Tag: reviews

Make Them Sorry, by Sam HawkenOccasionally someone will send me a review from a critic who really gets it, who understands Camaro Espinoza (link), and grasps exactly what this series is and what it’s about.  Camaro is, admittedly, a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but that’s kind of the point, and if I can get past the expectations of readers who want female characters to be either bright and sunny and cheerful all day, or broken-down addicts who can’t convince anyone they witnessed a crime, then I feel like I’ve succeeded.  Camaro is a challenge to women’s roles in action thrillers, not a capitulation.

Kristin Centorcelli at Criminal Element (link) has read all the Camaro books, it seems, and is absolutely on board with our heroine.  While I’m not much for reviews in general, I do enjoy reading one which so perfectly nails what I’m getting at.  It’s the sort of review that gives you hope for reviewers again.

I invite you to read the entire thing (link), but here are a couple of highlights.

If you like a heroine who can more than take care of herself (and just about everyone else) and literally takes no crap from anyone, then this is the book (and series) for you. The action is nonstop—this book virtually crackles with energy—and the body count is considerable, but it’s Camaro’s existential need to protect those who cannot protect themselves that is the real driving force. And she really is a force for good, even if she has to go to some dark places to achieve justice.


Camaro is a lean, mean, fighting machine and a woman of very few words. But that’s ok because she says plenty with her fists. It helps to have read the first two novels in this series, if only to get a better handle on what drives Camaro, but new readers shouldn’t be afraid to jump in here if they want.

Kristin absolutely made my day with this review, and thank you to the reader who sent it along.

Get your copy of Make Them Sorry, the latest Camaro Espinoza thriller, from your favorite bookseller. (link)



Make Them Sorry (UK)Over the years, The Sunday Times has been good to my books, and while some other papers don’t find Camaro Espinoza (link) highbrow enough to earn their praise, I’m glad to say over at the Times, they get it.  Sometimes books are good when they’re grim and unrelenting.  Sometimes books are good when they’re action-packed and full of twists.  Books don’t have to be one or the other.

With that in mind, it was nice to see Crime Club at the Sunday Times say complimentary things about Make Them Sorry (link):

She can take anyone on for a shots-drinking contest, a bout of cage-fighting or anything else that demands strength, courage and a touch of crazy. Camaro is the kind of gal that trouble seems to find, but she’ll hang on and not let go if it looks like the bad guys are going to get away with it. Fast, furious, funny.

Readers in the UK were the first to warm to my writing, and I will forever be grateful to them for making me so much one of their own that I was repeatedly nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Daggers.  While the nominations are international, membership in the CWA is for the UK only.  I’m thankful for the recognition, even if I am a filthy Yank.

If you’re still on the fence about Make Them Sorry, maybe the Crime Club has given you the nudge you need?

Be sure to get your copy of Make Them Sorry, the latest Camaro Espinoza thriller, available right now from your favorite bookseller. (link)


Postive and negative ratingsThis could be the shortest post ever, because my point is perfectly encapsulated in the title of the entry.  I do not read Amazon reviews.  I used to, but I stopped years ago.  Similarly, I stopped reading reviews on Goodreads and so forth.  The only time I ever see them is when my publisher or readers send them to me directly.  I post them here, and move on.

Criticism is a real thing and can be incredibly useful.  By and large, however, what one finds on sites like Amazon isn’t criticism, but complaining.  Why isn’t the book like this other book?  Why did so-and-so have to die?  Why so many F-words?  Why is this so long?  Why is this so short?  The packaging on my shipment was lousy and my book got damaged!  And yes, you can find stuff like that last all over Amazon, because people apparently don’t know there’s a way to contact Amazon customer service about damaged or lost orders, and the author has nothing to do with that process.

I love hearing from readers, and have provided a way for them to get in touch with me via this site, but I won’t read what they have to say on Amazon, or anywhere like Amazon.  Because there’s a converse element to this which can’t be ignored: if one considers compliments valid, one has to consider complaints valid.  And, as I said, complaints are useless.  A well-reasoned critique is invaluable.  Grousing is not.

By all means, if you feel strongly about my books one way or another, post those thoughts wherever you like.  At the same time, don’t expect me to see them.  It’s not that I don’t care about getting better as an author, or continuing to do whatever it is I do well, but public reviews are more harmful than helpful.  And this goes for both writers and readers alike.  Everyone has an opinion, after all.  And what do we know about those?