Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Revue of Reviewers, 7-12-16

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.

Among the components I always enjoyed of Sarah Weinman’s now sadly defunct blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, were her regular “Smatterings” posts, in which she provided links to crime-fiction-related offerings—features, author interviews, book critiques, etc.—appearing elsewhere on the Web. I’ve tried to do something along the same lines with The Rap Sheet’s “Bullet Points” posts. But I haven’t typically highlighted straight-out book reviews, in large part because … well, there are so many of them available from myriad sources. (A happy consequence of this genre’s popularity.)

Lately, though, I have been thinking there must be some way to mention at least a few of the better book appraisals on this page. So today, I am launching what I hope will become a regular new feature of The Rap Sheet: “Revue of Reviewers.” While these posts won’t cover every recent critique, they’ll point you toward three to six commentaries—covering primarily novels (from both sides of the Atlantic), but also occasionally non-fiction studies of this genre—that I’ve found enjoyable or enlightening. Just click on the covers above to leap to the individual reviews.

Please let me know what you think about this new element of The Rap Sheet, as it evolves over the next few weeks.


Dana King said...

This is a GREAT idea, and scratches one of my pet peeves.

I looked at three of these reviews at random, and all three were example of what drives me crazy about contemporary book "reviews:" they're actually book reports, not unlike what we would have been asked to write in seventh grade. A recap of the plot. Basically a synopsis. Maybe this is all most readers care about, but it's also why i don't read reviews anymore. Give an overview, sure, but the reviewer should discuss what works and what doesn't on multiple levels without giving up plot points. Much of the satisfaction I get from reading is watching the author's world unfold in front of me. A review shouldn't give away any more than it absolutely has to.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A great idea!

Patrick Balester said...

Dana makes an excellent point. When I'm writing a review it's always a challenge to say something relevant without giving away too much of the plot. I still want to engage the reader and, if I like the book, give them a reason to purchase by saying something unique about the work.

Barbara Tom said...

Thanks for posting my review of "Ping-Pong Heart." From years spent selling books at Murder by the Book (Portland), I and the other MBTB people learned what people wanted to know about the books. Hope to see the different takes that other reviewers have on crime books. Also, I learned from the MBTB book group that twelve people can read the same book and produce a wide spectrum of opinion!

Icewineanne said...

Really enjoy this new addition to your blog Jeff. I read all of the reviews, and now I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment. Living in Canada, I wasn't aware that NPR did book reviews. Have added them to my list of regular sites to visit. Great idea & thanks for introducing me to new books & new sites!
Cheers :-)