Writer’s Digest Book Award for Murderers’ Island
formerly titled Resort Isle)

My current novel, Murderers Island, was formerly titled Resort Isle and was entered in a Writer’s Digest book contest and ended up coming in second out of 2,400 genre fiction entries, garnering a high Honorary Mention. Below is the commentary from the judge who evaluated my novel. — PBS 

“Below is a brief commentary for your entry in the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. If you received the incorrect review by mistake, please contact Writer’s Digest immediately at this email address. With so many books to judge/record, our judges may accidently input the incorrect review into the system. We do our best to catch all of these, but there are always a few that slip past. Thank you for your understanding.”

Entry Title: Resort Isle

Author: Paul Sekulich

Judge Number: 23

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

“Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning ‘needs improvement’ and 5 meaning ‘outstanding’. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a ‘0’ is used in place of ‘N/A’ when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a ‘0’. 

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.”

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5 

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5 

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5 

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*: 

Resort Isle: Detective Frank Dugan Begins is one of my favorite books of the competition.  From the amazingly designed cover to the touching, heartfelt closing line, this entry was very well done.  I enjoyed meeting Frank and cannot wait to read more stories featuring this character in the near future!

“The cover art is clever and both amusing and frightening at the same time. What a great job the author did with the over-all production of this entry.  As to the structure, pacing and plot of the novel, it is a rapid paced, humorous, clever and well thought out novel.  I like the idea of the island and the ultimate way to torture your hero is to stick him smack dab in the middle of his own personal nightmare.  Great hook.

“The author excels at opening and closing hooks and is a master at storytelling and keeping the reader engaged.  I was captured and imprisoned by this novel from the first line through the last page. 

“Frank is relatable, smart and quite the clever if not tortured character.  He’s well developed and easily one of the best characters I’ve read in a while. Thank you for sharing your world with us and best of luck!”