Thursday 26 January 2012

New Review Policy

Last year I began writing shorter reviews to (I had hoped) allow me to produce more of them for the blog. It turned out I averaged about one review a month which represented only a small fraction of my actual reading. And I'm not even sure that the reviews did any real good for the books. So this year, I'm changing my approach again.

One thing that I've found since I released THE POINT and WEE ROCKETS is that the reviews that seem to have the most traction are those on Amazon. Now, this could well be because I'm relying heavily on Kindle sales, but I'm pretty sure that many other writers attach a lot of value to them too. I took a little time to think about whether or not it was 'professional' to review other writers on Amazon and came to the conclusion that most people don't give a feck about that sort of thing. And so, from now on, when the fancy takes me, I'll be reviewing my latest reads on Amazon. But just so the blog still has a bookish element to it, I'll be gathering them up every once in a whole and posting them on CSNI.

My main concern in this endeavour is how seriously people will treat my reviews. I'm not a fan of the 5-star system but that's what I have to work with. Thing is, when I'm reading a book that isn't floating my boat I do this really wacky thing... I stop reading it. So the majority of my reviews are going to be in the 4 and 5 star range. I suppose you could argue that the challenge is getting me to finish reading your book. Then again, most people don't give a feck about this foible either.

So, constant visitors, the latest Amazon reviews:

The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty is one of my favourites. He's a forerunner in the latest generation of Northern Irish crime writers. And this is the book he was born to write. A police procedural featuring a catholic RUC officer set against the backdrop of the 1981 hunger strikes. Talk about ambitious... But McKinty is a master of the craft and he has applied all of his talent to The Cold, Cold Ground.

The writing is electrifying, the characters top notch and his ability to spin a great yarn is enviable. If you want to learn a little about that crazy chapter in Northern Irish history and read an excellent story as well, you need look no further.

Buy this book.

Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville

Stuart Neville brings us back to his dark version of Belfast in the latest Jack Lennon investigation. Set over Christmas, this novel delves into the murky depths of human trafficking in Northern Ireland and the gangs that control it. It's set at a relentless pace throughout with all the now distinctive hallmarks of a Neville crime novel. If you're a fan of the Belfast series there are plenty of little references to the previous books to delight and intrigue the constant reader. But they never distract from the main force of the story. I look forward to his next instalment.

Stolen Souls is 24 meets Die Hard in Belfast. Come on, tell me you don't want to read that and I'll tell you you're a liar.

All The Young Warriors by Anthony Neil Smith

This was officially my first Kindle read and I have to say, this book alone is pretty much worth the price of the Kindle reader. Just a pity the author couldn't get a percentage off that price-tag.

The story is set in Minnesota and Somalia, places of opposite extremes in temperature and culture. The narrative is split between a recently widowed, angry cop and a terrified American-born Somalian who has gone to his father's home country to join the 'ragtag army'. This is a big, ambitious story and it is handled with expertise by Smith. A tremendous novel with a distinct and confident voice. I actually slowed my reading down around the 80% mark to make it last a little longer. I'll be reading more from this guy.

All The Young Warriors is an emotional gut-punch. I'll be thinking about it for a long time to come.

No comments: