LENGTH: 20-40k words (150 pages)
COVER DESIGN: Cris Qualiana Basham
On page one of John Biscello’s Broken Land he writes: “Anyway, if I had an office and it had been a rainy Tuesday, then a tragic blonde with legs like scissors strong enough to cut a flesh-and-blood man in half might have walked in… but that’s not the way this story begins.” This remarkably well-written novel is brimming with offbeat poetry.
Salvatore, the narrator, begins the story by taking on the case of his missing writer-friend, Jimmy. Jimmy calls Sal to tell him that he’s dead, and the bizarre phone call inspires Sal to investigate. He claims he’s not quite an investigative journalist, or a private eye, but simply calls himself “curious.” And so the story follows this curious narrator though New York on an unusual journey to find his friend.
Among the novel’s colorful characters are the mysterious and gorgeous Anna, a drunken dwarf named Hen, the street-smart hustler Rico, and Claire from Ghostwriters, Inc. who literally calls on ghosts to inspire writers. These characters are wonderfully original and each has an impact on Sal as he searches for answers.
This is such a unique novel. On the surface, it’s a smart, entertaining and witty story. Underneath, it’s like a peek inside a writer’s mind, revealing the mystical art of storytelling. There are a few scenes that seem random along the way, but once everything comes together, the reader realizes that every page has its purpose. Biscello’s muse has not failed him.
Broken Land is easy to recommend. Any reader looking for something out of the ordinary would likely enjoy it. At 158 pages, this quick read never lets up on intrigue. It would also be an excellent novel for aspiring writers to read. First, they can learn about solid writing from Biscello’s example, but they can also find inspiration from his clever message.
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Candi Sary, author of Black Crow White Lie, has made the finals in several writing competitions, including the William Faulkner William Wisdom Writing Competition and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She lives in coastal Southern California with her husband (while her 2 kids are off at college), and can often be found surfing the waters of Newport Beach. You can find her at www.candisary.com.