The Ring’s List by Jade Nicole-Bracken – Review
By Sarah Morgan
Let me get one thing straight before we begin – I admire anybody who can sit down and write a novel. To have that mental strength and determination is impressive stuff. However, whether I admire what they’ve written is another matter altogether.
I must admit that I was intrigued when an opportunity to review the debut novel of Rotherham-based author Jade Nicole-Bracken came up. I grew up nearby and have recently discovered the work of Danuta Kot, another resident of the town. Would Nicole-Bracken’s book be just as impressive?
It’s with a heavy heart that I have to say no, it’s not. I hate being negative about anything, especially when somebody has put their everything into it, but The Ring’s List is completely without style, skill or intrigue; the only good thing about it is that it’s a brief 130-pages or so long.
It starts off fine, introducing readers to Steve Johns, a man wrongly committed of murder in 1979 who, following his release, becomes determined to track down those truly responsible for the crime. But after that, it descends into convoluted nonsense, with an utterly unbelievable and badly researched narrative.
Without going into too much detail, a character is attacked and left paralysed, virtually the next day she’s back home in a wheelchair. What happened to the weeks, possibly months, or rehabilitation she would have surely endured?
The story is set in 1993, a time when I’d never heard of the internet; I was at university then and there was no access to it on campus, and yet the lead characters head off to the library to use it as research. I can’t be 100 per cent sure, but I’d suggest this wasn’t a service available at that time.
Also, would Johns, as a convicted killer, have been allowed entry to the US, a key plot point? And then there’s the author’s irritating habit of adding bits to sentences in brackets, usually completely unnecessarily, while the final epilogue contains a bizarre tagged-on ending that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Nicole-Bracken recently penned a blog containing advice for fledgling writers. I’d like to add a couple of key points to it – perhaps enrol on a course to find out if you have any aptitude for writing before starting work, unless you’re doing this for personal gratification only, and send your manuscript to a professional editor before self-publishing. You could save yourself a lot of heartache that way.
‘The Ring’s List’ by Jade Nicole-Bracken is self-published on Matador