Thanks to Jack Magnus at Readers’ Favorite for a five-star review of Ed, Not Eddie.
Here’s the full-text:
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Ed, Not Eddie: An Eli Sharpe Mystery is a private investigator mystery novel written by Max Everhart. Eli’s been called to investigate a series of threatening letters that had been received by Ed Leviner, a collegiate knuckleball pitcher who is being seriously considered by the major leagues. While she doesn’t seem all that concerned about the letters, her father, Leland, is, and Eli is working at his behest. The small town atmosphere of Cook County, South Carolina is a far cry from Eli’s urban haunts in Asheville, North Carolina, his adopted hometown, and the more Eli hears about the entangled relationships between the possible suspects, the more he is convinced that this small town harbors a dangerous person who seems bent on thwarting Ed’s major league career, even if they have to kill her to do it. Major league baseball is a bittersweet memory for the private eye, whose own chances at bat were destroyed by his alcoholism. Eli’s determined to make sure Ed gets her turn.
Max Everhart’s private investigator mystery novel, Ed, Not Eddie: An Eli Sharpe Mystery, is fast-paced, exciting and filled with twists and turns. This is the first Eli Sharpe Mystery that I’ve read; however, the author included enough background information to allow me to enjoy this book on its own. Everhart’s characters are complex and authentic, especially Sharpe and his mentor and friend, Ernest Carpenter, but the author makes each and every character seen in this compelling and gritty story stand out in full relief. The plot is first-rate, and I particularly enjoyed the ongoing references to the fictional private eye Jim Rockford and the classic noir mystery writers. Then there’s Ed, the main star of the entire tale, whose story reads like a psychological thriller; one that I’ll be puzzling over for some time. I had a marvelous time reading this book and intend to catch up with the previous books in the series. Ed, Not Eddie is most highly recommended.
Writing a novel with shifting narrative perspectives is good fun–for the author and the reader. The author gets a chance to really develop characters and voices, while the reader gets to experience the story from multiple perspectives. Some really great novels have shifting narrative perspectives. . .Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash, and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, to name but three.
My forthcoming crime thriller Alphabet Land has three different narrators, and it got me thinking about some “rules” for multiple narrative perspectives. I came up with four, if ever you’re looking to try your hand at this.
- Stay with one perspective for an entire chapter. And when you do this, make sure to establish which character you’re following in the very first paragraph, the first sentence preferably. Otherwise, you risk alienating/confusing the reader, which is quick way to get him or her to give up on your book.
- Move the story forward with every narrative shift. This means, of course, that the plot should progress with each new chapter, but, perhaps less obviously, the characters–all of them–need to evolve right along with the story. Doing that will only serve to increase the tension, and keep the reader hooked.
- If using third person narrators, you must remain consistent. For example, if you allow the reader access to one of your narrator’s internal dialog, then you need to do that for all other narrators as well. Another example: if you include very little backstory for one narrator, and instead, rely on action and/or dialog to develop the character (which, as a writer, I recommend, and as a reader I prefer), then do that for all other narrators, too. Ditto style, tone, syntax, pacing, etc. (Note: if you’re using first person when writing with multiple narrators. . .all bets are off.
Bottom line, writing in multiple perspectives is a great way to challenge yourself as a writer, and it can be a deeply satisfying experience for a reader. If you have any other good novels that use this technique, drop me a line. Would love to hear from you.