I've been reading a lot lately, which means I haven't been writing. It was so bad that I considered quitting a few weeks ago. The thought lasted less than 10 seconds, but it scared the dookies out of me. I mean, WTF?
But I'm back on track, writing every day. I'm also trying to keep time open for reading, because I had missed it. In fact, I think it was reading Bruen and Starr, Westlake and Gischler, one after another, that got me back to the keyboard and inspired me to keep going.
I just wanted to thank these fine gentlemen.
But I read another book that didn't inspire me to do anything except toss the damn thing across the room. This book was by a Big Name, one who has won Big Awards, armloads of them, and written a series I'd rather enjoyed in the past. (No, it's not anyone who normally reads the Planet, at least not that I know).
With apologies to David Montgomery, I don't read reviews often, and never before I read the book. But after, I'll often read reviews to see what others think, especially if I thought the book was particularly good or bad.
And in this case, I thought the book was more than just bad, but given the author's past work, it was awful. So I casually took a look at what readers said about this book on Amazon and I have to wonder, did we read the same book?
Most of them gave this guy five friggin' stars. Five! In spite of some of the lamest dialogue I've read in years, unbelievable characters, handy-dandy clues right where the hero needs them, a plot that depends on the hero being an idiot, and an ending you've seen in a dozen direct-to-DVD movies.
What gives? Is it just because I read guys like Westlake and Bruen that my expectations are so high or is it that others' expectations are so low? Could it be just the strength of this author's reputation that makes people give the book a break? I don't know.
So let's talk about reviews.
Do you read them before you read a book or after? Or at all? Do you ever read a review and wonder what the dude was smoking? Do you ever give someone like Crumley or Leonard (and it was neither of these gentlemen) a break because of the body of their work, overlooking what may be a single stinker in a string of gems?
As always, talk to me.