Thursday, March 29, 2007

the san francisco chronicle reviews the axe (HELP MY CAPS HAVE GONE MAD!!!)

Sorry I don't know what happened with that header - I couldn't get the pc to do caps, then everything was in caps. It's been a long day.

Somewhere around the midpoint of it, a couple of emails pinged into my inbox from New York. One from my American editor and one from my American publicist. Both telling me about a review in the San Francisco Chronicle - my first US newspaper review. (I was reviewed by a US blogger here.) I sort of hoped the simultaneous transmission was a good sign. But you know, I don't assume anything and I am naturally pessimistic.

Anyhow, they seemed quite pleased. One of them described it as a 'rave' review. The other used the word 'fantastic'. Yeah, yeah - I know how people in publishing tend to exaggerate. I could tell they were just trying to build me up so I wouldn't take the bad bits to heart. Still, it gave me the confidence to take a peek.

The SFC reviewer is Stephen Lyons. And yes, he seemed to like the book: "The story is told ably in the classic whodunit twisty-arc style, reminiscent of the sleuthing of Nick Charles, Sherlock Holmes and Columbo, the mussed-up character based partly on Dostoevsky's trench-coat-clad Petrovich. Dirty Harry could easily be referenced, too..."

Have to say, I'm very pleased with those references, though if I'm honest the Dirty Harry one strikes me as a bit left-field! But hey, I'm not complaining.

He does a quick summary of the story, then observes: "In addition to the splendid dust-off and resurrection of Petrovich, the strengths of "The Gentle Axe" are its characters and scene construction." He then goes on to quote from a scene that he particularly liked, calling it "wonderfully written". The scene is sort of about gambling, which allows him to conclude: "Tip to readers: Bet on Petrovich."

I've read the review through a few times now. Haven't found the bad bits yet.

The terrible knotted feeling in my stomach relaxed slightly today.


Dr Ian Hocking said...

Wow, fantastic, Roger! I can't find any bad bits either...

roger said...

Thanks Ian. To be honest, he gives away a little too much of the story for my liking - always a hard thing in reviewing crime. But I can't complain. Jersus, if I complain about that one, I'll never be happy!

Nik's Blog said...

Fantastic news Roger. First of many I hope.

David Isaak said...

Add my congratulations, of course!

And keep in mind that getting reviewed by papers at all in the US is nigh-unto impossible. The UK probably prints as many book reviews in a month as the US manages in a whole year.

The fact that you're getting ink, and getting it from the Chronicle, is amazing!

roger said...

Thanks Nik and David. I just got news of another one, The Moscow Times - though this seems to be an English language paper from Russia??? Anyhow, I'm going to put it in a main post.