I just finished a first novel by an authour, which is also the first book I’ve read published through Xlibris. If you want to hear my opinion about a love story set in a town full of vampires, you can Read More.

General Information

Title: Stacy’s Heart
Authour: Cary Rainey
Original Publication Date: 2001
ISBN: 1-4010-1709-6
Cover Price: $8 for an e-book, $16 for trade paperback, or $24 for a hardcover
The author’s official website is here.

Premise

Author Kyle Crader left his hometown Birmingham, Alabama as soon as he could. The only part of that town he missed was a woman named Stacy. His first novel was set in that town, and he was dragged back there on a promotional tour connected with the movie version. He uses this opportunity to try and win Stacy.

Of course, if that was the whole premise, it wouldn’t belong on a sci-fi/fantasy website, now, would it? No, it seems that a series of murders inspired by Crader’s book were committed by vampires, who want Kyle to lead them to glory.

High Point

The first section of part three. I can’t go into more details and keep this review spoiler free.

Low Point

Any random portion of part one. Anyone who thinks an editor’s only job is checking for misplaced commas should be forced to read this book.

The Scores

In terms of originality, I must admit that I haven’t read anything quite like this. I also admit that I’m not a big horror buff. (I read and reviewed this at the author’s request.) The storylines are unoriginal, but I’ve never seen them in this combination. I give it 3 out of 6.

As far as the imagery goes, all the relevant descriptions are concise, but not necessarily clear. For example, people with similar musical tastes as the author will have the added bonus of actually recognizing the songs he mentions by name. The rest of us would benefit from a brief description of the style or content of the song instead. I give the imagery 3 out of 6.

The story has a lot of potential, but needs some trimming. The ideas are there, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization was not what it could have been. In fact, Little Elton and Duke were the only two characters that seemed to have a complete psyche. The main characters were just drifting through life, going from one joint to the next. Kyle had the added aspect of being in love with Stacy for reasons that never seemed particularly clear. The characters might mean more to others, but I see the same drab lifelessness I saw in all of my friends that developed drug habits. Those people aren’t friends anymore, because I find them boring. The same goes here. 2 out of 6.

As far as the emotional response is concerned, it was severely saddled by my inability to identify with the characters on the page. The author just couldn’t make me care about these people, so I couldn’t care about what happens to them. 2 out of 6.

Now it’s time to talk about the editing. I open with Larry Niven’s fourth law for writers: “It is a sin to waste the reader’s time.” This book is a three hundred page build-up to a two hundred page payoff. The first portions and flashbacks are repetitive and redundant. The love story aspect was never well formed, so things didn’t really get interesting until the vampire plot started to get going. 1 out of 6.

Overall, this is a book that contains some nice ideas that are begging to get out. The author’s relative inexperience can be overcome, and Mr. Rainey can probably come out with some good stuff, in time. However, as long as he publishes with Xlibris (or any other publisher that does not provide editors,) I’m going to pass on his work. If anyone reading this works for a publishing company, take a look at this book to see a writer who has some great potential. The rest of you might want to wait until that publisher is found. Overall, it gets 2 out of 6.

In total, Stacy’s Heart receives 21 out of 42.