Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm Not Bitching. Really I'm Not.

The first review of BERMUDA SCHWARTZ is in. It's from Publisher's Weekly, which had nice things to say about BAHAMARAMA and JAMAICA ME DEAD. This latest review is, whew, a good one, too. PW didn't award B.S. a much-coveted star, as it did for THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING, by Thomas H. Cook, which came right after the B.S. review. But neither did it say "lacking in style and substance," as it did of SANTA CRUISE, by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, which came right before.

I won't bother you with the entire thing, but here are some snippets:
"Wisecracking ex-NFL player Zack Chasteen hunts treasure—and people willing to kill for it—in Morris's offbeat third island-themed adventure. Zack, who now raises palm trees in Florida, embarks for Bermuda with his British girlfriend, Barbara Pickering, and loyal South American associate, Boggy, to deliver some magnificent Madagascar palms to Barbara's wealthy Aunt Trula ... "
A lot of plot regurgiation then unfolds, until the review ends with:
"Wry humor and engaging Bermuda history help propel the plot."
OK, don't get me wrong, here. I am delighted that PW has chosen to review all my books. The magazine has room for only about 75-100 reviews per issue, maybe 5,000 reviews annually, which accounts for less than ten percent of the books published each year. So just getting noticed is awesome. With luck, Library Journal, Booklist and, groan, Kirkus will follow (Kirkus always finds a way to say something snippy about every book, and I mean every book. Last year, reviewing JAMAICA ME DEAD, Kirkus had great things to say—"action-packed," "fast-paced," "snappy-dialogue," "great visuals" and then ended with "Perhaps Morris should stick to travel writing." I mean, go freaking figure...)

But here's what gets me about the PW review, aside from the fact there's no sizzling quote I can extract for a future book blurb (OK, "wry humor" isn't awful, but it just kinda sits there. And while "offbeat" is a badge of honor, a case could be made that the Unabomber was "offbeat.") The first snippet above contains not one, but two fact errors. For starters, Boggy hails from the Dominican Republic which, last time I checked, was well north of South America. And the palm trees Zack hauls to Bermuda are Bismarck palms, not Madagascars.

No, these aren't giant glitches. But they are a mite irksome. And you tell me, should I be feeling just a bit miffed by it all? Or should I just say screw it and give thanks that B.S. got reviewed? (Methinks the latter, of course, but hey, I just needed to vent.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob as they say "You can say anything you want as long as they say something" paraphasing somewhat.

They could have said that Zack was impolite to Barbara's Aunt on the phone with his dry wit.

Keep up the good work, you just need to visit "Libido" again and chill.