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March 1, 2017

Title: Hell's Bells

Author: J. M. Smith

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Audience: Adult

Word Count: 67322


Characterization: The characters are fully developed and believable. Readers will root for the book’s protagonist, plucky sleuth Jackie Trueheart, and find The Jackal to be an evil but complicated villain.

Plot: Smith’s novel is furiously paced and meticulously plotted. The story will keep readers turning pages and provide plenty of twists and surprises, while never seeming contrived.

Prose/Style: Smith’s skillfully crafted prose is at times lovely, and at times blunt and sinister. Told in the first person, Trueheart’s voice is believable, unique, and haunting.

Originality: What sets Smith’s book apart from the pack is its originality. The characters and plot are both unique and refreshing. Readers will find all the elements of a classic murder mystery present, but tweaked and made fresh.


  • Plot: 9
  • Originality: 9
  • Prose: 10
  • Character Development: 10
  • Overall: 9.5

Report Submitted: March 14, 2017

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