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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Woman in Black: A Role For A Professional

This is the current edition of a crime thriller by Rene Natan that was originally titled Operation Woman in Black.  Since I haven’t read the earlier edition, I don’t know if there are any differences in the text of the editions.  Yet I have seen both covers.  The earlier cover was too monochrome and it looked amateurish.  The cover for the current edition is much improved.    The lighter background color with its subtle shading makes the yellow title and the white byline more visible.  I also thought that the silhouette portrays the type of character that the Woman in Black is intended to be more effectively.

Take a look and compare the covers for yourself, readers.



This book contains more characterization and background than is typical in thrillers, but the flashbacks did turn out to be relevant to the plot.  So I thought that the book was well-structured.  Although it took a while to show the relevance of certain plot lines, they did all tie together. 

I was interested in the use of what is now known as voice conversion technology in The Woman in Black. There apparently was software capable of converting one voice to another as early as 2000.    I enjoy research and consider awareness of technology a priority.   I found articles dealing with developments in voice conversion, its possible applications and its limitations. A recent article that I found referred to it as "voice spoofing" and dealt with uncovering it.  Obviously, this technology can be utilized by criminals.  In The Woman in Black it was employed by law enforcement, and was considered experimental.  Any technology can be abused.  Certainly, voice conversion has potential for misuse in a variety of contexts. 

The copy editing in this edition was exemplary.  I didn’t notice a single typographical or grammatical error.

There was one important issue, however.   I wondered if the woman chosen to play The Woman in Black was truly qualified for her role when she couldn’t describe the primary perpetrator after she encountered him.  Someone involved in a police operation of this nature should be capable of giving detailed descriptions if she is going to be truly useful in apprehending criminals.  The result of her incapacity was that the operation lasted longer than should have been necessary.  The police protagonist would have been able to identify the chief malefactor much earlier if he had chosen someone with investigative skills as The Woman in Black.  These skills seemed more crucial to me than her resemblance to the original Woman in Black.  There are techniques that could have been used to alter the appearance of a more qualified police operative.

So I have to conclude that this was a suspenseful read with some interesting characters and relationships, but there was also a significant plot flaw that subtracted from my enjoyment of the novel.

This is my honest review of the copy that I received for free from The Bookplex.



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