The Coat

Susan Cook, a residential real estate agent, has no reason to believe that her customer, Charles Holiday, is anything but an ordinary buyer. Charles is neither ordinary nor a buyer, but a man who is being chased by those he brought to justice. When his past catches up with him, Susan is thrown into a life-changing adventure. Charles is flying them to safety when his plane crashes. Susan, Charles, and a huge fur coat survive the crash. The coat protects the two of them from the elements, but not from Charles' enemies.

Genre

Mystery, adventure, drama, romance, danger

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 6

The title blends in with the rest of the yellows in the picture, making it hard to read.  I think that if you used a different color for it or chose a darker text box to go around it, it would solve the problem.

Book Blurb Score: 5

The phrase “ordinary buyer” is used twice in a row.  I know what you’re trying to go for, but the wording needs tweaked so it doesn’t sound redundant.  Maybe also take away the last two sentences so that it ends with “Susan is thrown into a life-changing adventure.”  Less is more in this case.  Just from reading the blurb I knew that the plane was going to crash, so it didn’t have that edge of your seat impact for me of wondering whether or not they were going to make it to their destination. 

Formatting Score: 10

I didn’t find any issues with the formatting.

Grammar & Spelling Score: 10

I didn’t find any issues with the spelling or grammar.

Plot & Structure Score: 4

There was an inconsistency on page 250 where I didn’t know what was going on because the name kept changing between Denny to Dennis, so I couldn’t figure out if it was the father or the son.  Another section from pages 147-149 I read four times to try to understand what was happening, and I ended up giving up on it and pushing on anyway.  Several sections I felt things happened just for the sake of plot and moving the story forward without building on what was already happening, like when the cell phone battery percentage was brought up when Denny was using his phone and he had to save it for an emergency, and right away Dennis conveniently showing up at the house.  This alone isn’t a bad thing, but it could have been worked in better so the next event wouldn’t be so predictable.  Again, there is promise in this, but work on hiding your intentions throughout the book.  Hint at things without giving them away.  Don’t give up all your secrets all at once.

Character Development Score: 3

This part was a bit harder for me.  But please bear with me. 

 

Susan and Julia seemed to be carbon copies of each other.  It was more than the apple not falling far from the tree.  Both would act impulsively when there was danger, often times running into a situation when there was no need or making excessive noise when they were supposed to be hiding.  When bad things happened, they both overreacted by either bursting out crying or laughing.

 

Susan was upset when Charles/Ryan changed how he was acting, but I couldn’t see a huge change in him other than not remembering details about his life.  He thought he was someone else but I, as the reader, thought he was acting no differently than he was before.  There wasn’t much of a buildup of chemistry between them, either.  It felt like one second they were just acquaintances and the next they were lusting after each other with nothing happening in-between to change their relationship. 

 

Lynanne often acted more like an adult than Susan and Charles/Ryan, but her intentions weren’t believable.  She has been on her own for a year and doesn’t know who is good and who is bad, but she is quick to trust them.  They could be lying, and she doesn’t care.  There was a good opportunity for some meaningful exchange and solid development there that was missed. 

 

Denny was the only one who showed some change.  The reader watches him go from meek to hero, even though it was his father that was causing a lot of the problem.  He’s dorky but loveable, and he’s easy to feel for when things go awry because his reactions are for the most part realistic.

 

The characters as a whole fell flat for me.  The story shows promise, but a bit more work needs to go into the main characters to really bring it all together.

Originality Score: 5

There’s a nice thing going on here, but it needs a little bit of work.  My main issue is Susan and Julia acting like, for lack of a better term, Mary-Sues.  The way they overreact and for the most part feel helpless without help from their love interest has been done again and again countless times.  They rush into danger without thinking so they both come across as clueless.  When Susan thought Charles/Ryan was dead, she was depressed, which would be understandable if they had known each other a long time, but the severity of her depression (not going to work, not showering, not taking care of herself) seems wasted on someone she fell head-over-heels for after such a short time, thus adding to what has become stereotypical of Mary-Sues.  A lot could be solved by spending more time on character development.

Pacing Score: 3

This book is very dialogue-heavy, and a lot of it could be cut out.  There were whole sections that read like a shopping list where the reader got every detail of what was said, even though most of it added nothing to the story.  It was easy to skim over sections where characters reiterated what just happened to them earlier, and while this is necessary for the other characters to hear sometimes, the reader doesn’t need a refresher of what happened a chapter or two ago.  A good rule of thumb when it comes to dialogue is if it doesn’t move the story forward, cut it out.  Also, as mentioned before, I found myself rereading certain passages just to get an idea of what was going on because the action was rushed.

Use of Language Score: 8

Passive voice is used more often than not.  Other than that, I found no issues.

Overall Readability Score: 6

Watching Denny grow as a character was one of my favorite parts of the book, and some of the interactions between Denny and Julia were humorous.  I also really enjoyed the beginning of the book when Julia was backing out of the driveway and Susan was watching her.  It pulled me in at first and made me want to know more.  I think The Coat shows promise, it just needs some polishing.  It’s a good starting point to something heart-warming and adventurous, and with some work (mainly on the characters and the dialogue filler), it could be something amazing.  

This book received a critic's score of 60 out of 100 possible points.

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