I used to review a lot of books. Like many people I would mostly opine through the pages of Amazon. However, since around 2010 or so, I have largely modified my approach.
Why? Well it is quite simply because some people, for reasons best known to themselves, actually seem to pay some attention to what I say. It’s a compliment to be sure but the theoretical power it gives me is rather unnerving.
I think I've made my likes and dislikes (in Sherlockian/Doylean books) pretty clear. Yet, as an author who has received both positive and negative reviews, I know all too well the impact an overtly negative review can have (regardless of whether or not it is justified). It was for that reason, some time ago, that I took the decision to only post reviews of books I felt at least 50% positive about.
Trying to work on the old maxim – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all – I have omitted reviewing books that have not pleased me. This allows the authors of books I've not reviewed to at least adopt the position of “perhaps he simply hasn't read it yet”. This of course assumes that they care what I think – most probably don’t.
But am I doing readers a disservice by this approach? Given the sheer volume of Sherlockian material (no matter how tenuous) out there, do I owe it to people to say if I think something is awful? Or should I let them find out for themselves? After all, people are not always going to agree with my assessment.
For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .
The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.
Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.