Full Disclosure: I used to work with Jim (although now he’s Mr. Fancy Pants Author J.E. Hopkins). I haven’t worked with him in 12 years. We had lunch 2012, and he told me he was writing a book, or had just written a book. I can’t exactly remember which.
He described it as a fantasy thriller novel, and I thought “Oh great, anther Harry Potter wannabe, just kill me now”.
I’m not a huge reader. Let me rephrase that. I read all the darn time. But it’s usually work related, technical stuff, or IT stuff. It’s literally all I do, so no I don’t spend a lot of time reading for fun. I will on occasion pick up a book, usually one that’s recommended, and enjoy a good read. But that only translates to 6-10 times a year, often less, though that’s starting to change.
Then Jim told me his book was on Amazon, and at the time was on special for $99 cents. I thought “Ah what the heck, the guy put a lot of effort into this, it’s worth a buck right?”.
Any book is worth a buck? Isn’t it? So I bought it.
Just to put this in perspective, I like a good mystery. I like a good action book, or mystery or spy novel, or even sci-fi. I don’t however, generally dig fantasy stuff. I have never read Lord of the Rings, though I loved the movies and probably should read the books. I tried to read Game of Thrones. I’d rather get a root canal, though I love the series on TV. So maybe I do like fantasy and I just don’t know it. The thought of reading Harry Potter though makes me want to hurl.
When I read that the Scarlet Crane was a Fantasy Thriller revolving around the use of Transition Magic, I had the same initial reaction that I have with Harry Potter. I clearly thought, this is going to suck, I’m not going to enjoy this. It will probably be 10 or 12 hours of my life completely wasted.
I was wrong and pleasantly surprised.
It was more like a Grisham novel with a little ‘Magic’ mixed in. Totally acceptable. Mixed in might not be the right word since the book is clearly centered on it, but it didn’t dominate the book in terms of being way out there fantasy stuff that you have to be high to believe.
I enjoyed it.
Then he wrote a sequel The Saffron Falcon, and I was actually kind of excited to read it too. I just did, and it was very good. Jim has evolved as a writer. The 2nd book was considerably better than the first and I am looking forward to future additions to the line.
So if you’re in the mood for a good easy read, I recommend these books.
I get nothing from Jim for supporting his writing. He hasn’t even bought me lunch (yet). I do believe in giving credit where credit is due and Jim deserves credit and kudos for writing two good books. Well at least one really good book and one pretty good book.