Thursday 8 August 2013

Fallen Angel Review and guest post Jonelle Patrick

FAcoverFINAL  Fallen Angel: An Only In Tokyo Mystery by Jonelle Patrick


 The dangers of wealth and beauty emerge from the shadows in the latest Only in Tokyo Mystery... 
English translator Yumi Hata often feels ill at ease in Tokyo's traditional world, but she has never been seduced by its' seedy underbelly--a place populated by beautiful, desperate men and women and the wealthy patrons that will pay anything to command their time. But fear for her friend Coco draws her into Club Nova, where Yumi is unprepared to face the temptations of professional boytoys, towers of champagne and Tokyo Metropolitan Police Detective Kenji. 
In Kabuki-cho to investigate a young hostess's death, the last person Kenji expects to find there is Yumi. Kenji knows that his life-long crush is about to marry into one of the richest and oldest families in Japan, and that he should keep his distance. But Yumi can get into places that Kenji can't, and she soon agrees to help him with another murder investigation. Their journey into the elite clubs reveals the darker side of Tokyo, and soon Yumi and Kenji find themselves in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a killer who is ready to strike again...

Lisa's Review - 4.5 out of 5 stars

It has been a few years since I sank my teeth into a good mystery book, so when I received a copy of Fallen Angel free from Jonelle, I couldn't wait to give it a go. Set in a side of Tokyo we never really hear about it, this book is a real eye opener to the seedy side of Tokyo's nightlife. 

The first half of the story introduces the reader to many characters, who all play a part in the main story, but also have their own sub stories that are delicately intertwined into the book, to give the characters more background and turn this into a really in depth book.

The main story running through this book is to try and work out who killed hostess Cherry, and is branding other hostesses. What I loved was that there was so many characters in the book it was difficult to try and pinpoint it on any one of them. I do like to pride myself that in books/films I can usually figure out the 'whodunnit' part, only with Fallen Angel I decided who it was, then changed my mind repeatedly, and I didn't figure it out at all, and loved the twist with the story line. I loved the fact that most of the way through the book there were so many little stories running with the main one, that I was a tiny bit disappointed when there was a huge chunk of the book dedicated to the cracking of the case towards the end. Now I understand this needed to be done or the book would have never ended, but I would have liked a small chapter or two in between from one or two of the other characters to break it up a little bit.

I really enjoyed the whole mystery of the book, the characters were really brought to life, as well as that underground Tokyo night life which really makes you think. The only reason I knocked this down to a 4 star was there was a lot of use of Japanese words, and although I managed to pick up on some of the more frequently used words and their meanings, there were sometimes when I really to decipher some of the words and their meanings, which was a little off putting. But that said, that is for me personally as a reader, and I think the use of the Japanese words made it seem like a more authentically Tokyo based book.

Another thing I loved was the personal touch of the photographs that had been placed at the end of the book. These showed pictures of the people and places which made the book seem even more realistic and I wish I had had a paperback copy of this book so I could have taken a peek at the photos as I was reading to have a more real picture in my head of the things I was reading about!

I will definitely be reading more of Jonelle's work, my brain really enjoyed trying to figure the story out and it was nice to finally read a mystery that wasn't predictable reading with an obvious ending.


Purchase Links

Amazon UK Fallen Angel: An Only in Tokyo Mystery (InterMix)

How To Become A Published Author - Q & A with the author of Fallen Angel, Jonelle Patrick
1. Do you have any must have tips on what to do with your book before approaching a publisher?

Absolutely! The hardest thing about writing your first book is that you have to cobble together your own network of people to do what a publisher's team helps you do after you get a book contract. You only get one shot at the acquiring editors' attention, so what you send has to grab them and keep them grabbed until the urge to toss your manuscript aside goes away. And I think that the hardest part of getting editors' attention and keeping it isn't crafting the Golden Prose – it's doing three important things that nobody likes to do:

One: Ask three of your enemies to read the manuscript. Okay, they don't have to be enemies. But not friends and not family. Hand them a copy and a red pen. Beg them to tell you everything that's wrong with your book. And when they give you back the manuscript with red ink on every page, kiss their feet and thank them profusely. Because reading a not-ready-for-prime-time manuscript is real work, and they just saved you from a very public future review on Amazon pointing out your errors after it's too late to fix them!

Two: Cut 5,000 words from the manuscript. I know, I know. It's impossible, right? I chose every word of my novels with care too, especially the descriptive ones. But use the red pen comments from your sainted readers as a guide and tighten everything up. Check online for the typical word count for books in your genre, and don't even think of sending out a manuscript that has more than the top number.

Three: Do not let even one tiny typo sneak past you. Acquiring editors are looking for any excuse to toss your manuscript into the trash bag and get on to the next one. Don't let to, two, and too be the reasons your book gets binned!

2. How do you go about approaching publishers?

I've never approached a publisher myself, because in America, people who work as acquiring editors at publishing houses no longer read unsolicited manuscripts. You have to have an agent. But getting an agent requires the same skills as getting a publisher, so here's what I learned about how to do that:

First, do your homework. Know which category your book falls into and only send queries to agents who represent that kind of literature. You can search online for contact information for agents and agencies. Make a list. A long list, because most queries go unanswered. I painfully recall that only about 5% of the agents I sent my carefully-written personalized queries to ever replied, even with a "no thanks."

Second, follow instructions exactly. Every agent wants queries submitted in a very particular way, and they're not all the same. If they ask for an email with a query letter, a one-page synopsis and the first three chapters, do not send them a query letter, a ten page synopsis and the entire manuscript by FedEx. They will not even look at a package that doesn't meet their guidelines, even if it's the next Harry Potter.

Third, make the sales pitch short and sweet. Figure out what it is about your book that's different – and better! – than all the other books out there. Why would a publisher want to spend money to produce it? Why would people who did not give birth to you or swear to be your Best Friend For All Eternity want to read it? You have exactly two sentences to convince the agent to keep reading your query letter. And when you write your synopsis, make it as fun as your writing. I got inspired by reading the book jacket/back cover descriptions on my favorite books, and thinking about what made me want to put them in my basket and carry them to the cash register.

3. What do you look for in a publisher?

That's easy! Good editing, good editing, and good editing. My editor is one of the senior mystery editors at Penguin, and what she taught me about quirks peculiar to mysteries was utterly game-changing, even though I've read hundreds and hundreds of mystery books myself. Her input made all my books better. Cover design is important too. Those are the two biggest things my publisher does to make my books successful. It used to be that publishers were the ones responsible for selling books too, but these days, as far as publicity goes, authors are pretty much on their own unless they're already celebrities. Big publishers like mine (Penguin) send out review copies, buy bookstore space for the launch, do the production of the books and ebooks, and get them out to booksellers, but that's about it. All the blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and book events will be up to you, so don't make publicity a must-have item on your list.

4. What should you avoid in a publishing contract?

Hmm, that's a tough question, requiring no small amount of tact! Something I didn't know before my books were published was that even though more than a third of all books sold are ebooks, paper copies are still needed for book promotion. Many reviewers refuse to review books that don't have a print run, and ebooks don't stack up too well on the bookstore front table during launch week. I'd make sure that even if the publisher doesn't plan to do a print run, there's a print on demand option.

I hope these bits and pieces of advice help you all get your own books published! Being a novelist hasn't bought me any fancy cars or diamond tiaras, but it does give me the best excuse in the world to go to cat cafés, fire walking festivals and Tokyo Dark Castle all-night goth events and call it WORK. If anyone has an additional burning publishing question, please ask it in the Comments following, and I'll do my best to answer. Good luck, and happy writing!

Jonelle Patrick is the author of Nightshade and Fallen AngelIdolmaker, the third book in the Only In Tokyo mystery series, is due out in September from Penguin/InterMix. She lives in Tokyo, San Francisco, and United Economy Class airplane seats.

Jonelle, Booky Ramblings cannot thank you enough for taking the time to provide some fantastic answers to our questions, and we hope our fans agree!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for such a thoughtful and lovely review! The biggest thrill in my life is to read that someone enjoyed one of my books, and the next biggest thrill is figuring out how to make the next one I'm working on better. I love hearing both sides, and you can be sure that Book #4 (which I'm about to start writing) will have some tweaks you'll recognize as coming from this very spot!

    I'll be stepping onto a plane in a few hours (to Israel, of all places!) but will check back as soon as I'm wheels down to reply to any questions or comments Booky Ramblings readers might have. Also, I'm follower of both this blog and this comment stream, so if any of you read Fallen Angel (or Nightshade) and have comments weeks or months from now, post them here and I'll reply. Happy reading, everybody!


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