On book reviews and feedback to publishers

Don’t you just love an outspoken review now and again?  This one caught my eye: from Jeremy Jehu in The Telegraph, published online on 11 October.  Jeremy would like to see more adventure in what the big publishers publish, or less ‘dumbing down’.  Make your own choice there, but a big shout out to the JJ!

Sequence

by Adrian Dawson

546PP, Last Passage, £9.99 þþþþ Star rating: ****

* Big publishers enforce three rules of thriller-writing: don’t mix genres, don’t overtax readers’ tiny brains and don’t be funny. Adrian Dawson clearly knows this. Hence his second novel is a philosophical collision of sci-fi and gumshoe-noir with a devilishly tricky plot and a narrative bursting with sardonic laughs. It’s a brave challenge to the sneery notion that only stupidity sells in sprawling popular fiction and coolly achieves that elusive trinity of pace, intellect and charm.

The italics for emphasis are my own.

The full set of JJ’s thriller reviews for that weekend can be found here.  Meanwhile, that Adrian Dawson is causing quite a stir, so you might want to check him out on Amazon.

8 thoughts on “On book reviews and feedback to publishers

  1. DJ´s krimiblog

    Great review. And Adrian Dawson is also on that looooong wish list. I didn´t speak to him in Bristol, but since then he has promised me a beer whenever we meet again – charming fellow😉

  2. Maxine

    Good point, and thank heavens for medium and small publishers (Quercus, Corvus) and independents such as Bitter Lemon, Legend, Hersilia, Arcadia et al, who publish somewhat more original novels.

    1. crimeficreader Post author

      Indeed, Maxine. It was said of the Booker this year that it’s the smaller independents which are taking risks. The same is true of the crime and thriller world, I believe.

  3. kimbofo

    This ties in nicely to the spat about the Booker Vs the new Literature Prize, and accusations that the former has dumbed down this year.

    1. crimeficreader Post author

      Ah, Kim. That debacle has not escaped my attention, but it is not something I choose to wade into. On a more general level, with the internet and social media, customer feedback is now available quickly and bluntly. I don’t think the publisher model has sought this from the end consumer and it’s the publishers, along with various parts of their distribution channel, who set trends, anticipating what the readers will like/enjoy. Feedback time is the new generation.

      And I am glad that someone has held up their hand and said enough of the repetitive fodder.

  4. Anya Lipska

    How true this reads. I was told that my book made the fatal faux pas of mixing thriller and detective genres – a sin, apparently, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the mix, but because as one prominent crime editor told me “My sales team wouldn’t know how to sell it.”

Comments are closed.