The charming, sexy Jon Harrell reviews ALL YOU LEAVE BEHIND thusly:
I just read a new novella by this fella named Sean Cregan. I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. The Levels is an excellent set piece. Having not yet read the novel by the same name, I found this very easy to get into. I’ll be posting a review on Amazon forthwith.
What I really enjoyed about it, though, is the writing. The author’s previous novels (the Alex Rourke stories) were good, yes. The plot was fast-paced and the third act was always thrilling (and fun) in each of those novels, but reading this latest work shows just how far the author has come in writing both dialogue and action. For starters, I believe Cregan is English, but I didn’t notice a single extraneous “u” in the entire piece. But to be a Brit, it must be damned difficult to conceive of American conversational tones, and Cregan does an admirable job. The action sequences were tight and sharp, avoiding that trap of over-analyzing every angle-of-fire blast and feint-parry-thrust. I didn’t have to wade through the character’s plan of “how the fight would go down” and then have to watch it as well. The action was really more reaction; I saw instinct instead of rote script.
Overall, a very enjoyable read. The afterword was great as well; I was really interested in hearing his take on why he chose the same set piece for this one.
Oh, and it comes with the first three chapters of Murder Park, the next Cregan novel (slated for release in January 2012, if I’m not mistaken).
In the interests of disclosure, I should point out that Jon, as well as being charming and sexy, is one of the two friends who provided the main character’s name, so he’s not an unknown reader, and he’s one of those who responded with a “Yes please!” when I did a shout out on Twitter to see who’d want a freebie reviewy copy of AYLB. However, it’s a genuine review, and he liked it enough to then buy a copy, bless him.
Of particular interest to me is how the story stands up when you’ve not read THE LEVELS, since it shares the setting (apparently, perfectly well), and how good my Americanisation is these days since I made the effort to spell the whole thing in US English (unlike “Americanisation”) as well as, obviously, getting the turns of phrase used right (apparently, perfectly well too. Hooray!).
(Talk of extraneous “u”s, incidentally, is a long-running in-joke about us Brits on the gaming board where he posted this, where I know him from; the Amazoun variant misses that ouut.)
I’m not going to habitually post everything everyone says about AYLB, but this is the opening bout of feedback and it seemed worth mentioning. And, y’know, shout out from a mate, all that.