Back in 2013 I submitted Lucid to the now defunct Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  The manuscript advanced far enough in the competition to receive a review courtesy of an anonymous Publishers Weekly reviewer.  Their take:


     "There’s a distinct identity crisis with this very long teen thriller. It starts off as a slice-of-life drama, with small town girl Lucy McCall expecting the arrival of her older sister Maddy, now a famous actress, and Maddy’s husband Jack Ford, a Hollywood superstar, as they come home for the premiere of Maddy’s newest movie. Controversy arises over Maddy and Jack’s memberships in the cult/religion Lucentology -- clearly a stand-in for a certain other “-ology -- with Maddy’s father worried for his daughter’s mental health.

      Despite this, things run fairly smoothly until the night of the premiere, when Lucy is kidnapped and held for ransom, before being exchanged for Maddy, who goes missing in the process. From that point on, it’s a convoluted tangle of conspiracies, murders, and mayhem, featuring no less than three climaxes and resolutions as one plan feeds into the next. What could be a nuanced exploration of Hollywood faith systems, a culture clash between small town and worldwide fame, or a grim exploration of obsession and betrayal, ends up being none of the above.

     The writing itself is solid, and the characters, including the intrepid Lucy, her ex-boyfriend Sherman, and down-to-Earth megastar Jack Ford, are engaging, and there’s certainly a lot to enjoy. But this is one story that needs to tighten its plot and figure out just what it wants to do."





© 2016 by Brian Stillman. Proudly Created with


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