Yep, it’s true. I’m lurid.

There are some authors who never feel the sting of an ugly review.  Throughout their careers, they enjoy the unstinting and unfailing praise of critics who gush: “The best crime writer in the country today!” or “Yet another masterpiece!”  They are the darlings who have never heard a harsh word from the literary kingmakers.

I am not one of those writers.

I was reminded of this when I read Marilyn Stasio’s review of THE MEPHISTO CLUB this morning, a review so awful that I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.  She complains that I’ve always skated close to the edges of horror with my icky, bloody plots about fiends who harvest organs and murder pregnant women.  She dismisses me as “a lurid writer to begin with.”  And this time, she says, I’ve gone over the top.  WAY over the top. 

Once upon a time, a review like this would have sent me diving under the covers.  I wouldn’t have had the stomach to talk about it.  It’s like having a death in the family — everyone knows about it, but they don’t dare bring up the subject for fear you’ll start sobbing hysterically.  

Man, am I way over that.  Because I’ve gone through this before.  Many, many times before.  I, my friends, am the queen of bad reviews.

Every so often, when I’ve indulged in a few too many glasses of wine among my fellow writers, I’ll suggest that we have a few laughs by reciting our worst reviews.  I’ll throw out a few of mine, and wait for someone else to recite theirs.  Invariably, I’m met with stunned silence.  I don’t think it’s because they’re reluctant to share.  I think it’s because none of them can come close to the bad reviews I’ve gotten through the years.  I’ve been dismissed as a talentless hack by some of the most influential names in the business.

The ironic thing is, the books that garnered the worst reviews and stirred up the most violent responses were the very same books that significantly advanced my career.

My very first thriller, HARVEST, was called a “terminally bad read” by the late J.D. Reed, a People Magazine reviewer who was praised for his infallible literary instincts.  In Mr. Reed’s highly esteemed literary opinion, my career was dead on arrival, and he probably assumed that the world would never have to endure another Tess Gerritsen novel.  (Much less ten more of them.)

The infallible Mr. Reed must have thought the world had turned upside down when HARVEST hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Then there was Patrick Anderson of the Washington Post, who declared VANISH a worthless read and said that no male reader in his right mind would want to read about a lactating detective.  Case closed.

Mr. Anderson must have gnashed his teeth when VANISH was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity Awards.

So Ms. Stasio’s nasty review is actually a very good sign for the success of THE MEPHISTO CLUB.  And I think it’s not such a bad thing to be called “lurid”, if you consider the alternative: colorless and dry and boring.

“Boring,” thank god, is the one critique that’s never been leveled at me.

While I admit to some pretty thin skin, I’ve also learned to accept the fact that reviewers sometimes get malicious, for reasons that escape me.  And I say this not just as a writer on the receiving end, but also as an uninvolved observer.  I have a friend — a published novelist herself — who sometimes reviews books for various major publications.  She is a very sweet, very personable woman who knows what it’s like to get a bad review.  I’ve always liked her, and could not imagine her being cruel to anyone.  One of the books she reviewed a few years ago was written by a mega-bestselling, much-beloved author of women’s sagas.  I myself had read that book.  I adored that book.  It entranced me, it made me cry, and by the end of it, I wished that I had written that book.  When I found out that my friend had written a review of it, I was curious to find out what she thought of it.

I was shocked.  My sweet, generous, kind friend had turned into the literary equivalent of Freddie Kruger, slashing away at the novel with such cruelty that I could not believe we had read the same book.  She likened it to a repulsive piece of garbage littering the road.  There was nothing — NOTHING — in that book that deserved such abuse.  Maybe it wasn’t a genre my friend liked.  Maybe it was a little sentimental.  But those should have raised nothing more than a few quibbles, and not the outlandish hatred I saw in that review.

May I add that these two women did not know each other.  There was nothing personal between them.

I have never asked my friend why she wrote the review.  I just didn’t have the stomach to talk about it.  But ever since then, I’ve wondered about the reasons for it.  One of the reasons, I suspect, is that the author is far, far more successful than my friend will ever be.  Jealousy must be a factor:  “I can’t sell as many books as you can, but darn it, I can still cut you down to size, bitch.”  Or something to that effect.

I also suspect that reviewers save their nastiest, cruelest reviews for the authors whom they believe can take them, the authors whose careers are solid enough that a bad review won’t hurt their sales.  No one wants to kick the underdog.  But everyone loves to swat at the high flyers.

So for those of you who are unlucky enough to get a really awful review — maybe you’re actually the lucky ones.  Maybe it’s an occasion to celebrate.  I know you’re sick to your stomach.  I know you feel like hiding in a closet.  Don’t do that.  Take it as a sign of success.

And keep writing those deliciously lurid novels.  Because damn it, somebody must be buying them.

50 replies
  1. Charissa
    Charissa says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that someone could actually give you a bad review!?

    I think it comes down to peoples ‘tastes’ in books sometimes. There are some books I can love to pieces and rave about for weeks, and my Gran can hate with a vengeance. (sp?) — And we tend to read the same genre too. We both agree on your books though. (WE LOVE THEM ALL!)

    I’m looking forward to reading your latest. I’m waiting patiently. (Okay, no. Impatiently. But I’m waiting aren’t I?!)

    – Chrissy

  2. Jude Hardin
    Jude Hardin says:

    I’m looking forward to reading your new book, Tess. Hope it’s lurid as hell.

    The book reviewers I really can’t stand are the ones who do it online anonymously. If you’re going to bash someone, at least have the cojones to sign your name. Better yet, if you don’t have anything good to say, shut the f*** up.

  3. struggler
    struggler says:

    Well Tess, you do seem to have touchingly sensitive skin for a very successful writer, but maybe the reviewers are professionally obligated to sensationalise their write-ups in much the same way that authors have to do when covering an otherwise bland subject? I would like to consider myself as an objective admirer of your work, one who doesn’t go wild with joy at whatever you write; for example I thought Surgeon and Apprentice were outstanding but Sinner has not matched up to those high standards. I haven’t read Body Double or Vanish but I do own both, and I will buy Mephisto Club as soon as it’s available here in the UK. I’ve been disappointed with The Sinner but it seems as if the likes of Marilyn Stasio would rip it to pieces, metaphorically speaking, because “disappointing” wouldn’t satisfy her editor in a way that “Gerritsen, don’t give up your day job” might. Reviewers go way, way over the top in BOTH directions in order to stand out, to make names for themselves, and sometimes a review of pure vitreolic hatred can make a lot of people buy that book out of plain curiosity, to see if it really is as bad as all that.

    I prefer to read the opinions of readers who are not paid to give their opinions, who know an author’s portfolio well (assuming there is one) and, as Jude says, put their real name to that review. Again, referring to The Sinner, I bought it without reviewing any reviews at all (it seemed utterly pointless after the brilliant predecessors) but halfway through I sought out some private reviews and found that, generally speaking, those who had never read Tess’ work before loved it, while those who were gagging for more of the same from their love of The Surgeon and The Apprentice (like me) were disappointed. I couldn’t find a BAD review, nothing hateful or defamatory – which would have been ridiculous anyway.

    I suppose with my realistic and objective approach, no newspaper or magazine editor would hire me as a reviewer because he/she wants somebody to produce fireworks, somebody who generates OTT love/hate drivel and who perhaps most importantly of all gets people talking about the reviews for their own distorted identities…..it will sell more papers and magazines, after all. I have to admit to going OTT myself just the once when reviewing one of Dan Brown’s earlier works (as a fan of intelligent writing such as Tess’, you can surely guess if I loved or hated it!) but other than that I give a book its rightful dues and will be uninfluenced by other works from the same author.

    Marilyn Stasio probably likes The Mephisto Club a lot more than she’s letting on. People in the public eye whose careers depend upon staying there will often have polar-opposite likes and dislikes than their fan-base would believe. I have never heard of Marilyn Stasio but I would imagine that her career depends upon the extreme popularity of her reviews be they positive or negative; if she sat on the fence or (perish the thought) told the TRUTH, she might well be out of a job, only to be replaced by someone with an even greater self-interest and lack of concern for the accuracy of their comments.

  4. struggler
    struggler says:

    P.S. Tess, you are now in the ‘Google-ometer’ millionaire’s club at 1.18 million while Ms Stasio wallows in an intellectual vacuum among the unknowns at 176,000.

  5. Craig
    Craig says:

    First of all I’m not going to read about what anyone thinks of anything in People Magazine. I go to Book Pages where one will find nothing but positive reviews. As I said before, the quickest way to kill a book, especially by a new author, is to ignore it.

    Tess, you play rough. Yes, you’re lurid and so am I and that makes us a perfect match. I don’t want to read an author who pulls his or her punches. Borrinngg. Of all of the authors on my must read list–any author whose next book automatically gets read–you are the roughest which is why you’re on my must read list.

    Here’s my favorite type of mystery–some sort of murder has taken place and the investigator–cop, detective, private eye, whatever–starts poking around and waking up demons who either thought they had gotten away with whatever they’d done or are in the process of committing their heinous crimes and realize that they’re about to be exposed and must snuff out the offending, i.e. parties.

    By the way, my favorite of yours is Body Double–it scared me speechless–and I anxiously await your next lurid tale so I can sleep like a baby.

  6. tragicfarinelli
    tragicfarinelli says:

    Lurid? Someone has a weak stomach! I wouldn’t worry about bad reviews much Tess; I read A LOT of Crime fiction, and move in a lot of readers circles for Crime Fuction – just lately, you are going up the popularity barometre like a monkey up a drainpipe. After Body Double, your first rate status was secured. I personally thought ‘The Sinner’ was the weakest point in the Rizzoli series too – I didn’t really enjoy it even half as much as the marvellous Surgeon/Apprentice. I started to worry that the quality had peaked and was dipping so soon in the series, but Body Double is so marvellous that all doubts were flung aside. Vanish too. Bloody Marvelous and better than ever, so you GO Tess!

    Also…This reviewer is talking about subject matter right, rather than the WAY you write violence or description about said subject matter? I cannot for one second believe this person has read much Crime fiction…Or maybe they just skimmed way past Karin Slaughter or Mo Hayder or Val McDermid. I find these writers far more explicit and ‘Lurid’. And also wonderful!

    Keep up the Lurid work Tess.

  7. Tess
    Tess says:

    Struggler and tragicF., your similar reactions to THE SINNER are interesting, and illustrate the fact that writers can never be sure what’s going to appeal to readers. I actually found THE SINNER one of my most challenging and satisfying books to write, because it was not a simple serial killer book, and I couldn’t rely on that automatic internal drumbeat of tension that a stalking/serial killer novel has. Serial killers are actually easy villains to create and I always feel like I’m taking the easy way out when I do one of those. But taking an overseas corporate horror and turning it into a homicide case in Boston was a lot harder.

  8. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    i’d just wait for the amazon customer reviews-that’s where you get honest and diverse reviews-i personally don’t care for stasio’s review style-the NYT has dropped a long way since the days of anthony boucher and not just in the book section

  9. struggler
    struggler says:

    I think tragicfarinelli’s on to a hot idea there Tess – how about some lurid fuction in the next instalment??

  10. David Montgomery
    David Montgomery says:

    I thought that review was a hoot. I actually laughed when I read it. (Granted, I’m sure it’s no fun to be on the other end of things.) But damn, at least there was some passion there. I disagreed with her conclusions, but it was so obvious that she HATED the book (yet still felt compelled to write about it) that shows that you certainly accomplished something with it. I’m not exactly sure what that is… but a strong negative reaction is much better than no reaction at all.

  11. Laura
    Laura says:

    Tess,

    I’ll happily play along. I’ve gotten some TERRIBLE reviews, but the quote-worthy one appeared in the Washington Post, re: Every Secret Thing.” It went something like this: “[This] proves that Laura Lippman has a serious novel of ideas in her. Every Secret Thing isn’t it.”

    I don’t know a single writer, no matter how celebrated, who hasn’t gotten a terrible review. I wish more would speak about it openly, because then I think the feeling of shame would be less.

  12. dsurrett
    dsurrett says:

    Here’s an idea – make all reviewers sit down and write a novel before they can review any.
    Successful writers who have had multiple books on the NY Times best sellers list keep writing because they want to, in order to please their fans. Reviewers write critiques because they have to, in order to keep their jobs. Who should I pay more attention to? I’ll stick with the successful writers.

  13. Tess
    Tess says:

    Laura, isn’t it sad that we writers can almost always quote our worst reviews, word for word, even ten or twenty years later? They seem to get burned permanently into our gray matter. (Although I’m astonished that you ever get ANY bad reviews!) And you’re right, I think it’s like dealing with anything unpleasant in life — the more we’re able to talk about it, the less power it has over us. It’s better than keeping them hidden away like a secret shame in our closets.

  14. BJB
    BJB says:

    This just tells me that everything about books and readers is subjective. I like all your books, but in my opinion GRAVITY is your best…and you stated earlier that Gravity was not a success. Tess, if you ever get the chance, would you please tell the story on how you found your agent and when you got the call on gaining representation. Thanks!

  15. leonie
    leonie says:

    Your readers are the people you should be listening to – sales figures, blogs, fan mail and the like…but I’ll admit negative criticism hurts, and if a person has 99 compliments and 1 negative piece of criticism, they will only ever remember that one piece of criticism, virtually word for word, we all do it and I am baffled as to why it is easier to believe the negative things more than the positive??
    I have read almost all of your books and personally I think HARVEST is blimmin brilliant! VANISH has yet to hit NZ shelves but I am sure I will enjoy that just as much as the others.

  16. leonie
    leonie says:

    Oop’s I have just read what Tess said earlier and I realise have just repeated her comment about criticism and how it sticks in the mind…is this a case of great minds think alike? hmmm i forget the rest of the saying…

  17. JanetK
    JanetK says:

    Just looked up “lurid” in the big fat dictionary that lives on my desk: (a) vivid in a harsh or shocking way; startling; sensational (b) characterized by violent passion or crime.

    Hmm. Being lurid doesn’t seem like such a bad thing for a thriller writer to be.

    But I’m glad, Tess, that you can shake off bad reviews so easily these days. How long did it take you to get to this point?

  18. JA Konrath
    JA Konrath says:

    I got this from PW for my debut: “Reading like an ill-conceived cross between Carl Hiaasen and Thomas Harris, this cliché-ridden first novel should find a wide audience among less discriminating suspense fans.”

    Not only was I insulted, but they insulted all of my potential fans. Since then, I haven’t taken reviews seriously.

    I’m tempted, though, to respond to some of those Amazon reviewers. I just got this one a few days ago:

    “Maybe it’s me, but I think that if you’re writing a light-hearted mystery with a lot of one liners and some characters who are so exaggerated as to be basically comedy relief more than real people, maybe you shouldn’t punctuate it with scenes of grotesque violence. There are descriptions of acts in here that reminded me why I was never able to read “American Psycho”– really appalling, hideous stuff. And yet the book is clearly a comedy. I just couldn’t reconcile the two aspects of the book.”

    I’d like to tell this guy, “Yes, it is you. The blurbs on the cover mention FIVE DIFFERENT TIMES that the book is a combination of scares and laughs. And to compare me to American Psycho is crazy—that book is gratuitously violent, with murders described in clinical detail. The violence in my novels is indeed awful, but it happens OFFSCREEN. I don’t dwell on violence. I gloss over it, and the after-effects are mentioned later. There are no ‘descriptions of acts’ in my books. I challenge anyone to find one. Plus, the violence is tempered by the fact that THE BOOK IS FUNNY. And, if you’ve every hung around cops, you’ll find that a sense of humor is necessary. Many cops I know say the most realistic show ever on TV concerning their profession was Barney Miller.”

    But I never respond. It is nice, however, to vent here. 🙂 Thanks, Tess! I have my copy of Mephisto Club already on reserve.

  19. David Montgomery
    David Montgomery says:

    If I could briefly stick up for the poor, beleagured reviewers… There are critics out there who review books because they love them and want to share that love with readers. They aren’t just in it for the money (of which there is very little) or because it’s their job (very few reviewers actually are employed as such). They don’t go out of their way to write nasty things about authors or their books. And sometimes they critcize because they honestly didn’t like a book — who knows, they might even be right every once in a while. 🙂

  20. Tess
    Tess says:

    Joe,
    yes, it’s a constant temptation to respond to some of these nasty comments, isn’t it? But it’s almost never worth talking to them. So we just have to grin and bear it.

    p.s. — ouch, that WAS a nasty PW review! Almost as bad as the one I got saying that HARVEST was for “readers who move their lips.”

  21. bob k
    bob k says:

    Well, now I am convinced the new book will be a worthwhile read (as if I wasn’t already)!! It is pretty much a given that the poorer review a movie or book gets (if it is one that piqued my interest in the first place) – the more I will like it. And very, very often – the books that get rave reviews bore me to tears.

    Tess – I am glad to hear this review didn’t get you down. I am betting this will be a very big seller – I know I am headed to the local bookstore tomorrow!!! The only problem with buying it right off…the wait for the NEXT one will be that much longer!

  22. NicoleH
    NicoleH says:

    Well, I say ignore the reviews because the book is great. And just about any book is going to get bad reviews, especially when said book is by a well-known author. Just happens. But chances are, it’s not going to matter in the long run. People really talk with their wallet.

  23. patry
    patry says:

    If it’s any comfort, after he read that terrible review, my husband said he was intrigued by the plot and even more eager to read the book. In other words, real fans see through the meanspiritedness and make their own decisions.

    I’ve already been warned by my publisher to brace for bad reviews, because everybody gets them. Your openness and honesty here puts it into perspective for all of us.

  24. Allison Brennan
    Allison Brennan says:

    The other day my husband was reading my amazon reviews and he wanted me to respond to one of them. I tend to get five star or one star reviews, which is fine because that means that people are passionate about my books–they love it or hate it. I told him I’m not going to respond, it’s not worth it. And I told him he wasn’t allowed to, either.

    I never read reviews before I was published and now I’ve become obsessed. But it’s a controlled obsession 🙂

    I’ve read all of Tess’s single titles (and a friend of mine gave me her early romances as well which are sitting proudly on my shelf!) and I have NEVER been disappointed in a Tess Gerritsen book.

  25. JA Konrath
    JA Konrath says:

    >>>>saying that HARVEST was for “readers who move their lips.”

    Just because I move my lips when I read doesn’t mean I don’t know a good book!

    Taste is subjective. There is nothing inherent in a book that makes it good or bad. Opinions are personal, not universal.

    Also, the tendency in human beings to create is tempered the the tendency to destroy.

    The best critics are the ones who understand the reason for their existence. The rest became high school gym coaches because they weren’t ever good enough to make the pros.

    I may have to buy 2 copies of Mephisto, because my wife wants to read it first. My wife, by the way, is a professional dog walker, and she offered to mail Marilyn Stasio a giant box of doggy doo if you just say the word. 😉

  26. NightTrain
    NightTrain says:

    Gosh, parts of that review read like a toast from one of those Friar’s Roast specials on TV. Very Don Rickles. After each sentence toward the end there, I half expected to see a cutaway shot of Dean Martin guffawing and leaning on Phyllis Diller.

    Well, if the big city critics hate it, that means that those of us in “flyover land” will love it. And so much the better because there are a lot more of us than there are of them.

    We love your Scarlet L, Tess. We can’t wait to curl up with Mephisto for a nice sleepless night. With all the lights on. And the doors locked.

  27. Jenny K
    Jenny K says:

    Tess,
    I think its great that you can laugh off bad reviews. It’s hard for me to imagine someone not loving your books even if they are lurid. The truth is that many people are fascinated by violence, blood, gore, and the criminal mind. They just don’t want to admit it.
    Keep up the good work, I cant wait to read the new book!

  28. Cade13
    Cade13 says:

    There are always going to be people who love what you do and people who hate it, that’s just the way life is, you can’t please everyone. I am a guitar player and have been playing for 16 years now and I put my heart and soul into becoming as talented as I can, but I just know that no matter how gifted I am or I become, there are simply going to be people in which my music does nothing for, whether it’s because of the style I write, or some other reason. At the end of the day, we can only do our best and that’s really all anyone should expect of us. I play guitar because I love to do it, and I’m sure Tess writes because she loves to do it as well, since obviously she could still make loads of money as a doctor or surgeon. Personally, I’m glad that you write Tess. The funny part is, I’m not even a big reader, but for some reason I really love your books, they always manage to keep me occupied and interested, which in my case is not the easiest thing. I’ve read every single book you’ve put out since you started doing thriller stuff, and I think your writing is amazing, so just remember that for every bad review, there is often someone out there who will praise what you do and it will mean something to them. I’m looking forward to meeting you at your signing at the Maine Mall Borders 🙂

    Regards,
    Jason

  29. Darlene Ryan
    Darlene Ryan says:

    A reviewer once called me “perky.” I think I’d rather be called lurid.
    And by the way I really liked The Sinner. It’s one of my favorites.

  30. sue7979
    sue7979 says:

    hi Tess, i love your books expecially the Jane Rizzoli series. I cant wait to get hold of a copy of your latest ‘The Mephisto Club’ What i’m dying to know is are there any more books to follow in the series???

  31. Rob Gregory Browne
    Rob Gregory Browne says:

    When I was a kid, with a book in one hand and a TV Guide in the other, I ALWAYS tuned in whenever the guide described a movie as “lurid.” I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it had to be something good.

    Now that I’m all grown up, I know exactly what it means. And my instincts as a child were dead on.

  32. Craig
    Craig says:

    I’ve placed probably a half dozen reviews on Amazon and in each case it was a book that I loved and was being ignored. We have a fabulous author locally whose first two mysteries got no attention whatsoever so I got on Amazon and sang her praises. I avoid reading reviews in general. I go to Amazon to read the synopsis. If it trips my trigger (which isn’t hard) I seek out the book in my bookstore and read the first 25 pages or so. If we’re compatible we go home together.

    I didn’t expect this to happen but your blog, Tess, is introducing me to new authors who are participants. I want you authors to know I’m sitting here taking notes. It’s a coincidence, but after John Saul’s new one, JA Konrath’s Whiskey Sour is next. This will be my introduction to him. Tess, your blog is providing me with new friends who are keeping me from becoming a victim of cable TV.

  33. GerritsenFever10
    GerritsenFever10 says:

    We wouldn’t read your work if you were boring, monotonal, lackluster, etc. We like lurid and the other good things you do in your books. Lord knows I can’t put your book down once I’m reading it and I have a paper due this Thursday and I’m getting The Mephisto Club today!!! So I’m ready to sacrifice my usual “A” so I can enjoy your new piece of fantasmic (that would be fantastic and orgasmic put together) work!!

  34. struggler
    struggler says:

    Craig’s right. I feel strangely privileged to be a part of Tess’ blog, the value of the commentators should not be underestimated. Above all, of course, I value Tess’ own contributions which are always bang-on topical, devoid of diplomacy or political correctness yet never offensive. The Mephisto Club, released today of course, will be a surefire success and will soon appear on the NYT bestsellers list – a spit in the eye for the misjudgement of one of its reviewers.

    Luridness rules.

    Oi, MS! Nasty Liar! (Rearrange those letters to form the name of a rather unpopular literary critic)

  35. Alexandra Sokoloff
    Alexandra Sokoloff says:

    “Over the top” isn’t what I’d call your writing – I think I’d say mythic. And it’s the adrenaline rush you provide that hooked me from the beginning. Not for the faint of heart, though, so of course the faint of heart quail!

    Cannot WAIT to get my hands on MEPHISTO.

    Alex

  36. Tess
    Tess says:

    I love the community that’s found its way here. And btw, Craig, when you go looking for new authors to try out, Alexandra Sokoloff has a new book called THE HARROWING. Just the title alone should give you the shivers. And don’t forget Allison Brennan and Patry Francis and Robert Gregory Browne.

    Struggler, you are a clever boy!

  37. Meike
    Meike says:

    Tess,

    Have you ever read AS Byatt’s review of the Harry Potter books? They’re (unintentionally) hilarious. I particularly enjoy the part where she says Harry Potter is childish.

    No, really.

  38. Craig
    Craig says:

    Tess, thanks for the heads up on the new authors. Like I said I’m taking notes. I’m currently involved with Scott Frost’s Never Fear–creepy creepy!! He wrote for Twin Peaks and the X Files and this is his second and it reads a lot like Twin Peaks. Great fun.

    You know who’s missing on this blog? We’ve got authors and readers and now I’d love to get some booksellers on here. It would be fabulous for them to share their experience and insight with us.

  39. Tess
    Tess says:

    David,
    of course we aren’t including YOU in that despised category!

    Authors need reviewers. And more often than not, when I read a review, and then the book, I can see why the reviewer may have disliked it. I just wish they’d refrain from sarcasm and unnecessary cruelty.

  40. David Thayer
    David Thayer says:

    Tess, I’m a few days late here, but I was stunned by Marilyn Stasio’s review of THE MEPHISTO CLUB. I’ve just begun reviewing crime fiction at January Magazine and can’t imagine using that approach to an author’s work.

  41. David Montgomery
    David Montgomery says:

    I’ll admit, I have resorted to sarcasm a couple of times in my reviewing career (but only a couple, out of hundreds of books reviewed)… and to be honest, I felt a little bad about it afterwards.

    I try to remind myself to always be respectful of the book, even if I don’t like it. I think authors deserve that.

  42. rdl
    rdl says:

    And I think it’s not such a bad thing to be called “lurid”, if you consider the alternative: colorless and dry and boring.

    It seems that it has worked in the opposite anyway by the number of comments. I don’t think you have anything to worry about as you say from past experience with bad reviews and successful books. I’ve added it to my list for my next trip to the bookstore. I wish you had mentioned who the bestselling woman’s saga author was as well, now i’m curious.

  43. elle4loser
    elle4loser says:

    Dudette,
    THATS the reason I’m reading your books!
    I’m joking 😉 You are a fantastic author. If i may be pardoned for being childish, let me say ” She was just jealous .”

  44. erwedin
    erwedin says:

    I think you can look at those bad reviews as blessings in disguise…I tend to enjoy bad review books and movies more than the good reviews. As far as “lurid” goes…keep it up cause your readers are certainly buying them up. I also think she must be jealous or out of her mind…your books are awesome

  45. Janice
    Janice says:

    I have reviewed books for online literary magazines. And yes, I was paid. I am a writer and will probably never publish a best selling novel but I am appreciative of the talent it takes to do that. When I review a book, I always find something constuctive or complementary to say. That is not to say I love all the books but I try not to tear anyone down. Negative commnets can be couched in terms that are not “lurid.”

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