09/22/16

5 Star Review of Cadaver of Gideon Cathcart

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The First Review Is In & It’s 5 Stars!!!

The Cadaver of Gideon Cathcart by Edison McDaniels.

“It reminded me, in several ways, of the best of Stephen King’s straight up horror as in Pet Sematary.” —James Tepper, Amazon VINE™ VOICE & Professor of Neurosciences, Rutgers University

Buy it today. Click HERE.

 

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07/29/15

DNFB review of Not One Among Them Whole

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A Review of Not One Among Them Whole by the folks at Definitely Not For The Birds (a book review blog)
See the original posting here.

Mr. Edison McDaniels himself brought this novel to my attention; he sent us two pieces of his work for free to be reviewed, something that I am very grateful for.  So thanks must again be expressed to Mr. McDaniels for this.

 

I was lucky enough to read both pieces of fiction, and I am incredibly impressed with McDaniels.  The first work I reviewed, the novella titled Blade Man, (the review of which can be found here) was truly enjoyable.  It wasn’t necessarily as polished as it could have been  (you can refer to my comment in the review) but the writing was still mostly solid and the suspense was expertly crafted.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, though. when I turned to begin Not One Among Them Whole. The reasoning for this was that the description of this novel made it sound as though it was nothing like the novella, and I was worried that the novel would simply pale in comparison to the novella. It is, after all, hard to excel in two different genres and styles.  I feel confident in saying that my worries were unfounded.  This novel, although very different from McDaniels’ novella, is still very well done.

The Good:
The tagline for this novel is as follows: A Novel of Gettysburg

Immediately, I imagined a rather painful historic account with bland characters drenched in stereotypes.  It really added to my hesitation to read the novel after I had already read the wonderful novella.  However, the impression that the tagline had instilled in me was entirely wrong.  The character are very well developed and although there may be a stereotype here or there (not many), the characters (nor the author) don’t seen to rely on them for identity. Most of these characters take you on an emotionally roller coaster given the heightened historical content that war immediately interjects into a story – especially a war like the civil war.  I also was not expecting such a variety of characters.  I really thought it was going to entirely focus on this Civil War surgeon.  While I do think the surgeons are the readers best window into the onslaught, there are others.  I loved the diversity of view points, as I felt it provided me with a fuller overall picture – a less biased picture.

It is also the first historical fiction novel on the Civil War that I have encountered (although I must admit that I don’t read very many novel that fall into that category) in which the view points of the surgeons were taken into account.  This alone makes it unique and worthy of looking in to as I feel I gained new perspective and that other readers will as well.

The writing, especially the descriptions of the surgeries and procedures, come off as incredibly realistic and authentic.  Of course, as Mr. McDaniels is also a neurosurgeon (yes, a writer AND a neurosurgeon, not sure if there is anything McDaniels can’t do) it is safe to assume that these descriptions are indeed incredibly accurate.  For me, sometimes these descriptions were a little too real, but more on that later.

The historical facts, so important to historical fiction, were there and helped to support the story as opposed them having to be manipulated in order to accommodate the story.   With the facts supporting the fictional narrative, the lines of fiction and history were blended in the way that only truly good historical fiction can accomplish.

The Bad:
As stated earlier, sometimes the descriptions of the medical procedures were a bit too vivid for my tastes, and I had to skim over them.  I am a bit of a wimp, but I think others may have this problem as well.  It can be gross and gory, for lack of better terminology, given the combination of a reader’s vivid imagination and McDaniels detailed and vivid imagery.

 
Not One Among Them Whole, A Novel of Gettysburg, by Edison McDaniels

Not One Among Them Whole, A Novel of Gettysburg, by Edison McDaniels

The Verdict:
Don’t read: If you aren’t a huge fan of accurate and gory accounts of war, this will not be the novel for you – although I must mention that skimming through these portions helped immensely and ensured that I didn’t miss out on a great piece of fiction.

 
Read: If you have been looking for an accurate yet artful piece of historical fiction, I cannot imagine anything more perfect to satisfy that need than Not One Among Them Whole.  The writing is well done, polished, and approachable while the characters and story are convincing, captivating, and deep.

Written by Rachel B.

Rachel is a co-creator and writer at Definitely Not for the Birds (DNFB). She recently graduated with a degree in English. Presently, she writes, reads, and then reads and writes some more, with a giant and ever-present mug of green tea in her hand. Follow Rachel @rrbindl and DNFB @not4birds

07/25/15

Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King Reviewed

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Not His Best Work. 

Edison McDaniels Reviews Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King.

For sheer storytelling prowess there’s nobody better than Stephen King. That said, this ain’t one of his better efforts. The storytelling isn’t bad, but the story itself doesn’t go anywhere. And, unlike most of King’s work, this is as predictable as the hands of a clock ticking inexorably forward—you know exactly where it’s going to go.
One thing I found interesting—and was less than crazy about—was the narration. This is an audiobook folks, and only available in audio. The tone and accent of the narration is thus a fundamental element of the story. That’s ok, except IMHO it’s way over the top. I lived down the street from King in Bangor, Maine for a year and I can tell you he must have found the most pronounced Maine accent he could for this narration. It takes some getting used to in the beginning. Not really sure why this was necessary, as the story itself is a generic one that could be found in any USA town with a lake and package store.
Although polished, there’s nothing special here and one wonders if it would have seen the light of day had a lesser name submitted it.
Fans of Stephen King, who have made him a very wealthy man over the years, deserve better. If you get a chance to listen for free go ahead. Otherwise pass.

Original Review click here.

07/22/15

Richard Anderson reviews NOATW

4**** Review of NOT ONE AMONG THEM WHOLE

By Richard Anderson on July 22, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Let’s consider modern battlefield surgery. I don’t have a military background, but I am a former surgeon with an extensive trauma experience, so I can make an educated guess as to how our wounded soldiers are treated.

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Available in paperback. Click to buy it right now!

First, conditions permitting, I would surmise that the wounded are removed from the field of battle as quickly as possible. Secondly, the medics are capable of treating life-threatening injuries, such as massive hemorrhage and sucking chest wounds, in the field. IV fluids can be infused at a rapid rate to replace blood loss until blood transfusions can be administered.Once in the mobile surgical hospital, the surgeons would have an array of diagnostic tools including x-ray and ultrasound. They would also have the instruments they need and a way to clean and sterilize them. Access to blood for transfusion, antibiotics to treat infection, sources of nutrition and hydration for those patients who cannot eat or drink would also be available.

And finally, there is no body cavity or organ system that is beyond the reach of the surgeon’s scalpel. If a bone is shattered, it can be pieced back together with screws, plates, and pins. If a major artery is lacerated, it can be repaired with a Dacron interposition graft or a segment of cadaver artery. Non-lethal injuries to the brain, heart, lungs and any other organ can be surgically treated.

Now let’s take a look at the state of battlefield surgery during the Civil War as depicted in Edison McDaniels’ Not One Among Them Whole: A Novel of Gettysburg. First, it seems that many of the wounded languished on the field of battle until the fighting was over, which leads one to wonder how many soldiers died from wounds that could have been successfully treated with today’s techniques. Second, there were no blood transfusions or IV fluids at the time. If blood loss was significant, there was no way to replace it.

Antibiotics had not been discovered yet (in fact, bacteria as an infectious agent hadn’t even been identified), so for those soldiers fortunate enough to survive their acute injuries many went on to die from infection. Postoperative nutrition and hydration was limited to what the patient could eat or drink. Pain medication consisted of shots of whisky and sips of opioid elixirs. Many Civil War era soldiers–who today would be saved by simple means such as proper nutrition, hydration, blood transfusion and IV antibiotics–went on to die from postoperative infection, malnutrition, dehydration and dysentery.

And lastly, what did the surgeons of the day have in their armamentarium? Not much. If a bone in the arm or leg was shattered by a steel ball—amputation. If a major artery or vein was lacerated—amputation. A gunshot or bayonet wound to the abdomen with perforation of the gastrointestinal tract and/or major bleeding—death, most of the time. And forget about penetrating injuries to the chest or cranium. Very little, if anything could be done to treat these wounds.

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Available for Kindle. Click to buy it right now!

And now let’s get to the heart of the matter. We all know that war is Hell, but think about how hellish it was to be a wounded soldier, or a surgeon treating that soldier, during the Civil War. That’s what Not One Among Them Whole offers the reader: a chance to get inside the minds of the soldiers, surgeons, and other ancillary individuals who were swept up by the Gettysburg conflict. Edison McDaniels does a stunning job of portraying the human carnage that was Gettysburg, and he chronicles the loss–of life, of limb, and sanity–of those involved. And he does all this with an elegant prose style, dialects that ring true for time and place, and characterizations that would impress Mark Twain.

My only complaint, and the reason this is a four and not a five star review, is the lack of a greater context. The subtitle–A Novel of Gettysburg–seemed to promise at least a glimpse into the Gettysburg conflict proper. Not possessing an intimate knowledge of the war, I didn’t know the battle depicted early in the story was actually part of the Gettysburg conflict. I thought the story was going to slowly lead me there, building tension as it neared. It wasn’t until page 295, when a wounded soldier said he’d been shot a week ago at Gettysburg, did I realize we’d been there the whole time. Because of this, I came away from the story without feeling the full weight of the cataclysmic event that was Gettysburg.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story very much and highly recommend it.

Click here to read the review on Amazon.

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The sequel to Not One Among Them Whole is now available on Kindle. Click to buy it now!