Tag Archives: reviews

Review: The Killing Code

Recap: When a scientist commits suicide, Detective Alan Beach isn’t completely surprised to be called in to investigate. He knows there must be something more to this than just your typical suicide. Soon after, a U.S. Congressman is killed, as well as two other men in the crossfire. But when Detective Beach realizes surveillance video from both shootings reveals the same, small man in the background, it becomes clear that the shootings are inexplicably linked.

So begins Detective Beach’s investigation into the “Killing Code,” and he’s on his own. He has no partner and little help thanks to a dark past that has many of his coworkers more inclined to tease him than befriend him. Beach single-handedly discovers that a group of scientists is concocting a drug that assassins are using to kill. But who’s behind it all? And who can he trust? As more and more characters are revealed throughout the investigation and more lives lost, Beach knows he’s onto something, but what? And will he be the next victim?

Analysis: Like many crime/thriller novels of this kind, The Killing Code is a fast-paced story about an intricate murder case. And like many crime/thriller novels, the main character, Detective Beach, winds up being the one with the biggest target on his back by the end. But it’s Beach’s backstory that sets this story apart from the other novels of its kind (think Dan Brown books). His story is  not revealed until later in the story, but we know it’s complicated because of the way author Craig Hurren describes his sudden move from the Boston Police Department to the Columbus Police Department and his relationship with the other detectives on his force. Not to mention, the story behind his late wife. All of this helps the reader sympathize with Beach. It makes the reader root for Beach to solve the crime even more.

One problem here, however, is there didn’t seem to be a major twist in the plot. Beach steadily peels back layer after layer of the case and keeps on track throughout. I had my suspicions when his love interest, Holly, and friend and agent Jake Riley entered the story. I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I could trust either character. They seemed like the perfectly positioned characters to trick Beach or backstab him. I kept waiting and waiting for something shocking to happen; for one of or both of them to reveal some ulterior identity or motive. But it never happened.

That’s not to say that the book wasn’t fun and didn’t have exciting twists and turns, but I can’t think of any one mind blowing moment, and in a novel like this, that was a bit of a letdown.

MVP: Jake Riley. He’s a skilled man, who helps Detective Beach for all the right reasons. It becomes clear in the end that Beach wouldn’t have been able to solve the case if it weren’t for Jake.

Get The Killing Code in paperback for $10.79.

Or get it on your Kindle for $4.99.

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Amazon Buys Social Media Book Site Goodreads

If people read books and then post reviews online — and don’t have their own blog, like this one! — there’s generally two places they’ll post them: Amazon and Goodreads. But now, the two are becoming one.

According to Salon, Amazon has bought the social media book site Goodreads. For more than a year, the site has used Amazon Product Advertising API for book data. Ever since then, Amazon has had somewhat of a grip on Goodreads, forbidding Goodreads to use that data in its mobile app. But now Amazon has tightened the reigns.

The terms of the deal were not made public. But people in the book industry are comparing this to Hitler and the Nazi invasion of Poland, which doesn’t bode well for Goodreads, authors, or its users.


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Amazon Deleting Book Reviews from Other Authors

Just a few months ago, I told you about an author who was caught writing fake reviews on Amazon. His posts were taken down after it turned out that his reviews of other authors’ books were negative, while reviews of his own books were positive. As it turns out, he’s not the only one whose posts are being removed from Amazon.

According to L.A. Times, Amazon is now taking down any reviews writers post for other authors’ books. This was the explanation from Amazon sent to one writer via email:

We have removed your review from Karma Backlash. We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product. As a result, we’ve removed your reviews for this title.

While some believe that removing the posts won’t harm the authors — after all, there are plenty of other people who continue to post reviews — many authors believe it’s unfair. After all, many of them don’t gain any kind of financial benefit to posting reviews for their friends or colleagues. Not to mention, many of these authors receive advance copies of their colleagues’ books to review. Since their reviews are posted before a book is even released to the public, their reviews can be particularly helpful to the average reader.

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that authors wouldn’t be allowed to post reviews of other authors’ books. I understand that giving others public acknowledgment and publicity could lead to more success for them, but it still doesn’t seem fair not to be able to share an opinion, whether you write for a living or not.

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Author Caught Writing Fake Amazon Reviews

The only thing better than a great writer is one who’s also humble. Crime writer RJ Ellory, apparently, does not fall into this category.

According to ABCNews.com, the author was caught writing positive Amazon reviews for his book and negative reviews for his competition’s books under a pseudonym. It was another writer, Jeremy Duns, who discovered the fake reviews, when he realized both “Jelly Bean” and “Nicodemus Jones” repeatedly wrote 5-star reviews for Ellory’s work, while trash-talking novels written by others.

Ellory also slipped up a few times, forgetting which account he was using and signing the reviews “Roger.”

The reviews were taken down after Ellory was caught, but not before other authors, like Duns, snapped screen grabs of the reviews and posted them to Twitter.

Ellory issues an apology statement to The Daily Telegraph, writing:

“The recent reviews – both positive and negative – that have been posted on my Amazon accounts are my responsibility and my responsibility alone.

“I wholeheartedly regret the lapse of judgment that allowed personal opinions to be disseminated in this way and I would like to apologise to my readers and the writing community.”

A spokesperson from the Crime Writers Association said this is happening more frequently — authors tooting their own horns, so to speak, on sites like Amazon and Twitter.

It’s times like this I miss the days without social media.


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