Review of the Novel “Oracle” by JC Martin

About a month or so ago, I was sent a copy of Oracle by the publisher, and was asked to do a review.  It sat in my inbox for a while.  I had too many books that I WANTED to read, and I really didn’t want to trudge through a police-case style mystery.  Just not my thing, you know?

Honestly, reading the blurb, the story didn’t really interest me, but after reading a novel that I purchased because I wanted to read it–and being disappointed—I decided to give this one a try.

Once again, I will use the Oreo Cookie Concept for reviewing:  Start with the crunchy goodness, dig into the squishy bad, and then end on a crunchy good note.

To start, were there any explosions?  (mild spoiler)  Yep, there are.  Freebie cookie there. (Yeah, I know that’s not fair, but it’s my rating system)

What POV was it written in?  First Person “I”.

UGH!  I hate first person!  Lose half a cookie.

Wait a minute… it’s also in third person.  Huh?  Lose another half a cookie … Let’s get back to this in a little bit.

The Top of the Cookie:  The Crunchy Goodness:

The characters in this story are very believable.  We have a detective and his family facing his own personal problems who is put on a murder case that develops into a serial killer case.  JC Martin did a great job of portraying a man devoted to his family, but dedicated to finding a killer.  The sideline characters are also well played out.  None are stale and forgettable.  Even the rough and tough boss gets to show her soft side, giving us a giggle.  Well Done

The creamy filling… the bad stuff

I’ve harped on typos before.  I was delighted to not find any through most of my reading.  Then, unfortunately, BAM… there it is.  Now, I would have forgiven just one, but it was in the middle of the climax.  I mean, we’re in a life or death situation.  I am completely in the story.  Then SNAG.  What?  I had to stop and re-read the sentence.  I hate that.  The typo reminded me I was reading.  Sorry.  Lose half a cookie. If it were somewhere else, I may have overlooked it.

Points of view:  (Minor Spoiler) The novel starts in the POV of a magician.  It was fine, until the end of the first chapter.  Let’s just say he’s no-longer in the story anymore.  Okay… he’s dead.  I said it.  He’s victim #1.

From here, we are thrown into chapter #2.  This chapter is first person “I” from the POV of the detective.  To me, it was very jarring.  Moving ahead, we will be inside the head of the detective, the killer, and also in the POV of each victim right before they get killed.  After a while I got used to it, but it did bother me in the beginning.  (Cookie already subtracted above)

Now, there is one other POV in the story that I will keep to myself.  Even as I read it, it bothered me because I knew the author was “cheating”.  I cannot tell you more without spoiling the story, but I didn’t like it.  It was done just to add added tension, and I found it unnecessary.  Lose half of a cookie.

Pacing

For the most part, the pacing was great.  Somewhere right before the climax, I was thinking.  “Wait, there’s gonna be another murder? Get on with it.”  Now, I am perfectly willing to admit that I read a few novellas before this, and may have become accustomed to a faster read… but I did get a little impatient in the middle of the story.  This could just be me, though, so I’m not subtracting a cookie for this.

The bottom of the cookie:  Ending on a good note.

Believe it or not, I Actually liked this novel.  Not loved, but liked it.  On a great note, I picked out the “killer” early on in the story.  (I tend to do this a lot)  And I thought I was right until the last few pages.  If I was right, I would have subtracted another cookie.  I really enjoyed that JC Martin gave enough plausible suspects to keep us guessing.  Well done.

POV Switching… while I didn’t like it at first, I did get used to the different POVs once I realized what she was doing.  If I was suddenly thrust into a random person’s head I thought:  “Okay, this one’s a gonner,” and I moved on.  It worked.

Writing style.  JC Martin’s style is sleek and very readable.  She pulls you in to the story, and keeps you reading.  Normally, I am a chapter a night kind of reader.  Frequently, I’d read for longer.  Especially during the climax.  I didn’t want to put the book down.  I kept jumping and biting my nails.  Nicely done.

So… how’d this all pan out?  She got one extra cookie for an explosion… that’s starting out with six cookies, but she dropped down to five because of the POV switching.  I took away half a cookie for the typo in the worst possible spot in the story.  I also took a half for the extra “cheat” POV that I thought was unnecessary.

So that leaves four out of five Oreos for JC Martin’s Oracle

Am I now a mystery fan?  Nope, I’m still not hoping on this bandwagon.

Would I buy another JC Martin novel?  Yes, if the topic seemed interesting.  I’ll have to see if she’d be willing to write something with dragons.  🙂

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27 responses to “Review of the Novel “Oracle” by JC Martin

  1. Love the way you rate a book. Gives me some food for thought, it just so happens. Great post; great timing (for me). Thanks.

  2. Steven S. Walsky

    Nice post, and I agree with your points about what can detract from a novel. However, I have to disagree with “The creamy filling… the bad stuff.” A good novel should be like an Oreo, the first and last pages are the inviting parts, but it’s the wonderful creamy filling that makes the novel, and of course the Oreo. And especially when this is the 100 birthday year of the Oreo! 🙂

  3. I like your cookie review system, although now I’m hungry. Scary little bit in there about typos. Thanks.

  4. i read a quite a bit of reviews in some our various genres and including music as well. you have a nice style in how you present this review. i don’t think i changed my POV here. have a great day jenn:)

  5. Jennifer, your reviews terrify the crap outta me. You are one scary bird to have reviewing books. But I do agree with a lot of what you’ve said. 🙂

  6. I never read mysteries 🙂 I’m more of a YA reader as you’ve probably guessed, and there aren’t a lot of YA mysteries. know I should branch out more… I would recommend you give Agatha Christie a go if you haven’t already. Particularly ”And Then There Were None.” I’d faint if you guessed the killer.

    I’ve been meaning to also recommend a MG book for your son… ”Artemis Fowl.” (It’s a series of 8 but eh… the first one is stand alone.) It’s by an Irish author, Eoin Colfer, and I don’t think it\’s big across the pond, but it’s at least as funny as Percy Jackson (and you’d like it too, I think, because of the character development.) It’s about a 12 year old criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy (it’s marketed at boys.) Sorry for going off topic but I just finished reading it and I’m really excited about it 🙂