Review: The Pack

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The Pack
by Les Turner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Pack / B003CV7V9W

Beth was hoping she'd get her promotion and relocation package today, not find herself sent back to her quiet hometown on an assignment to track down the story behind the wild animals killing livestock and people unexpectedly in the night. Yet here she is, driving back to the town she couldn't leave fast enough, hoping that her daughter will stop giving her the silent treatment some time this century.

This excerpt is a very competent piece of work, with decent descriptions, good characterization, and a strong backstory. The characters are realistic and sympathetic, and the setup is interesting, but the execution feels a little bland and the pacing could use a little work. After a superb beginning with a strange midnight sneak attack, the action halts almost completely, and I couldn't tell by the end of this excerpt if I should be expecting wild dogs, or werewolves, or aliens as the culprits (with varying degrees of tension and anticipation for each). Although of course you don't want to tip your hand from the very beginning, it would be nice if there was a stronger hook to hold the reader - perhaps we could hear what the newspapers are wildly speculating or, for that matter, why this is such hot news when apparently only a few livestock and a single person were killed. Were they killed in a particularly noteworthy or sensational matter? Basically, why does the rest of the world care so much and, in the same vein, why should the reader? I think that would greatly strengthen your opening hook.

On a side note, this piece could use a little editing polish for grammar and spelling - nothing major, but I did notice some errors passing through. I also do not understand why this is classified as "young adult", as the only "young adult" character so far seems to be Holly and she doesn't seem to be a point of view character. Overall, I think the mechanics of your work is very well done, and just a touch more polish will bring out a real gem of a story.

 NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.

~ Ana Mardoll

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