First, I am only half way through this novel. Normally, I wouldn't consider adding a half-assed review for something I have not finished yet, but Craig Saunders is a new author, Rain is his debut novel, and quite frankly, it impresses the hell out of me.
I hate reading from the screen--hate it, hate it, hate it. I only decided to read Saunder's novel via PDF file because a hard copy wasn't readily available and I consider Craig a good friend. After the first three pages I nearly forgot I was reading off my computer screen, cigarette burned down to the filter, and my cup of coffee cold.
After finishing the first session (30 pages), I closed the screen and reflected on what I had read. Now, we've all read small press novels that read like a small press published it: clunky, cliched, and mistake ridden. Not Rain. There's no detectable hint that this novel is a small press product. Rain is as intriguing and polished as any of the big houses' titles (whether the former is all Saunders or the publisher, Twisted Library Press, I cannot comment). I thought to myself, Damn, Craig is far better than I imagined! For all intents and purposes, Rain is like reading a NY Times Best seller. It has that 'professional' feel about. The plotting is superb. The characters live and breathe like real folk we all know and love. Rain is what a novel should be.
I'll finish the review when I finish the novel.