I liked the pre-note in this novel about the not-so-subtle differences between US English and UK English. I thought that this would be a promising start. Unfortunately, I was most mistaken. I wanted to vote this one star for the sheer horror that was reading it - I don't mean as in genre, I mean as in nightmare getting my head round how badly it was written - but the story itself was actually worth more, hence the 2 star decision.
From the start, this novel really needed a lot more commas than were present. The sentences are way too long, and with no dictated pauses, the emphasis within is quite hard to work out. The author often uses his few commas where semi-colons would be more appropriate, and the very rare use of the semi-colon is where colons should be used.
The grammar is pretty bad; I hoped it would only irk, and not be enough to spoil, but with phrases like 'Mark had once saw a documentary', 'behind the house was acres of land' and 'the woods was so condensed with trees', this was not so. It was distracting and annoying, verging on distressing (for an administrator, who corrects this kind of error for a living, trying to relax!).
Tenses jump around, not just within the novel but within sentences themselves - 'the shed looked to be in better condition...the windows look tinted', 'Sheeba had now disappeared...he becomes even more concerned'.
The author displays NO knowledge of the possessive apostrophe (he uses it in every incorrect way possible, and even omits it in a lot of words), and doesn't appear to have mastered the connective apostrophe too well either.
A few nice bits of vocabulary thrown in do not excuse the glaring mistakes such as confusing to and too, wondered and wandered, passed and past, they're and there - in fact, after reading the sentence 'He tried to run through the pain, but every time he breathed in the smarting became shoddier', I decided it was a lot like a 14 year old discovering a thesaurus for the first time, and he just substituted any word with any alternative, no matter how contrived it sounded.
The style of writing is very colloquial; the writer quite often puts 'on a Saturday', 'you use to work for' or 'would of loved', where 'on the', 'you used to' or 'would have' is more technically correct.
Lots of repetition and redundant bits of sentences have not been edited out, such as 'he never spent that much time in his garden because of the effluvium [thesaurus alert!] coming from the week old dog faeces in the garden'. While on the subject of dog excrement, the writer also references Sheeba, the Labrador bitch, making headway for a tree to urinate and Mark 'followed Sheeba's example of urinating up a tree' - Female dogs DO NOT urinate up trees, leg-cocking is reserved for the male of the species.
All of this criticism is really quite unfortunate, because the story itself and indeed the concept of the novel are actually rather good. It is just more than unfortunate that this author did not employ a proof reader or copy editor (or even a ghost writer - that was what was needed, to be honest), all of which can be readily found for reasonable fees, which would have made this book a five star novel, rather than a two star mess.