The Smoke Ring
Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views (01/14)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Smoke Ring’ by JoAnn Fastoff on Blogcritics.
“The Smoke Ring” by JoAnn Fastoff stars off with the discovery of Major General F. Stacktrain’s body. Special Agent Howard Watson was meeting the Major General for some unknown reason and now he is dead. This story is about cigarette trafficking. Something I surely wouldn’t ever have thought about actually happening in the real world. When I think of trafficking, I think more of drugs or even humans, sadly. For me, the concept was interesting because I really was wondering what the big deal would be about trafficking cigarettes anyway. I hadn’t really considered the hijacking of trucks and stealing thousands of cartons of untaxed smokes.
“The Smoke Ring” is a 132 page story. With such a short length I did find that it was a slow read for me. Lots of characters popped in and I never really felt connected to any of them specifically. The plot was good but I found that I forgot what the original purpose from the beginning was. For example, the story starts out with the finding of a dead body which leads to an investigation. The investigation takes off, with many aspects and twists leading up to the end of the story. Yet, I found myself having to go back to the beginning to recall what it was at the ending that I couldn’t wrap my mind around.
Simply, it’s a great story. An investment of another 50 pages with a little more character development would have done a little more for me. Overall, the story is original and the outline of the book was set up well. The delivery was good, just not great for me. The most praise I can give for “The Smoke Ring” by JoAnn Fastoff is going to be for the superb editing. Excellent editing and I am interested in seeing what JoAnn does next in her writing career.