The Best Bad Reviews


Before I review any series, I like to see what other readers are thinking about in relation to the individual books within the series, so I read their reviews. Well not all books within a series are well liked and occasionally I come across some really good negative reviews that I can’t keep from laughing out loud or at least smile about, so I thought I would share a few of them with you too.  As the poet John Lydgate would say, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

Here is a review on Patricia Cornwell’s novel Port Mortuary from ‘Shelly’ found on Amazon.  Seems that she has some problems with Ms. Cornwell’s writing style:

Far from the educating & interesting pages she used to write, Patricia Cornwell seems to actually dislike her readers, so much that she is trying to bore us to death. If you’ve not read her last 2-3 books, here is an example of her writing. “Scarpetta had to choose which socks to wear. She had two colors to choose from, black or white. She likes white, but only with long pants. The black ones look better with shorts. But wait, she’s not wearing shorts. So she really could wear either pair. But which to choose? Black or white? She chose the black socks. And in choosing the black socks, she remembered one time she was wearing black socks. It was long ago and a very important memory that radically changed her life. But she’s never, never in 20-some years EVER thought of it before. It was life-altering, but not important enough for her to ever think of it before. She picks up the left sock and rolls it up in her fingers. She sits on the bed and lifts her right foot. Wait, this sock is for her left foot! She raises her left foot and puts her toes into the sock. She pulls the sock up to her ankle and smooths it out over her foot, then puts her foot back on the floor. She rolls the right sock in her fingers and lifts her right foot up onto her other knee. She puts her toes into the sock and pulls it up over her foot. It goes on twisted. She straightens it out and puts her foot back on the floor.”
And in the case of this book, Cornwell would waste 11 pages describing the weave, age, texture of the sock and contemplating whether the sock actually wants to be worn.

Mike from Goodreads was a bit disappointed in Jeffrey Deaver’s The Stone Monkey:

I thought this said stoned. Now I’m less interested in reading it.

A review of Iris Johansen’s novel Quinn from LB found on Amazon:

She must have had. Somebody else. To have written. This book. Most of the book. Was written with choppy. Short sentences. Like this. Where the heck was. The editor?

A review of Iris Johansen’s novel Countdown from Alicia Keenon “Rabid Reader” on Amazon:

I haven’t read such a bad book in a while. The plot was far fetched, too fragmented, and unlikely. The characters – especially Jane – unsympathetic. The interaction between the characters is psychologically a stretch.

But what really bothered me was the repetitive writing style. “She stiffened”, “he stiffened”, “Trevor stiffened”, “McDuff stiffened”, there was a lot of stiffening going on – in lieu of interesting action, obviously.

Everyone is angry and constantly saying “dammit”. Jane’s gaze flies a lot. Her gaze flies to his face, flies to the action, flies here and there. And she whirls. “She whirled on him” – frequently. McDuff whirled a few times, too.

Between the stiffening, the whirling, the gazes flying and the dammits, the style was insipid to the point of torture. Needless to say, I do not recommend this book.

Iris Johansen seems to bring out the best in people, here is a review from Carla at Goodreads on Taking Eve:

So horrible I couldn’t get past the first 20 pages. We start off with a man going on a road trip with his son’s charred skull (to which he talks), shift to a premonition of something bad looming (i.e., foreshadowing for the oblivious reader) which is then ignored so as not to cut the story off before it begins, lead right into a woman who sees her dead daughter’s ghost, and now we’re ready for the action of the story which is apparently a web of conspiracy and revenge.

Nope… First we have to make a pit stop to visit another woman who can’t bear to lose her dog so she gets the help of a sociopath who has the ability to psychically control the flow of blood in another person’s body, but most importantly, has a private jet and can smuggle her and her dog to a secret island laboratory where they’ve figured out how to make dogs immortal. I’m surprised I managed to keep reading to the part where the psychic dog whisperer informs everyone that the dog told her he’d been injected with a slow acting poison and only has four hours to live unless all of his blood is replaced. I’m gobsmacked I read far enough to discover that the full body transfusion worked.

Here is Nancy’s opinion from Goodreads on Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter’s Final Cut:

If, indeed, this is the end for Dexter, then it seems to me that Jeff Lindsay extended a middle finger to his readers.

This is from Leiah “So, I read this book today… on Amazon about Karin Slaughter’s novel Blindsighted and all I can say is WOW, she must have had a few cups of coffee before she wrote this review.

If you are upset by violence against women, this is definitely a book that will turn your stomach. What happens to the victims in the book is horrific on a terrible scale. However, it is not unrealistic – this stuff happens, but it is very rough having it spelled out so graphically. And Slaughter’s attempt to make the rapes somehow the victims faults because they are drugged up and made to feel like they are ‘enjoying’ being ripped apart by a vicious rapist is sickening.

Sonytoao, in his/her review, really hit on all the points that I had intended to make with my review. I really wish I could scrub out my brain with iodine solution to remove the slimy feeling this book left me with. The “investigation” was a farce. The Southern good-old-boy “blame the n**ger” mentality, the disgusting pushing of the idea that the victims enjoyed their rapes, because the rapist was “making love to them” (never mind lots and lots of blood and tearing and ripping of various body parts). The “cops” were stupid beyond all description.

The main character, a doctor, is cheated on by her spineless whiner of a spouse (a policeman) who explains himself by saying that he didn’t feel like he was ‘needed enough’ by Sara, his wife – so, of course, he pulls another woman into their bed at a time that he knew good and well that she would come home and catch them. Oh, because he “wanted to hurt her.” Because, you know, then she would fight to “get him back” right? Riiight…… she kicks his cheating backside out instead. Then, of course, the whole book we have to listen to her moaning in her head about how she wants him back, and he comes sniffing around her like a junkyard dog trying to get her back. . . and, of course, like an idiot, she does. This is a woman who apparently is an exceptional physician, supposedly intelligent, who can’t see that she is too good for a guy who is so needy and insecure that instead of sitting down and talking about things, he screws around to “hurt her and get her back”? I gotta tell you, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I pulled a muscle. Oh, and the only female officer in the department? I wanted to slap her all through the book. i know, she had a had time of it, no spoiler here, but come on – I don’t know if she was supposed to be a cliche or just an irritant. And to top it off, all the guilt of the killings was laid at our good doctor’s feet, because of something that happened 12 years ago, that was never her fault in the first place. Nice.

Only good thing that came from it is a fairly good view of how easily rapists get off and are set free to go rape other women and destroy their lives. Ah, the good old justice system . . .

Overall, I can’t see where all the good reviews came from, unless they were friends of the author. I had to laugh at one of the reviews that said “There are no cardboard characters or serial killer cliches in this book.” Huh? Did we read the same book? The cheating spouse, the smart but romantically stupid female lead, the grating secondary female lead, the inbred Southern hillbilly police, the totally inept investigations . . . nope. All sounds pretty cardboard cliche to me!

All in all, it’s one of those books I wish I hadn’t of gotten into. Now I have to go wash out my mind with Betadine. The building premise for the serial killer had potential, but overall the whole thing reeked.

Or how about Noelle’s thoughts from Goodreads on Kathy Reich’s Flash and Bones:

It was 1:50 p.m. My sweat-soaked tee was pasted to my back. My hair was yanked into a ratty knot. Sand lined my scalp and undies. Nevertheless, I was humming. Al Yankovic, “White & Nerdy.” What can I say? I’d watched a YouTube video and the tune lodged in my head.


wow, off to a really terrible start, aren’t we, kathy reichs?

conclusion: why do i keep reading these ridiculous, ultra formulaic books

so boring

so bad

If you come across any interesting bad reviews on thrillers let me know and I can add it to the list.  I am making a page and plan on adding as I find more memorable reviews.

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