Review: American Cemetery by Mike Cunningham
In common with nearly every unedited manuscript, there are a multitude of tiny points that need to be fixed. I think the author would be surprised to see how much more smoothly his prose would flow just by trimming a few superfluous words here and there. Such a polishing would make this story a real powerhouse.
One of the great strengths of the story is the fact the author draws characters the reader can care about. A few small changes might make it even more compelling, but it is worth reading as it stands. Of course, an author may develop one area of his skill to the extent it leads him astray in another area. The only real weakness in this entry is due to such a cause.
The author was so careful to develop his characters the story starts and builds up very slowly. It is still worth reading, but more impatient readers might discard it before discovering its merits. With an effort to introduce more action in the beginning, something the author clearly has the skill to do, the story would take off like a Spitfire off to intercept Nazi bandits coming in over the Channel.
I am not ready to declare a winner without even having received the rest of the entries, but American Cemetery is a worthy contender. When Mike gains just a bit more skill, I have no doubt he has a shot at a career as an author. Publishing is too uncertain an industry to say for certain he would succeed, but finding his name on the bookstore shelves some day won't come as any surprise to me.
Some of my readers may wonder why I haven't included any excerpts from the story. Since it does develop so slowly, the portions that most aptly display its true quality are those which fall close to the climax of the action. Quoting from these pages is all too likely to spoil the story for later readers, so I felt it best to refrain from doing so.