Thursday, October 26, 2023

Readers of the Lost ARCs

 I routinely post quarterly lists of my “favorite” reads of the season that just ended. I am careful not to say these are the “best” books I read, as I’m not into passing that kind of judgment. I use “favorite” as shorthand for “books I enjoyed the most.” While not an endorsement of what’s good and what isn’t, my hope is to make those who share my tastes aware of books they might otherwise miss. Responses to these posts are routinely encouraging and I’m happy to mention books some might not be aware of, regardless of topic or age of the book.


I occasionally receive an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of a book when the author is asking for a blurb or an interview. While some of these books would make the favorite reads list, I have typically refrained from writing about them in the quarterly recaps because I always post links to a book’s purchase page so anyone with an impulse can grab a copy. ARCs are, by definition, not available yet, and I know a lot of people don’t like to be teased with things that are out of reach, so I have always left such books out of the quarterly recap.


Talking to a friend about this the other day got me to thinking this is a misguided policy. Pre-orders have become so important to making a book’s success that I am doing the author a disservice if the book deserves mention and I fail to do so. My reasoning before was that there was no link to give potential readers, but pre-order links are now available weeks, sometimes months, in advance. It’s time I got with the program.


In my defense, I never heard of pre-orders when I started the blog, so they were never a concern. Times changed and I have been slow to adapt. That said, future “Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter’s Favorite Reads” posts will include any ARCs that caught my eye. I will note that they are available for pre-order so that no one gets disappointed if they try to buy one.


That’s the future. Let’s take the remainder of this post to catch up on ARCs from earlier this year that escaped notice due to my misguided policies, with apologies to the authors for my delay.


Double Exposure, Colin Campbell. Grant and McNulty are back, fighting a drug cartel that has a grudge against each of them. You already know I liked this one, as I blurbed it: “Double Exposure shows Grant and McNulty in peak form. No one writes better action sequences than Campbell.” I stand by that.


Sleepless City, Reed Farrel Coleman. Renowned private eye writer Coleman (Moe Prager, Gus Murphy) moves into the realm of more high-octane action thrillers with this, the first in what promises to be a new series. While the type of story told is different, Coleman’s artful writing and careful plotting remain solid. A lot of writers try to shift gears like this. Few do it as well.


The Get, Dietrich Kalteis. This is a typical Dietrich Kalteis book, which is to say outstanding. If you’re already a fan, get this bad boy. If you’re not a fan but like the Elmore Leonard school of writing, there is no better practitioner than Kalteis, who is able to capture the aura of Dutch’s work without sounding like a copy.






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