked truth and depictions of American society are the most refreshing account I have come across since Dennis Lehane.”

-Snakebite Horror

“(Sailor) makes a compelling narrator for this story that begins as a moderately straightforward criminal case, and descends into a realm of torment and haunting . . . a tale of revenge, horror and the lengths that parents will go to in order to care for their children, no matter their age. It’s also a tale of descent and redemption (in some cases literally), and a chilling ghost story.”

–Sci-Fi Bulletin

“This tale generates a crime story that will be a firm favourite with readers of not only police procedural but also the noir genre with the book’s realistic flavour. Cracking stuff.”

–Falcata Times

“Combining elements of psychological horror and fantasy with a stark and gritty crime thriller is no mean trick, yet when it’s done with the aplomb that Scott manages, it makes for a gripping read . . . From Scott’s honest depiction of his main character’s struggles with his personal demons to the way he gradually cranks up the tension as the book proceeds, it becomes harder and harder to put the book down.”

–Seattle Post Intelligencer

Read the “Bristow Beat” article by Stacy Shaw here.

15 Miles

“Scott’s first solo novel mixes hard-hitting police procedural with creepy psychological horror . . .This is more an in-depth character study of a desperate man struggling towards redemption than out-and-out horror . . . a compulsively page-turning debut.”

The Guardian

15 miles is an ingenious mix of American Gothic horror story and forensic investigation . . . which rattles along at a great pace. Scott proves himself a master of the macabre.”

Crime Squad

“Equal parts Stephen King and Scott Sigler, 15 miles is first and foremost a compelling character piece . . . 15 miles ultimately proves itself to be the best kind of ghost story . . .”

SFX

“An unusual American Gothic horror with political detours; a promising debut forRob Scott.”

Total Sci-Fi Online

“With the macabre elements rooted in reality giving credence to everything that happens no matter how strange or outlandish they may be, this is as well crafted and intelligent a thriller as you’re liable to read this year. If you’re like me and have no taste for horror stories or so-called psychological thrillers . . . 15 mileswill go a long way to restoring your faith . . .”

Blogcritics Books

“Scott has thrown us into a world of suspense and horror in 15 miles . . . This one’s worth reading if you like subtlety and suspense. The horror element is tucked in bed comfortably with the gumshoe detective.”

Australian Horror Writers Association (see the interview here)

See Ian Shapira’s Washington Post 2009 interview with Rob Scott here

“Weaving a tight and credible plot that is delivered with heart and not inconsiderable flair Scott exhibits an exemplary talent for character and dialogue, keeping the pages turning through personal back-story, cultural commentary and technical procedural alike, and impelling the reader to race for the finish.”

The List

“This interesting novel is propelled along by Scott’s powerful portrayal of the unstable Doyle . . . Doyle’s personal problems, and his possible supernatural link to his dead sister, add to the suspense . . . the novel builds to a good climax.”

The Canberra Times

“Before you naysayers start groaning about another severely damaged cop with a drink and drugs problem, let it be said that Rob Scott has created a brilliant protagonist in Doyle . . . it marks the introduction of another gifted author to genre fiction . . . this is a good story, well written, and will keep you enthralled right up to the conclusion.”

British Fantasy Society

“At its heart, 15 miles is a thriller with elements of horror and the supernatural, but in truth, it’s much more than that. It’s a character study of self-identification and discovery. It the story of a drowning man trying to reach for a line and hoping it’s not too late. In short, it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. Many thrillers are fast-paced and filled with action, but one wonders if the authors really care about their characters. There’s no question that Scott cares about Doyle. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book about Sailor Doyle, Asbury Park.”

The Science Fiction Site

A book that gets its proverbial hooks in you in the first ten pages is usually good. Rob Scott’s 15 Miles only needed five to get the job done and didn’t disappoint me in the many pages that followed . . . Scott sits comfortably outside of the box with a unique noir style that sprinkles in horror touches here and there while safely keeping both feet in the realm of the real . . . While Scott’s writing is tight, fast-paced and carries the story very well throughout . . . it’s his use of horror elements that truly put this noir in the must-read category . . . I don’t think there’s a better mix of noir police procedural and creepy psychological horror out there.

Horror Talk

The dark brooding cover of this debut novel suggests the supernatural, the unknown – very fitting for a book where the theme is an ever changing thing and is like trying to catch smoke . . . A fine gothic crime debut – put me in mind of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels – no bad thing at all.

Books and Writers

The Hickory Staff

[A] white-knuckle ride of a story”

The Times of London

“Combine the storytelling of Goodkind, the world-building of Donaldson, a dash of black humour, an unhealthy dose of dark magic and plenty of action, and you get a confection as irresistible and entertaining as this brilliant debut.”

Book Club Associates

“Don’t take it from me. Just read the first three pages and you’ll be hooked . . . a series that could easily become as legendary as Donaldson’s.”

Outland

“They’ve been able to take a familiar theme and give it a new life and depth . . . have managed to make it seem like no one has ever written this type of story before . . . a tantalyzing opening volume to what promises to be an exciting sequence of books . . . well worth reading, and what’s better is that you know there’s more of the same still to come.”

–Richard Marcus, Blogcritics.org (see the interview here)

“Classic portal fantasy” –Guardian

“If you loved Narnia as a kid but feel too grown up to be reading about talking animals, this could be your perfect book. This so far brilliant dual-world trilogy starts with an unconventional bang . . . If you enjoy a good fantasy adventure and want a bit of escapism this summer then this will not disappoint.”

Waterstone’s Booksellers’ Reviews

“This hefty debut from the late Gordon (1944-2005) and his son-in-law Scott launches a sprawling fantasy trilogy with touches of effective horror. After a lengthy setup, timid bank manager Steven Taylor, athletic history teacher Mark Jenkins and law student Hannah Sorenson fall through a magical tapestry into a politically complex world under the dominion of body-hopping demonic sorcerer Nerak. Several independent subplots and an unwieldy supporting cast slowly draw together as Steven discovers his budding magical powers, Mark finds romance with a fierce resistance fighter and Hannah seeks a way home. Though somewhat unfocused in their plotting and often rehashing standard fantasy elements, Scott and Gordon keep the story moving entertainingly to the end, less a conclusion than a pause before the simultaneously released sequel.”

Publishers Weekly

“This series opener combines old-fashioned action-adventure with epic fantasy, creating a world that resonates with echoes of Earth’s history yet displays its own unique properties. Villains abound, from soul-draining demons to twisted, soulless men, in a bold first novel that deserves a wide readership from fans of classic as well as cross-over fantasy. Highly recommended for all fantasy collections.”

Library Journal, December 2008

“This is an excellent fantasy novel. The world of Eldarn is thoughtfully realised and the enemy is terrifying! The characters are believable, particularly Steven and Mark, thrown into a situation totally outside thier previous experience. Dive in and enjoy!”

Waterstone’s Booksellers

“Do you enjoy fantasy? If so ,read on. A great story tripping between two different worlds. A monstrous villain to boot. Brilliant start to a new trilogy.”

Waterstone’s Booksellers

Lessek’s Key

“It is the work of imaginative and gifted storytellers.”

Blogcritics.org

The authors return with another episode of this classic portal adventure. With unforgettable characters and a plot twisting like a hurricane, the book sucks you through your imagination’s own portal.

Book Club Associates

“Intelligent fantasy.”

SFX

“Scott continues the fantasy trilogy, created from the notes he and his late father-in-law Gordon wrote when they plotted the series. In this grand-scale installment, bank manager Steven Taylor races across the United States to retrieve the magical Lessek’s Key and help his friend Mark Jenkins, who is trapped in the fantasy world Eldarn. Nerak, demonic sorcerer-prince of Eldarn, leaves a trail of horror across modern-day Colorado as Mark and his companions travel to the home of the murdered Larion Senate and the magical table opened by the key, while Steven’s girlfriend, Hannah Sorenson, struggles through a forest of ghosts and mysterious visions and attempts to infiltrate Nerak’s palace. The story moves along briskly, though Mark’s sudden racial sensitivity and expert archer Garec’s crisis of conscience are jarring diversions. Much is left dangling to await the concluding volume, due out in March.”

Publishers Weekly

 


The Larion Senators

“Full of well fleshed-out characters and set in the magnificently realised, magical world of Eldarn, this is one of the best fantasy series of the past ten years.”

Book Club Associates

“It not only lives up to the expectations for a finale, it exceeds them by a long shot . . . With The Larion Senators about to be released not only will that journey have been completed successfully, it will be done in spectacular fashion.”

–Richard Marcus, Blogcritics.org (see the interview here)