The Black Lens beat out more than 600 other books in this national contest, which “spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.” My book received some of the highest rankings possible for the following categories (1 means “needs improvement” and 5 means “outstanding”):
- Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
- Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4
- Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
- Plot and Story Appeal: 4
- Character Appeal and Development: 5
- Voice and Writing Style: 4
Here’s the full review:
“Gritty, unforgiving and in some places downright shocking, THE BLACK LENS is nevertheless a stunning read, from the first page to the last.
Zoey James and her developmentally delayed sister Camille live a hardscrabble life in a trailer park. Photographer Aidan is bored with covering pet parades and illegal fireworks for the local newspaper and gets a tip that ‘something [is] going on — something big involving a lot of people — that’s going to blow up this f*** town.’ How their worlds collide combust into an explosion of sex and violence involving corruption, prostitution and human trafficking.
With an adept use of description, characterization and action and through use of simple yet powerful language, author Christopher Stollar alternates chapters from Zoey’s and Aidan’s points of view, further building suspense.
And the material is not just graphic for the sake of it. ‘There are 20.9 million victims of forced labor and human trafficking, including 5.5 million children,’ writes the author in an end note. And this book did indeed take a village: published with funds garnered from a Kickstarter campaign, the author is donating 10 percent all proceeds to organizations that battle modern slavery.
But with an eye-grabbing cover, a structure that seamlessly interweaves the overall theme of photography (and pornography), this book rivals — if not surpasses — its commercially published brethren. It may indeed raise awareness of human trafficking and exploitation of women in the same manner as UNCLE TOM’S CABIN and TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE did for slavery.”