Reed Farrel Coleman's follow up to The James Deans is out this month. One of the most striking things about the new novel, Soul Patch, is the way Coleman evokes a sense of place, and the latest issue of The Big Thrill Webzine, has an article from Coleman on Coney Island.
This article is a prime example of why I usually publish my reviews early. I finished my review of Soul Patch a couple of weeks ago, but I've been sitting on it, planning to release it when the book came out. This morning I boot up the computer and read this article, where, among other things, Coleman talks about how he wanted to make Coney Island more of a character in the book than just a setting. Well, this is a point I made in the review. Now, this means that Coleman was entirely successful, because I got it. I still cringe, however, because I hate the thought of anyone thinking that I take points for my reviews from anyone else-especially an author. I make it a point not to read anything about a book I plan to review until my review is done. A reviewer has a responsibility to give their impressions about the book, and only the book.
I was planning to start April off with my review of Hard Man, but I published that review early, because I knew I would break down and listen to Guthrie's interview at Behind the Black Mask. I really wrestled with what to write about Hard Man, and I knew that listening to the author talk about it would likely change my impressions of the book, and, in fact, my impressions of the book have changed a little. After I published the review, the author contacted me (to thank me, not to complain), and we ended up discussing the book. That discussion has changed my perspective somewhat, but I still stand by my review, and the criticisms I leveled, because those were my initial, honest impressions, and that is what a book review should be.
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