I've blogged before about receiving a review that, while not bad, was not necessarily good. Now I find myself in the unenviable position of writing a review for someone else that will certainly not be a good one.
It's a tough spot to be in, and I can honestly say I've never looked at reviews from this particular vantage point before. Like most people, I tend to read books I think I will enjoy. I wouldn't agree to review a book if I had absolutely no interest in the subject or the genre. For one thing, I wouldn't know where to begin. For another, it doesn't seem fair to the writer for me to review something I know I'm not going to like.
While not every book I review is destined to be a best seller, I can usually find something good to say about a book, based primarily on the fact that I only read and review books that interest me in the first place. While I always make sure to mention the negative, I try to accentuate the positive. And then again, I've been fortunate not to read any books that are absolute dogs.
Until, maybe, this one. A notice by a writer in an online group caught my eye. She had released a new e-book. I did a little investigation and saw she has several novels published throughout the years, but this captured my attention because it was similar to my novel. Not similar where I thought she had violated my copyright or anything, but similar enough to pique my interest. Her protagonist did the same job as my protagonist, in the same city, and had a love interest in the same profession as my protags as well. This also happens to be the occupation I personally held for several years, in the city I held it in.
The storyline was okay. No reason to start a parade or anything, but adequate, strong enough to sustain a romance novel in any event. I guess I should go back and at least mention the book is a romance. Not that it should make a difference, but romances generally seem to be heavier on the character development than plot issues. And this was a crossover, a romance/mystery.
My issue with the book was that while the romance aspects were pretty traditional, which was not a problem, most of the facts pertaining to the mystery aspect and to the city it was set in were just plain wrong. The terminology used was incorrect, the investigative elements were incorrect, and even the geography was incorrect.
Most of these issues could have been resolved by a simple google search. I understand creative license, but there comes a point when it's no longer creative and just plain sloppy, not to mention distracting, to write things that are not accurate.
So now I am faced with the prospect of writing a review for the novel. I can try to make it nicer by saying the characters were interesting, which for the most part they were, but I'll still need to mention all the negatives--the fact that the book is full of inaccurate facts, the plot is laced with things that would never and could never happen because there are ethical rules that prevent them from happening, the fact that the writer appears to not have an adequate handle on investigative techniques, and the writer doesn't know the basics of common terms in the city the novel is set in.
I think my best course of action is to not write a review. The writer will likely not check back with me, and maybe I'll consider trying one of her earlier books to see if it fares any better. If she asks, I suppose I'll have to tell her the truth, but I see no need to publicly humiliate her, especially since those readers not in the same profession or not familiar with our city may not even notice the problems.
It never makes me feel good to make someone else feel bad. I guess I couldn't be a professional reviewer.
Causes Holli Castillo Supports
American Diabetes Association, American Breast Cancer Association, Lazarus House New Orleans