Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Another voice

It is always gratifying to know one's work is appreciated and this afternoon I received word that an author whose work I reviewed had contacted Authorlink to let me know what he thought of my review.

Jon Land writes thrillers -- marvelous thrillers -- and I have had the opportunity to read and review two of his books. The latest, Strong Enough to Die will be available March 2009 and I reviewed it last month. Here's what Mr. Land had to say about the review:

I was flabbergasted, in a wonderful way, by J. M. Cornwall's [sic] review of STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE. Once again she honed in on all the things I was trying to do and based her review on how well I accomplished them. I couldn't be more inspired by her words, including her one negative comment which I whole-heartedly agree with and even then wouldn't know how to change it. Since these are the first critical comments/review I've gotten on the book, I take them especially to heart.

Could you please forward me J. M.'s e-mail address, or forward mine to her, so I can share my thoughts with her personally? She's a shrewd and sensitive reviewer, as well as a very good writer.

Too often authors, especially those who have received less than glowing reviews, blame the reviewer instead of taking a good look at what the reviewer found questionable or didn't like about the book. Some authors even accuse the reviewer of prejudice or personal disagreements, and on occasion that may be true. However, there are many good reviewers who, in spite of their personal feelings for or against a particular author, write honest critiques of the books they review.

In the end, a reviewer is a writer, a literary journalist, who gives their considered opinion based on their own background and skills, but reviewers are still people and their opinion, however learned and honest, is still just one opinion. I tell authors and readers to use the review as a guideline in forming their own opinions not as the last and only word. It's up to the reader to judge for himself what he does and does not like, but it is also good to get another reader's opinion to compare and contrast.

This is the second time I've reviewed one of Land's books and I look forward to reading and reviewing more of his work. I enjoy the places he takes me with his stories and getting to know those people Land chronicles so convincingly. Best of all, is knowing that Jon Land is one author who takes the time to thank me for my critique of his books -- even when I find something negative. That is the mark of a true professional with class and style.

Thank you, Jon Land.

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