Monday, August 22, 2011

Some of the "greats" get slagged...

This post is a follow up to the previous post in which I talk a bit about The Washington Post book reviewer Patrick Anderson and his book The Triumph of the Thriller.  In Triumph, Anderson takes a look at the changes in people's reading choices/preferences in recent years.  As well, he looks at the evolution of crime fiction from back in the days of Poe, Doyle, and Christie, to modern day masters like Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane.

Patrick Anderson has written a great many favourable book reviews, but there have been a few blasts as well.  Interestingly, some of the attacks have been about brand-name authors with book sales in the gazillions. 

Here are some of the highlights:

On James Patterson's The Beach House (and peripherally on Kiss the Girls): The book [Kiss the Girls] was sick, sexist, sadistic, and subliterate, so I tossed it and made a mental note that this was a writer to avoid at all costs.  The trouble with The Beach House is that it unfolds like an unspeakably dumb comic book.... One can skim the book in wonder at the awfulness of its prose and the absurdity of its plot.  But no one with even a minimal appreciation of good writing could possibly read it for pleasure. 

On David Baldacci's Hour Game:  The novel abounds with bizarre scenes that exist to provide cheap thrills.... Beating odds of probably a billion to one, I survived this novel with my sanity intact.  With this book, Baldacci has entered the James Patterson Really Bad Thriller Sweepstakes.

On Trace by Patricia Cornwell: You couldn't pay me to read another of her novels.

On The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer:  As I write this, Jeffrey Archer's latest is already on the best-seller list, so my warning may come to late to save you from this piece of nonsense.  If not, caveat emptor....  Why he is writing claptrap like this is anyone's guess. 

(You can find all the above excerpts in chapter 18 of The Triumph of the Thriller).

Fortunately, I've never had anything even close to what's written above said about my Sasha Jackson novels, and I really hope I never do!


  1. I find his reactions to the books hilarious. Good for him!

  2. "the Triumph of the Thriller" was a great book with a great look at the genre.

    His negative comments/reviews were not gratuitous, but anchored in valid criticism.