Readers and Writers

Writers are readers first. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Some writers avoid reading in their genre while working on a manuscript. Then there’s a catch up period where writers devour many books and do their best to maintain annual book consumption.

I fall into a subgroup that consists of authors who write book length fiction, but are not as yet published. People like me are intensely interested in every hiccup and crosswind the publishing world produces. We read everything.

Since I review books, consider this a disclosure. There is no canon or editorial stance to defend. Views expressed may be unpredictable. Like when the pilot announces the turbulence we’re experiencing is entirely normal, but doesn’t clatify that it’s only normal for a hot air balloon.

When I say Denise Mina is a great writer or Steve Hamilton is terrific, I don’t couch it in qualifying language. The qualifier is implicit; it’s my opinion.

My goal is to review books by authors who don’t get the full court press from the publisher’s promotional budgets. Simon Kernick, Kevin Wignall, John Shannon, who wrote TERMINAL ISLAND, or Bill Moody who has a jazz motif in his series may be better examples. I loved MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, but you already know Lethem. This is not a perfect system. I’ve got novels by Ian Rankin and David Baldacci on the way.

Often reviews are a matter of timing. Publishers release books like THE WAKE UP by Robert Ferrigno, and it takes a few weeks to get organized, read the novel and write something about it.

Bouchercon is coming in October and I’m looking at the list of nominees for the various prizes awarded there. SJ Rozan has a standalone coming out; her novel WINTER AND NIGHT was superb. Okay, so I’m two years behind the curve on that one. I’ll take a whack at some of the novels nominated over the next couple of months.

Feel the wind in your face. This is a balloon. The turbulence you may experience is entirely normal. We take off and land whenever the mood strikes. That’s where the fun is.