Thursday, January 14, 2010

The book I referred to in my last post...


OK, the consensus seems to be that bad books should get bad reviews. The book I was referring to claims to be a best-seller, though not of the Dan Brown level, and it's about 5 years old. It's Liz Allen's Last to Know, a first novel, and the reviews from the Irish papers are excerpted at Amazon as follows: "'Gritty and engrossing' -- Irish World 20040618 'This well-researched crime thriller turns the spotlight on a world that most of us will be grateful never to visit.' -- Irish Independent 20040529 'A terrific read ... the plot sweeps along, never missing a beat ... we might even have a Minette Walters in the making here. More, please.' -- Irish Times Weekend Review 20040612 'Deftly plotted, the book bristles with the pace of a good news story ... It would be a crime not to read it.' -- Ireland on Sunday 20040613 'All the compelling elements of a bestseller' -- VIP 20040613" I should have instead relied on Critical Mick, whose review granted Allen points for research and for the authenticity of the criminal and police activities (but deducted points for the constant anal rapes reurring throughout), but also decries the coincidences and cliches (see his review at http://www.criticalmick.com/criticalmick_last_to_know.htm). What bothered me more than the incredible coincidences (which as Mick we see long before the characters do) is the bad writing--I expected more from a journalist: but then it seems that bad writing (see Dan Brown and many others) is a requirement of bestsellerdon. Last to Know is pulp-y without honest immersion in that sub-genre, and ambitious without the talent to do for the material what other Irish journalists-turned-crime-authors have done in more recent books. Please, if anyone has an alternative opinion about this book (or can explain the reviews in the Irish papers--are they misquoted? carefully excerpted from perhaps more honest reviews?), please let me know. I think I'm going to donate this one to the library, if they'll accept it. Is that too brutal a review? Mick recommended it, with massive reservations, in the end. I'm afraid I can't, regardless of authentic details...

2 comments:

william said...

Hi Ireland is a small country where everyone knows everyone one else sort of :) In the teeny weeny Irish media world a reporter could easily call in favours to have her book reviewed. It would be hard to review it badly as you will be probably working with her at some stage of your career. :) Oh and VIP is a social magazine primarily composed of photos of z list celebs and beauty tips :) A magazine by morons for morons :)))) Hope that helps explain all.
PS love pour blog

william said...

Hi Ireland is a small country where everyone knows everyone one else sort of :) In the teeny weeny Irish media world a reporter could easily call in favours to have her book reviewed. It would be hard to review it badly as you will be probably working with her at some stage of your career. :) Oh and VIP is a social magazine primarily composed of photos of z list celebs and beauty tips :) A magazine by morons for morons :)))) Hope that helps explain all.
PS love pour blog