Overall Rating: 3/4
See full transparency scorecard here
Book Title: Head Lion
Author Name: Neil Peter Christy
Publication Date: July 4, 2022
Summary (no spoilers): Ryan Walker is an award-winning creative director. When his boss, Gabriel Todd Christopher, tries to kill him, Ryan is left paralyzed and broke. He wakes up at Head Lion, an exclusive club for retired billionaires with no idea why the biggest media tycoon in New York wants him dead. No idea why he’s getting help anonymously. No idea about the secrets that surround him. And no idea how to get even. The only thing Ryan knows is that he does not want his revenge to be ordinary. He wants it to be epic. And to make that happen, Ryan needs his biggest rival in the advertising world and the dusted and forgotten mavens at Head Lion. As Ryan prepares for the greatest coup the advertising world has ever seen, he grapples with hidden enemies, his newfound penchant for crime, and a deadline he can’t afford to miss.
Neil Peter Christy is an up and comer to keep your eye on. If you’re a fan of writers like John Grisham, this book is for you. Part glimpse into the cutthroat world of advertising, part revenge thriller, part mystery, this book is an easy and exciting read.
In particular, I’m impressed with how well everything comes together in the end. Christy perfectly balances the opening image with the conclusion of the book so that, as a reader, you’re left feeling fulfilled with the story’s resolution.
The formatting of the book is also commendable. The book is indistinguishable from traditionally published books in it’s cover design and interior. The cover art is engaging and well suited to the book, and each chapter begins with a famous advertising campaign slogan that is clever and sets the tone for the book exceedingly well.
I say questionable because, while our scorecard aims for as much objectivity as possible, reviewing a book is inevitably a very subjective experience. Though the book flows well and it was by no means difficult to read from start to finish in a couple of sittings, there were parts in the middle that seemed to drag at times due to an abundance of descriptive elements.
A lot of time was spent introducing the mavericks from Head Lion that assist Ryan in his journey, including a lot of descriptive language about their attire. While a ‘funny hat’ (something to recognize and remember each character by) is helpful for the reader, it was easy to feel bogged down in the amount of detail given about superfluous elements of each character, especially when so many characters were being introduced as he assembled his team.
I wanted to see some of this word count allocated to further developing Ryan's nemesis, Kate, in the present day, because we spend a lot of time learning about her origins as a character through flashbacks.
There are two main things an aspiring writer can learn from Head Lion:
(1) Always hire an editor. When we originally found Christy’s work he had just released it and several typos had slipped through the cracks that could have disappointed readers and mad an otherwise amazing story feel amateurish. Big Cheese worked with Christy immediately to help him resolve the discrepancies and the version now available to readers has undergone additional proofing to make it shine. You can hear more about this cautionary tale and Neil’s experience working with big cheese in the feature length interview he did with us by clicking here).
(2) Pay attention to your descriptions. Readers often skip over details they deem unnecessary to moving the story forward. Elaborate descriptions about the appearance of people or locations are often skimmed, which means the amount of your total word count they occupy is often wasted space (which can increase printing costs and mean you’ll have to price your books higher or earn less). When describing elements in your story, ask yourself if the descriptions are providing new and necessary information. If you cut the description, would the story be missing a vital piece of information? Would it change anything? If not, consider cutting it entirely or investing it in scenes or descriptions that are critical to the progression of plot or development of your characters.
See our full scoring system here: