March was busier than usual, yet I managed to read a few books and review Edwin Hill’s first standalone thriller, The Secrets We Share.* You’ll find the review on Kings River Life with a few of my others.
As happened with several other pastimes, I never set out to be a reviewer. Given that it has encouraged me to read more and read things outside my usual vein, it’s good for me. If nothing else, it broadens my perspective and gives me insights into other ways of writing.
I’ve read reviews that revealed everything in the book, leaving the reader no reason to go any further. Worse yet are the reviews that give away the final twist or even the ending. These are done by readers, mind you, who want to share their enjoyment of what they read. What they don’t seem to realize is that they’ve removed the pleasure, nay even the enticement, of the person reading their review to get the book and read it. What a shame.
I don’t retell the author’s whole story. I focus on the broad strokes rather than name all the characters and relationships, twists and turns, and other events. What’s the essence of the story? When you move beyond specific events, what’s underneath it all, holding characters together or driving them apart, bringing things to a climax that hopefully resounds with the reader?
That’s my goal in writing reviews. Unbury and talk about it. Entice the reader to go down that path in the author’s journey. Of course, I hope they get as much enjoyment from it as I did. I just don’t need to take their hand and tell them what they’ll like. They can discover that on their own.
What’s your take on reviews? Let me know in the comments.
*Rather than link to the book itself, which I normally do, I linked to KRL’s review page, as they earn a few cents for every book purchased through their affiliate link. Throughout the pandemic, Kings River Life has maintained programming for readers and authors, even getting podcasts where out-or-work actors read the first chapter of many books. They support the writing community and it would be very good to support them back.