Friday, May 7, 2010

My roundup review of five of the latest big-name bestsellers on Scoop Review of Books

As I mentioned late last year, I have started contributing reviews to two more web-based publications, one of which is the Scoop Review of Books, edited by Jeremy Rose.

Scoop.co.nz is New Zealand's leading independent news publication. Readers average almost half a million per month. Established in 1999, Scoop is ranked 3rd by Nielsen Net Ratings in their News Category, and has been a finalist for best news site at the Qantas Media Awards.

Last year they reprinted (with permission) an NZLawyer article that featured my reviews of Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN and Michael Green's BLOOD BOND.

Earlier this week they published my 'Recent Roundup' looking at the latest releases from five internationally bestselling crime and thriller authors; Harlan Coben, Robert Crais, Linda Fairstein, Linwood Barclay, and Lee Child. I have reviewed some of these books elsewhere, in reviews of various sizes and for various audiences, but I wrote this roundup specifically for Scoop Review of Books (although of course many of my comments about the books will be similar to what I've said elsewhere).

Being web-based, it was great to have a bit more room to play with, in terms of the roundup, to talk about the books (300-350wds or so on each). I'm not sure how some of my fellow reviewers do it when they have to fit 4-5 books into a small newspaper sidebar.

You can read my roundup article, "Thrilling International Crime"the review on the Scoop Review of Books website, here.

Have you read any of these five recent releases? Which of the bestselling authors do you generally prefer, now or overall? Who is consistently great, and who has gone off the boil? What do you think of my reviews? Thoughts and comments welcome.

2 comments:

  1. Of those 5 authors Craig I've read different books than those you mention for 4 of the authors (never ready any Crais). None of them are on my favourite reads list - Fairstein used to be but I agree with you that it's beomce a bit formulaic for me now. I only read one Lee Childs book and really didn't like it - the whole premise of the Reacher character was just not believable for me and I found the style of writing not to my taste. I am looking forward to the Harlan Coben book though (it's already on my audibook playlist) and I will probably read the Linwood Barclay eventually too as I really liked one of his books. Overall I have given up on quite a few of the best selling authors that I used to read (Patterson, Cornwell etc). Mostly I think this is because I have had my eyes opened wider since I discovered that I don't have to buy all my books from the local chain store (which only stocks that stuff) and have been getting recommendations from book bloggers and other independent sources - I've tried dozens of new authors over the past couple of years and have enjoyed the greater variety that this offers my reading than annual installments by the same old authors was doing.

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  2. I hear what you're saying Bernadette. Likewise I've 'gone off' Patterson and Cornwell over the past decade-plus. I used to read a lot of their books at high school, but have found them much less fulfilling in recent years.

    61 HOURS was my first taste of Lee Child and Jack Reacher, and I enjoyed it. I have heard similar criticisms about the character from other recent titles in the series however, so I'll be interested to see what I think of some of the other books in the Reacher series (I liked 61 HOURS enough to buy and read some more).

    I have enjoyed the Linwood Barclay books I've read, and the Harlan Coben ones - I quite like their 'domestic thriller' or 'suburban terror' type stories...

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