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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book review: "Between the Rows" by Ann Barnett
By Milt Gross
May 4, 2014 - 7:35:00 AM

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I found Between the Rows to be well written and fairly well edited for a self-published book. Milt Gross photo.
Except for a handful of "typos" and a "new" word, "holler," which I take to be a local Southern word to replace "hollow," I found "Between the Rows" a good adventure and crime tale self-published by iUnverse LLC.

As are a fair number of self-published authors, Ann Barnett is retired and living with her husband in Louisville, KY. I suppose being retired provides the time for former busy folk to write.

The book is a good adventure with a somewhat predictable ending, the "bad guy" being chased by police turns out to be safely hiding out in Mexico (not so predictable) and two lovers end up being together (pretty predictable).

The main character, David Russell, is talked into entering the marijuana "business" by a former military companion, Doug. Alongside this tale of crime, chase, and successful escape from prosecution is the love tale, Russell enters what turns out to be an unhappy marriage with Liberty Monroe, a friend since elementary school days. But real romance happens when "Libby" divorces him and he enjoys a love relationship with Jody.

Russell builds a profitable marijuana trade by hiding crops among the rows of corn on the farm he operates as well as deep in the Kentucky forest. Eventually, authorities find the marijuana and close down the operation, capturing or killing the other bad guys. Scotty, Russell's brother in genetics and in crime, disappears and is assumed dead until Russell receives a post card from his hideout in Mexico.

There's enough suspense and violence in the story to have kept me reading.

The publisher is a self-publishing business. Because more and more writers are using self publishers as opposed to traditional publishers, which pay to publish the writer's manuscript, I've copied below from the iUniverse page.

iUniverse states, "Packages start at just $899," states iUniverse LLC on its home page. With iUniverse, you can publish your book, your way--today! Our top-quality publishing, editorial and marketing services make it simple for writers just like you to quickly and affordably publish professional-looking books.

Expect these benefits with iUniverse:

  • Affordable publishing packages. Packages start at just $899!
  • Professional publishing, editing and marketing services. We help you make your book the best it can be and find its audience.
  • Global distribution. iUniverse books are available for order from online book retailers worldwide including Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com.
  • Nonexclusive contracts. We don't own your copyright--you do!
  • Experience and dedication. Our executive team has more than 65 years of combined experience in the publishing industry.

Fill out the form to the right to receive a free publishing guide!"

To see what would happen, I filled out a similar form for another publisher, and they phoned and e-mailed me repeatedly. If you're lonely, go to the site and fill out the form. But the bottom line is that the author apparently paid at least $899 for see her manuscript published as a book.

A note: a traditional publisher who rejected my own fine -- finer than fine -- manuscript because it wasn't the right "fit" for her company warned not to go the self-publishing route. No reason was given, possibly either to keep competition down or as a genuine warning.

What I do know is that this self-published book is pretty good, although being a paperback, perhaps not worth the $13.95 price listed on the back cover. Amazon.com offers it for $12.56 and $3.99 for the Kindle Edition. (I don't keep up with current retail prices of books.)

"Between the Rows" is one of the very few self-published books I'd recommend for a satisfactory adventure read -- even though it only has 180 pages, a bit shy compared to most adventures that weigh in at 250 to 300 pages.


Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013


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