Monday, March 10, 2014

Kindle Spotlight -- Automatic Woman

Today we have Nathan Yocum's steampunk novel Automatic Woman.

The story centers around Jacob "Jolly" Fellows, a cockney thug who works in London for Bow Street Firm, a Pinkerton-type organization. Jolly's jobs range from investigative work to bounty-hunting. One day he gets sent to talk with one Dr. Saxon. Saxon has built an automaton ballerina and it has gone missing. Jolly takes his statement and leaves. He returns later to Saxon's theater to find the titular automatic woman crushing the life out of the poor doctor. Jolly manages to beat her until she stops functioning, but he passes out from injuries he sustained in the fight. He awakens later to find himself arrested for Saxon's murder. The coppers don't buy his story, and it looks like he'll hang for the crime. However, mysterious benefactors pay his bail on the condition he retrieve (steal) the homicidal automaton from the evidence locker and turn it over to them so they can study it and find out how it works. He complies, but in doing so he unwittingly becomes a pawn in a battle between criminal masterminds. He must navigate a veritable minefield populated by historical and literary figures such as Charles Darwin, Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle and mad Russian Rasputin. Does Jolly have what it takes to make it out of this alive and protect those he cares about?

Sadly, I must report the review copy I was given by Nathan Yocum is rife with poor editing. At numerous points he fails to add a space after periods, leading to flawed sentences. I don't know if the copy he's selling on Amazon suffers from this, but I urge caution when buying it.

Now, ordinarily I wouldn't recommend stories that suffer from a lack of editing. However, in this case I will do so because the plot is just that good. The narrative features compelling characters and the kind of villains you love to hate. Yocum also does a good job of conveying Jolly's simple-yet-honest nature. He's really a lovable oaf despite his lack of class. And, most importantly, the book becomes a page-turner towards the end and provides a satisfying conclusion to the story.

Bottom line: If you can look past the typos, you'll find a quality story. Just remember to sample it before handing over the money for it.

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