Short stories

I love short stories, especially anthologies, George R R martin does some of the best in my opinion, bringing people from across genres to write on a theme. I view them much like a music festival you buy them for a few big names and often discover some hidden gems you weren’t aware of. I will happily read short story collections by one author too.

Recently I’ve had the privilege to read some great short stories, Escape by K A richardson was one, a fantastically harrowing tale of domestic violence, I look forward to more from this author, And a collection by Ann cleeves called Off shore that was genuinely great to read as well.

Then I went on to read a collection of short stories by Stephen Leather called bloodbath with free fan fiction (which when you’ve been to as many comic conventions as I have you find slightly horrifying). Which turned out to be one short story from the author and the rest written by fans. This makes me very angry as I don’t want to read fan stories, although in this case they may have been better written, especially not when the book is advertised with the authors name in big letters, implying the bulk of the text is his. Also considering this author has been very open about his prior sock puppetry towards other authors, I find it highly amusing that he asks for reviews at the end of his paltry short story as they are essential to authors (a point i agree with). My review for this collection is 1* but never mind I’m sure the author can go on and write his own reviews to drown mine out.

It makes me angry when authors that do terrible things like plagarise and go out to actively troll other authors still get supported by people and really in this case Stephen leather is not that great an author for good police procedural crime with a paranormal twist read James Oswald or Charles Stross, neither of them are sock puppets. or just give up and go full on paranormal crime and read the geniuses that are Ben Aaronovitch or Jim Butcher, they will be much more satisfying reads I promise. Up next less ranting more Noir.

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The importance of recommendations

I recently finished book 78 for the year Phil Rickman’s the wine of angels, which was a really enjoyable crimey type of read with a strong pagan flavour to it. The elements of mysticism made it very creepy and atmospheric and I think I could have found a new favourite author. So why the strange title you may ask well this is a book recommended to me by no less than 3 authors I really respect, Robin Roughley, Shani Struthers (also writes books with a great pagan flavour) and Domenica Da Rosa (Elly Griffiths), When something is recommended to you by that many authors you genuinely really enjoy than you have to take that good advice and I’m really glad I did.

But it got me thinking how much does a recommendation, book review, critics article matter, what makes you actually buy a book. Me personally I never look at book reviews or ratings before making a purchase I am a browser and compulsive buyer so the book blurb will most likely sell the book to me or occasionally an author review printed on the book especially if it’s Neil Gaiman or Charlaine Harris recommends as I rarely go wrong with books they enjoy.

The only other place that influences me to buy books, My friends, Family or other people I know and respect the opinions of, The Uk crime book club for instance is clogging up my TBR pile with awesome recommendations like the ones mentioned above. What makes you choose a book, let me know in the comments below.

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