Well, as the book’s officially been unleashed on an unsuspecting British public for a whole week, the reviews are starting to come in. And not just the ones in the papers, which seem to be pretty good so far:
The Scotsman:“MacBride does a good line in black humour, and has a nose for the macabre. ...a good read - outside of mealtimes. A promising debut, for MacBride and for Aberdeen, Scotland's new city of (fictional) crime.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review):“Relentless rain reflects the tormented mood that permeates MacBride's impressive debut set in Aberdeen, Scotland. ... MacBride allows his characters their humanity, while weaving intriguing subplots in this edge-of-your-seat page-turner.”
And apparently Refresh Magazine and the Sunday Sport have both run good reviews too (not seen them yet). The other side of the coin appears on Amazon, people who have hated the book so much they just had to share their loathing with the world (OK, there’s not exactly been a lot of them, but they’re punching well above their weight).
A reader from Edinburgh, Scotland*:“Derivitive, embarrassing, ludicrous” ... “It is as if MacBride has 'crmmed' by reading all of Ian Rankin's output in one sitting and churned out his version of the crim master." ... “This is an awful, awful book and the comparison to Rankin is a terible insult to an infinitely greater talent”
A reader from United Kingdom:“I can't give a full review of this book because I was unable to get beyond the first 40 pages.”
In the interests of balance, I should point out that there are nicer reviews on Amazon – and thanks to anyone who posted one – but what interests me most about this is the polarity of the responses to the book. Love it or Loathe it. And I have to say that that pleases me. It makes Stuart smile to know that he’s written something that people feel so strongly about, one way or the other. I think it was Joss Whedon (he of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) that said he’d rather produce something that a handful of people loved and other people hated, than something that everyone thought was all right. (OK, I paraphrase, but you get the general drift).
So what about you lot: do you have a position on the whole love V loathe debate when it comes to your work?
*in case you’re wondering, yes: the spelling is all their own