Book Review: Money Ain’t Loyal

Money Ain’t Loyal is something of a crime drama written by Nigerian author Daniel Junior. The book was published in 2021 and is available in paperback and digital ebook.

The plot revolves around a Russian convict looking to get revenge on a former colleague in the drug trade that he felt certain had betrayed him and was the reason he was sent to jail. At the same time, the story intertwines the efforts of a Russian native named Natasha who is searching for her father following her mother’s recent death. The rub of it all is that Natasha has only an old picture but no name or other significant details to help her identify the biological father she never knew.

I won’t say much more about the plot and the story because I don’t want to spoil too much or even paint too much of a picture that allows anyone to really identify the various twists and turns the book’s story holds. But I will add that as an American reader, the cultural and language differences between me and Daniel was on full display in this book. Things like “torch” for flashlight, “lift” for elevator, and other differences between the normal lexicons of he and I were not totally unexpected but meant that I had to do some mental conversions from time to time to make sure I took the words as the author meant and not how my American mind wanted to interpret it by default.

This is actually the second time I’ve read this book but the first time that I’ve written a lengthy review for it. The first time I read it, I had acquired a digital copy of the book through a service that helps authors connect with other authors to discuss books and seek reviews from others.

Daniel’s summary of his plot intrigued me. Captivated by the idea of what his book could contain within its pages, I eagerly obtained a copy. Days passed before I found the time to read the book but when I did, I had mixed emotions. The story was indeed intriguing and I wanted to read more but the content was laced with numerous spelling and grammatical errors. And even though I’m not perfect or a seasoned editor, the number of errors present were found to be distracting. At one point, one of the characters pulled “gum” from its holster. Those are the kinds of mistakes I would expect in a pre-production draft but not in a final draft that has been released to retail.

Eventually, I finished reading the book, despite its many errors. I had obtained the book for the purpose of leaving a review for a fellow author (reviews mean the world to authors!) and I felt compelled to leave a review as promised. However, when it came time to write my review for Amazon, I found myself conflicted. I enjoyed the story for what it was but had been annoyed by the numerous issues I had continually encountered.

In the end, I settled in the middle and left the book a 3-star review. I commented in my review that I enjoyed the story but the steady flow of errors throughout the book had definitely detracted from the overall experience. I felt that average rating was fair considering the highs and lows I felt while reading a good story littered with spelling and grammatical issues. 

After I had submitted my review, I reached out to the author to discuss my experience. My initial thoughts was that he had rushed to release the book in excitement and anticipation, something I have struggled with myself, and that he had not taken the time to have the manuscript fully edited before going to print. To me, there were just too many mistakes to explain it any other way. Much to my surprise, Daniel said that he had used an editor, though he admitted he felt the editor he had hired was more of a scammer than a professional editor. 

Having read the book, I would have to agree that whatever editor the author had used initially did not do a quality job and if that editor had been paid money then it was not money deserved.

The author and I discussed some of the issues that I encountered in the content of his book but I was sure to reassure him that I enjoyed the story despite the issues. It is easy to get discouraged if all you ever hear is the negative and I wanted to reinforce the positive along with the obvious problems that others had also called out in their reviews.

A couple of weeks passed and then Daniel reached out to me. He indicated that he had found someone else to help fix the errors and the book had undergone a new round of editing corrections before being re-released. We shared a conversation about the changes and Daniel asked if I would be willing to read the book again with the corrections to see the improvements for myself. Having enjoyed the story the first time I read the book, I eagerly agreed. I even offered to order the book myself in paperback to help support my fellow amateur author.

A few days later, my “new and improved” copy of Money Ain’t Loyal arrived. Sadly, my schedule had gotten busy and it would take a few days before I could settle in and check out the updated version.

Now, I’ve read through the newest printing of the book with the latest revisions. The story is still as intriguing as it was before. But as much as I would like to report the errors have all been flushed out and the overall experience improved, I can’t. 

This is still only a 3-star read for me. 

I did compare a lot of the issues I found in the digital book with the new paperback copy and sure enough, many issues had been corrected. Unfortunately, there were still a number of issues that remained. But on top of that, I found some new ones too. And I’m not talking about issues that were there before only to find them now. No, I’m talking about things that were correct in the old version but have since gone awry. For example, in the digital book there was a sentence that ended in “brains.”, everything is spelled correctly, the period at the end of the sentence is correct, and all looks good. The same sentence in the newer, updated paperback ended with “brain.s”, the word was now spelled incorrectly because the punctuation that had been correct before had somehow moved into a position that was not only invalid but also damaged the integrity of the preceding word.

I had really hoped to find a much improved quality to the language and sentence structure for the betterment of the book as a whole but instead all I found was that some of the errors from the previous version still existed and somehow the newest editing efforts had introduced some new ones as well.

I feel sorry for the author, I really do. I know this is a story that is close to his heart and that he has poured his soul into this book. And according to him, he has poured some money into at least two editors that do not seem to have done him and his book any favors. But the fact remains that the concept and storyline are damaged by the quality of the editing that has left a multitude of glaring errors to stand in the way of a knowledgeable reader from fully enjoying the author’s vision. 

I won’t say that this book shouldn’t be read but I would warn that anyone interested in reading this dark adventure be prepared to be forgiving for the issues that will inevitably be noticed by any observant reader. I hope that the author continues to refine and update his story to improve its readability and quality but editing is often not cheap. The story holds a lot of potential if the author can just find a more effective way to unlock it.

Best of luck, Daniel!

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