April 11, 2017, 8:08 am
Robby the R-Word will be out in about a month. Publisher's Weekly, a trade magazine that booksellers read when deciding whether to stock certain books, did a review of Robby this week, and I'm pretty happy about it. Here it is:
Wright’s (Minister of Justice) police procedural has a lot going for it: a complicated plot featuring a string of strangely related attacks; Robby Turner, a brilliant man who has been completely paralyzed for decades; a captivating, if scatological, beginning; and Detective Bain, who has enough politics to deal with and sufficient amounts of the underdog about her to put the reader in her corner. More importantly, the plot has enough twists, turns, and unearthing of unexpected connections between the characters to keep readers guessing who’s responsible for beating Robby’s father and other similar attacks. Unfortunately, the author has marred what is otherwise a really fine story by dropping in a graphic sex scene between Bain and Jessica Vann, a woman whom she meets in the course of the investigation. Jessica only briefly reappears in the novel to be ogled by Bain’s male partner Officer Russell, which makes the whole affair seem like a gratuitous performance piece written as a male fantasy. The book could otherwise be a satisfying read for a wider audience, albeit one that is prepared for coarse language and graphic violence throughout. (May)
I know what you might be thinking: Hey, that middle part there isn't so good. But I don't agree with the you I've made up in my head to say that. Here's why, and I'll take it bit by bit:
Unfortunately, the author has marred what is otherwise a really fine story by dropping in a graphic sex scene between Bain and Jessica Vann
So reviewers almost always have to find something to pick at. This would be that. Because the sex scene, while there, is not at all graphic. In fact, if you've read my other novels, this may be the least graphic sex scene I've ever written. The publisher said when the editor, Amy, pitched this book to him, she told all the book's plot points and twists, and then, as a parting shot, said "oh, and a splash of girl-on-girl sex," which apparently became a catch-phrase at their office. And it really is a splash, not anything more than that.
Jessica only briefly reappears in the novel to be ogled by Bain’s male partner Officer Russell, which makes the whole affair seem like a gratuitous performance piece written as a male fantasy.
This part is actually actively untrue. The character they're talking about, Jessica Vann, is actually an important witness in the case and appears in multiple chapters. True, Russell ogles her in a later chapter (when he first meets her), but that's also very brief, and if it's a "male fantasy," then male fantasies must include being brutally shot down. But again, as I said above, they have to say something negative.
The ultimate truth is, I don't think those lines are negative, because who doesn't like a good sex scene? What reader is going to see that review and go, "Well, I was going to buy the book, but if it has a graphic girl-on-girl sex scene, forget it!" The publisher, who said it was a "four star" review, believes that part of the review may actually expand the audience for this book.
Either way, most Publisher's Weekly reviews I've seen are mostly negative, so with this one being positive, it stands out, and it makes me happy.
So go buy the book already! If you do it before May 23, you get entered into a drawing to win a free, signed copy of one of my other books!