Click here to read Claytemple's newest story, The Quality of Mercy by G.L. McDorman.
Let us know what you thought of the Uldon novella The Quality of Mercy.
Mike, thank you so much for the kind words and for the encouragement -- and, of course, for checking out my work!
I want to start by saying, “Job well done!” I really enjoyed the novella. I found the right amount of visual imagery to paint a picture and put me into this world of the story. There were enough details that pinged my interest and kept me invested and wanting to explore this world.
The prose style was very easy and relatable, while at the same time quietly substantial. There were even a couple of passages I enjoyed enough to highlight (I really liked: “Her voice was as bright as her eyes, happy and warm, like a cup of coffee on a rainy day.”, and the passage describing the house on Drake Court).
I thought the character development was nicely rendered and multi-dimensional; for instance, no one character was all good or all evil, which added a human element.
And finally, the story was entertaining and well told, and invites re-reading. I would certainly read other adventures in this setting.
I mean, these stories are mostly autobiographical, so they have to begin at a bar. But thanks for checking them out and thanks for the feedback. Lion is in the same world, but is actually a school-story I wrote for my niece. I hope you like my nod to the naming conventions of Long Sun.
I liked how ambiguous the setting was. Is it London or New Orleans or New York or Chicago or Seattle? Certainly wasn't LA. How this story and Goodbye to All That both start with the protagonist drinking at a bar is a great mood setting. I assume Lion has the same beginning. Leads perfectly into how dark and macabre the story is. Everything is awful and dirty and gross. I'll check out anything in this world. Next up is The Lion that Stalks by Night.
Haha, I will do my best to give some contemplative descriptions of beer in the future. Thank you so much for reading my work and for your generous praise and encouragement (and helpful criticism!).
I already read/listened to The Lion that Stalks by Night and Goodbye to all that and was very curious about this tale. My expectations were high, but the tale certainly met these expectations! I agree with Daniel saying: ‘I hope he does some more with this character and this setting, which I found to be mysterious and interesting.’
Daniel and Benjamin already said many things I also thought of when reading or with which I agree now, like:
- ‘Refreshing for the main “villain” to get some humanity and a backstory.’
- ‘The noir fiction tropes were warm and familiar to me.’
- ‘I also like the way that the weird fiction elements were understated and more like "hints" as well, forcing my imagination to fill in some of how the world might work.’
- ‘A short scene at the end to tie it back to the opening scene’ – I missed that one too a bit.
One note I made in the discussion posting on The Lion that Stalks by Night for me also applied to this story: ‘The elaboration of the ending maybe was a bit too short to my taste, and - typically European I think - I don't like smooth happy endings that much; although there are enough open endings to think of some impending doom.’ But that’s certainly not a big problem (and the ending was less smooth then in The Lion).
What I also liked about the tale, was the cinematic writing style that adds to the beautiful atmosphere, like when Henslowe stands before (yet another) impressive building. And of course I love the bits in which Henslowe contemplates his whiskey, his martini/vermouth or his coffee (oh, no, the last one he just drinks). Maybe you are able to give life to the book my brother and I fantasized when playing AD&D when we were still kids – my character always had a book with him from which he read constantly, and with the alliterating title: ‘Barbier Ben en de bierbarbaren’ (‘Barber Ben and the Beer Barbarians’). But then – it’s beer, not whiskey, and a slightly different genre I suppose…
Concluding: yet another great book! I truly hope there will be more tales about detective Henslowe! (Or some other great, dark tale, of course.)
Just did a first read of this story. I really enjoyed it. The noir fiction tropes were warm and familiar to me. The worldbuilding mostly consisted of hints which left me wanting to know more (in a good way). I also like the way that the weird fiction elements were understated and more like "hints" as well, forcing my imagination to fill in some of how the world might work. Overall a really fun read. In grasping for some constructive feedback, only a couple of moments came to mind for me.
1) I wonder if the relationship between Henslowe and the main gangster guy could have benefitted from a little more development (it seemed a rapid change from Henslowe being thrown out of an office to the antagonist enlisting his aid). Not enough of a problem to ruin the story, but seemed sudden or possibly even out of character for a somewhat ruthless gangland ruler guy. Of course at the end we learn that there is some emotional depth to that character, but the story is to brief to make it clear in the moment I think?
2) Since this is detective fiction, I wonder if it would have been fun to have a little more time with Henslowe agonizing over the physical evidence. Specifically, we get a quick reference to three blackmail letters, but sadly no scene where the detective sits in a smokey bar reading them, free-associating, and wondering about what they mean. Again, not essential, but just seemed missing for me.
Keep writing these stories, I must know more about this world!
Thanks for reading and for your very generous praise! I think these suggestions are great, and of course the musing over the evidence scene is a stock element that I've just left out completely. I'll definitely correct that in the next one.
I really enjoyed this story. It is an excellent piece of hardboiled detective fiction, one of my favorite genres. It moves through the plot at a good clip but we are still given plenty of atmosphere. I really liked the main character, he had the feel of a Raymond Chandler protagonist. It was also refreshing for the main “villain” to get some humanity and a backstory. The only thing I missed was a short scene at the end to tie it back to the opening scene but that is mostly personal preference. I am looking forward to reading more of Glenn’s stories. I hope he does some more with this character and this setting, which I found to be mysterious and interesting. Great story, it’s a quick read, highly recommended.
In full disclosure Glenn sent me this as a pdf for free after I was unable to purchase it because of a bad link. I don’t know it’s cost, but I would have been satisfied if I had paid for it.
@Daniel Falch Thanks for the encouragement! I am very slowly working on an adventure fantasy novel set in something akin to colonial North America that follows a military unit as they trek across the continent. If I ever get to really devote a lot of time and energy to it, I'll be looking for beta readers.
@G.L. McDorman I’ll volunteer for that.
@G.L. McDorman If you're just writing something like Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, I'm more than down.