by Edward Rosick

Independently Published, December 2, 2021

Review by The Horror Zine Staff Reviewer Rick R. Reed

deep roots

Buy the book HERE

If I were an acquisitions editor at a publishing house and the author had sent me Deep Roots, I would have been intrigued by the story. Which to summarize, is as follows:

Thirty-year-old Kevin Ciano, just released from Fairview State Penitentiary in Northern Michigan, is trying to find his way back into society when he develops a strange, painful lesion on his right shoulder, close to the tattoos and scarifications that were forced on him in Fairview by a charismatic but psychopathic prisoner, Charles Readona.

At first, Kevin ignores the growth as he works on rebuilding his life and embarking on a new relationship with Sherri Musgrave, a member of up-and-coming performance group, the Motor City Fire Masters. But Kevin’s hope for a brighter future are shattered when more lesions appear, followed by the bloody emergence of painful, hair-like projections. As Kevin’s life spins out of control, the answers he seeks will force a confrontation with the one person he swore he would never see again and change Kevin’s life…forever.

Deep Roots is set in the decaying urban heart of Detroit, where the horror is not just what lies above the surface, but below, as Kevin’s metamorphosis may not only be deadly to him and those he loves, but to the entire world.

And then, as I read, I would have grown increasingly appalled.

Even as a submission to a publisher, this manuscript (I hesitate to call it a book) borders on offensive because of the lack of care and professionalism accorded to it. The fact that this self-published story is actually for sale on Amazon almost makes the lack of care with regard to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more boggles the mind.

Although the author lists an editor and proofreader in the front matter, I call BS on that. It’s better to believe that the book received no editing at all because so much was missed.

The book contained so many typos that I stopped counting after finding at least fifty. At thirty percent in, there was a confusing note the author must have made to someone that took up half a page (about how the scene depicted was a true story) and forgotten to remove it from the novel before hitting “publish.” Oops!

Look, I can understand a few typos, lapses, and errors in any novel-length work, even books published by the finest traditional publishing houses in NYC. Errors happen, despite the writer’s and an editor’s best efforts. The problem here is that the mistakes are so numerous and so distracting, I was pulled from what might have been a very good horror story into an area where I was watching for the next error, and the next, and the next.

Good fiction envelopes us in a whole new world, but I could never get there because I kept being reminded that this was the careless work of a careless author.

It’s unconscionable that this was published in its current form. It’s books like Deep Roots that give self-publishing a bad name because the author (and the editor who must have been asleep at the wheel) obviously has zero respect for their audience. If they had some regard, they would have made more of an effort to ensure that there weren’t so many typos as to pull a reader out of the story over and over again.

Worse, the ebook for sale in the Amazon store is a “Print Replica” and not a properly-formatted digital publication. As such, it’s undownloadable to any e-ink reader and does not have the benefits (being able to change fonts and type size for one) as just about every other Kindle book on the market. I did some research and publishing a Kindle book as a print replica means that it’s a series of images, like a PDF, and that it can’t be manipulated in the powerful ways Kindle books are designed to be.

The saddest thing about Deep Roots is that it’s a pretty good horror story. It’s very dark, genuinely scary, and, when it’s not dragged down by its dozens upon dozens of typos and other errors, it could be a darn good and original read.

But in its current not-ready-for-prime-time state, I can’t recommend it. My advice to the author: pull the book from sale, go back to the drawing board, get a pro to edit your book seriously, pay someone to format it properly, and then re-release it. Maybe then, Deep Roots might be taken seriously as a decent entry into the horror marketplace.