Pull Quote Nonsense #1

I have just plucked Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater from my TBR shelves. Among the nonsense peppering the cover of this book are these six words which are ascribed to the US magazine Entertainment Weekly

Striking…Graham Greene meets Dean Koontz.”

I’m struggling to imagine an audience segment that would be drawn in by that particular combination of authors. So am I allowed to assume that the original statement was meant to be quirky and clever and no one actually cared that it is completely meaningless? I mean if I said that a book was a cross between banana cream pie and tennis shoes it would make as much sense.

I have been known to rant for hours about the increasing absurdity of book blurbs and pull quotes so count yourselves lucky I’m not in major rant mode this lazy Easter Sunday afternoon 🙂

Do you have a least favourite book blurb or pull quote? Or do you sensibly ignore them all?

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10 Responses to Pull Quote Nonsense #1

  1. Bernadette – Thank you for mentioning this kind of thing. It’s ridiculous! I never both with those things, to be honest. Instead, I rely on my favorite reviewers, like you, to tell me what’s between the covers of books I’m considering reading.

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  2. Maxine says:

    That particular quote is completely inappropriate for this book! I have read it and found it quite hard going, actually, and did not review it. I admired it but found it quite complex and did not fully understand it. I was told some time later (annoyingly I can’t remember who but it was someone who is a Swedish expert) that the author had written a literary set of novels (3?) about this place, and then had written Blackwater which featured some of the same characters. Hence if you didn’t know their back story (eg the main investigator) then it was a tougher task to follow this one. I did like Blackwater but felt a bit intimidated by it, and the murder was a very sad one. Dean Koontz definitely not, nowhere near. Graham Greene – again, I don’t see the similarity. Yes, they both wrote/write well-written books in which unnatural deaths occur….hmmmm…I would say Ekman is firmly in the A Larsson/Theorin/Alvtegen/Friminsson tradition of Swedish crime fiction, but denser and more detailed (and maybe a bit more literary).

    Yes, cover lines drive me mad. Not as mad as the blurbs themselves, which often ruin any “joy of discovery” in the novel. One recent really bad one was Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly, which quite blatantly tells the main plot twist half way through the book. Another is the latest Donna Leon, which gives away the victim of the murder which you don’t know until some way into the book. And so on and so forth. Someone should write a crime novel in which the blurb writer is the victim of a vengeful author for reducing his/her sales!

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  3. Dorte H says:

    Ehm, I may not be much of a Swedish expert, but I told Maxine about Ekman´s fine trilogy which takes place in the same area as Blackwater and shares some characters. The first volume, God´s Mercy, was published in English in 2009. It is not crime, just wonderful literature about a number of remarkable women.

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  4. barbara says:

    I recently read Meg Gardiner’s The Liar’s Lullaby for review and was struck by a quote from Stephen King on the back: “as good as Michael Connelly and far better than Janet Evanovich.” What on earth does that mean? As good as scrambled eggs, better than a marshmallow. As good as Clash, better than Abba. It’s as if he glanced at the nearest list of best sellers and picked two almost at random, but one had to be a woman. Yet that’s what the publisher led off with.

    Though I suppose if Stephen King had said “full of blriss glibx farkritude” it would have gone on the back of the book. It is Stephen King, after all. Say no more.

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  5. Maxine says:

    Sorry Dorte! I remembered the message but not who said it – my apologies.

    Barbara – I understand your point about Stephen King/Meg Gardiner, but in fact he did read her book(s) – on a plane. His publisher gave him a stack to choose from on a journey to a signing, and he picked out Meg’s. He liked it so much that he wrote a recommendation. It’s what gave her her big breakthrough, she tells the story on her book signings, and it’s a lovely one – one writer helping another that he thinks talented. So though it might be a bit of an OTT quote, I think on this occasion, genuinely meant. (Unlike that great post by Colin Cotterill, in which he revealed that some “blurb writers” just ask the author of the book for a couple of words and then put their name to it!)

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  6. Barbara says:

    I knew he liked her stuff, but I just couldn’t see Connelly and Evanovich in the same sentence. They’re so different.

    It wasn’t a bad book, by the way, and I liked the lead character – I just don’t much care for books in which presidents and terrorists make appearances.

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  7. bernadetteinoz says:

    Maxine I didn’t get very far into the book last night so I don’t know how I feel about it yet – but so far no resemblance to Greene or Koontz (I’ve read several books by both of them so I should be able to pick it).

    And as for the Stephen King thing why not just print in big bold letters “Stephen King likes me” rather than the silly (and snide) references? As you say Barbara surely the point is that it’s Stephen King saying it so why not be a bit more honest?

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  8. Maxine says:

    I agree, Bernadette, but of course the author has zero say in these things – it is the publisher who dreams these up (or makes them up, probably, and then gets the blurbee to endorse it).

    It isn’t just endorsements, though – I have just this morning finished a book which has a blurb note above the author and title, in big letters, “Everything that is possible, happens”.

    BTW, one book about presidents and all that that I did actually enjoy (being mainly with Barbara on this topic) was a Stephen King! The Dead Zone. I also loved The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon but read it such ages ago that I might find it a bit creaky now, it has been so many times imitated. Janet Evanovich again started out fresh and original but I long ago found the formula had got tired and jaded.

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  9. bernadetteinoz says:

    We definitely share reading DNA Maxine as The Dead Zone is one of my ‘keeper’ books – I read all of King’s for many years but have gotten rid of them all except this one (and the full length version of The Stand but that’s mainly because it’s too damned heavy to move as I bought it in hardback).

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  10. Maxine says:

    Those are my two favourite Kings, along with Salem’s Lot. I read them compulsivey in my late teens but don’t bother any more, have not for years. I bought a recent one, Cell, a year ago as I was tickled by the title. It was so awful I can’t begin to describe it. Hurl across room down to charity shop.
    I think we do share reading DNA, Bernadette! This is why I curse you back (as you did me at my blog!) as I keep acquiring books on the basis of your reviews, too!;-)

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