A year ago Mysterious Reviews was kind enough to read and review Murderous Passions. I got a three-star out of a five-star review. Good enough for the first effort on a beginning series. But somehow I didn't convey to them it was a first of a series. Secondly, you could tell in the review it was a fast read because of a couple of minor errors made. So . . . a year later I re-read the review and I begin to wonder just how effective reviews are to the reading public?

My gut feeling is that a review, good or bad, ultimately helps the book. If good, more people will consider buying/reading it. If bad, the macabre-syndrome sets in. Just how bad is bad? What do you think?

Here's the review.

http://www.mysteriousreviews.com/mystery-book-reviews/stateham-murd...

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Comment by I. J. Parker on February 20, 2010 at 4:45am
It all depends on who reviews and where. The reviewer's expertise is crucial. Where the review appears is also crucial because it indicates how many likely buyers read it. On the whole, reviews are excellent. For me, they've been the only form of publicity. The print reviews can be quotes on the book and on my web site. The Amazon reviews inform likely buyers of other readers' reactions. Add to that the fact that every time your name is mentioned at all, you gain a bit of publicity.
Comment by Dana King on February 20, 2010 at 3:43am
Frankly, her review could have used an editor. It rambles, circles back, and generally dilutes its own arguments.

I think she makes a mistake I used to make, and now regularly fight against. (Not to say I'm always successful, but I try.) She's criticizing your book based on the book she wanted to read, and not the book you wrote. Rather than point out what book you didn't write, maybe she should write it herself.

I'm not saying a reviewer should never do this; it can be effective, especially when comparing a book to another that is similar, and pulls something off more successfully. I didn't get a feeling that's what she was doing. She thought you should have done A, you did B, so she was critical.

Overall it's not a bad review. It's probably helpful because some people now know about the book who would not have otherwise, and that could be worth a few sales. She does a nice job of telling them what to expect without giving away too much of the story, though I do think using the publisher's synopsis verbatim is lazy.

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