One of my favorite Amazon customer reviews of BAD DEEDS is by fellow (is that term appropriate for a woman?) author Rose Robbins. On the Amazon product page, it’s the second one down on the left.
What I like so much about it is that Rose (whose own works are listed here) focuses in some detail on the story and the storytelling aspects of the book — not just on the book’s thematic/philosophical/political content. That’s extremely important to me: first, because as a thriller writer my primary job is to tell a rip-roaring suspense tale; but second, because prospective buyers of the book need to know that the novel is, first and foremost, an entertaining thriller, and not didactic propaganda.
In their reviews, some of my friends understandably enjoy and stress the thematic elements of the tale, because my point of view (which many of them share) is rarely expressed in fiction. But for a novelist, a theme is merely the abstract, unifying element of the story; it is not the story itself, nor a substitute for it. Yes, my stories have a point of view; but as a novelist, the point of view is not my primary focus or interest. My main concerns are the plot and the characters: what happens and to whom, not just “why.”
I worked very hard, and for a long time, on the structure of both HUNTER and BAD DEEDS, on their characterizations, dialogue, and the pacing of events and emotions. If I had just wanted to write, respectively, about the criminal justice system or environmentalism, I could have written nonfiction books or essays. (And, in fact, I have.)
That’s why for me, as a fiction writer, the most satisfying compliment I get from readers is: “I just couldn’t put it down!” If readers can easily “put it down,” then I just haven’t done my job as a novelist. My primary professional obligation, then, is to drag you down into my fictional Story Worlds and keep you there, utterly mesmerized. While you’re visiting those worlds, if you happen also to enjoy and agree with my point of view, well, so much the better.
Whatever you like about the books, though, I’m grateful that that you found something to enjoy, and believe that the journeys are worth your time and money. Thanks again for your support.