Wednesday, February 03, 2010

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

Until very recently, Publisher's Weekly has had little use for me as a writer*. This though the now defunct Kirkus Reviews gave me starred reviews back in the days when they hated everyone and took pleasure in making authors sad. But I'm pretty sure PW actually called one of my books useless (or pointless, something like that - not much to do with spinning that I'm afraid). But then they called my short story in Uncage Me! "moving" and now they've called my latest effort - BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO (coming in April to a bookstore near you... assuming that bookstore has a desire to carry books that have little chance of shifting off the shelves) - "searing." Searing... imagine. From "pointless" to "Searing."

Now, of course, they might have meant it in a bad way. After all, searing is good for steaks, but, for instance, not for human flesh. But I'm almost positive that they meant it in a good way. The context follows: "A heinous crime that rocks the small Puerto Rican town of Angustias scars far more than victim and perpetrator in Torres's searing fifth Precinct Puerto Rico novel..." That makes "searing" sound good, right?

Then there's the last line which I think is the reviewer's way of taking a little of that praise back*:

"Fans of downbeat slice-of-life mysteries will be most rewarded."

Now I have no desire to argue with the assessment. I think it's probably true. The story is almost a Greek tragedy. Tragedy certainly, but Puerto Rican.

Still, it does read a little like a backhanded compliment, no? After all, "fans of downbeat slice-of-life mysteries" can't include that many people, can it? Sounds like the book is being put into the slimmest of pigeonholes. Ah well. This is a step up anyway. True, it's up from being pointless, but a step never-the-less.

There. Now I've seen the dark cloud behind the silver lining...

* Not to suggest they had a use for me in any other capacity.


Blogger Russel said...

Searing is a damn fine word when it comes to literature, I think. I like to be seared by prose.

And occasionally seasoned by characters or filetted by plot. (okay, enough now with my bad cookery jokes - but it is an excellent word to have used in relation to your work.

And on a vaguely related note, I believe Kirkus is now no longer defunct - - someone bailed 'em out, which is I think a good thing.

So well done, sir. And I very much look forward to BIPPR (to use the lazy typist's variation on the title).


February 17, 2010 4:42 PM  

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