“Review from Judge, November 2014, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.”

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4 out of 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5 out of 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4 out of 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 4 out of 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5 out of 5

Voice and Writing Style: 4 out of 5

Judge’s Commentary:

The cover image is kind of fuzzy, but I can see how it delivers a nostalgic impression. I enjoyed the back cover synopsis, kind of shoots from the hip. Very direct and casual. The opening is hilarious, the way he rips on his boss (haven’t we all been there?). I really enjoyed the comfortable, wise-ass tone. Your writing really flows; there’s no teaching that kind of smoothness.
Your dialogues are fresh and direct. I like your fight descriptions – they are more like the awkward, messy affairs that most often occur (p. 92). Nice angle, too, bringing in the office politics (p. 96). Your descriptions are well done (and not overdone, p. 175). I can really picture myself in your settings. You’ve written some genuinely moving scenes, too (p. 200). You’ve done a good job building the details of your characters and their relationships.

I love the character description on p. 222. What an eccentric! Very imaginative. I also enjoy the descriptions of the settings, many of which I’ve been in before. Also appreciate that I haven’t seen any typos or grammar errors. You’ve obviously worked very hard at fleshing this thing out. Excellent job! You’ve created a truly intriguing mystery with some amusing and true-to-life characters.

What readers say about Stateline (from Amazon reviews):

★★★★★ “This is a super, hard-hitting murder mystery. I would give it more than five stars, if possible. The action never stops. Never have I read a murder mystery better than this one. It is terrific.”

★★★★★ “The author is pretty much a master and he covered everything here, leaving no loose ends. It’s a really great book, artfully conceived and put together.”

★★★★★ “The scenes are so well written it almost feels like you are standing in the snow in Lake Tahoe or running for your life in Vegas.”

★★★★★ “It is classic noir, very good, coherent and rapid without being rushed.”

★★★★★ “This is the best crime novel I have ever read. His writing style is so intriguing. He is great at the plot and even better at the ending.”

★★★★★ “Dan Reno kicks ass, takes names, and still has time for some of the best one-liners I’ve ever read. Dan Reno rocks!!”

★★★★★ “If you like murder mysteries and sleuthing tales, and aren’t squeamish about sex, violence, or language, you WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!”

★★★★★ “I love to read old school hard-hitting crime novels. That what’s you get with Dan Reno. Hard hitting, take no prisoners. We need more men like Dan Reno.”

 ★★★★★ “Excellently plotted thriller, never loses momentum and a sort of inverted, manic vitality.” 

★★★★★ “Dave Stanton is what l would call a writer. That is the style of writing l REALLY enjoy.”

 ★★★★★ “I’ve been searching for a really good hard-boiled detective writer for quite a while. I found what I was looking for in Dave Stanton’s Stateline.”

★★★★★ “Great book! Gritty and grownup, Stateline breaks the mold of popular fiction. By giving human flaws their due attention, the characters become rich and believable.” 

★★★★★ “Wow! Talk about a fast-paced, keep-you-guessing, mystery that will have you glued to it until the end. I’m definitely looking for more to read by Dave Stanton!”

★★★★★ “Stanton’s characters Dan Reno and Cody Gibbons reminded me of James Lee Burke’s characters Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell. And if that isn’t high enough praise I found Stateline to be as enjoyable as CJ Box’s Joe Pickett novels. This dude can write.”