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22nd February 2014

Review: The Avenged by Charles Prandy

Alister Pearson predicts that Charles Prandy’s self-published Jacob Hayden series is likely to gain him some loyal fans, despite a few typos

With the global rise of the Kindle and other e-book readers, publishing has never been easier for the amateur writer. Charles Prandy is a self-published author from Maryland and promises to write until his brain goes numb regardless of whether a professional publisher is interested or not. He attended Wesley Theological Seminary for two years, and it was there that he got the idea to write his first novel, The Last of the Descendants, which was published in May 2008. It is his Jacob Hayden detective-series, though, that has earned him the most attention from the public.

 The Avenged is the first of the Jacob Hayden trilogy. It is proving immensely popular on Amazon at the moment, receiving over one hundred downloads a day. “You took everything from me!” screams the lead character, Homicide Detective Hayden, to his enemy in the prologue of the book. The story is bookended by the final confrontation between the detective and the evil judge. I do wonder if the prologue slightly wrecks the proceeding story, for as we learn of Hayden’s close friend and colleague Charlie and his perfect wife Theresa, the question is not are they going to die but when are they going to die, which removes some of the suspense from what is otherwise a very gripping novel.

Despite the small plot destroyer in the prologue, Prandy is able to produce plenty of sharp turns that will prove unexpected to the reader as Hayden gets embroiled in a case that is more complex than he could ever have imagined. The punchy chapters keep the story at a blistering pace but Prandy’s pragmatic style of writing means it is easy to follow. Hayden is an admirable lead character who will receive sympathy from most readers for what he has to endure.

 However, the fact that it is self-published means that there are some issues with the editing such as clumsy grammatical errors. Some of the dialogue is unrealistic, for example I would question whether a 60-year-old judge and criminal mastermind would use the insults ‘dickhead’ and ‘dipshit’ to address his footmen. Also, the way Prandy presents female characters is a bit antiquated in that they either only serve as condiments to the male characters or disguise themselves as men.

The first of the Jacob Hayden series is likely to gain Prandy some loyal fans because the plot is so involved and full of action. Whether he can repeat this in the next chapter of the detective’s life will be interesting to see. What is an undoubted success, though, is that a budding writer is able to get his story out there without worrying about satisfying publishers.

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