Doing Something I Swore I’d Never Do

About the first thing a writer learns, after the tiny amount of money there really can be made by writing, is to never, ever, ever, respond to comments and reviews. The fact is, I simply can’t help but point this one out.

I have edited out the name and the online book store where this appeared, but I do hope that someone who knows this person recognizes the writing style (Idiotic) and has a nice long chat with him and or her.

OK, This is a review on my book Courier, which is a historical thriller about a motorcycle courier in 1972 who finds a secret he shouldn’t have found and people try to kill him. (I am still annoyed that events in MY lifetime are now “historical” but I’m getting used to it.)  It also didn’t touch on the number one criticism of the book, which is the amount of time the protagonist spends on a motorcycle. Do people complain about the amount of time a horse appears in a Western?
Never mind, Press On.
The reviewer did give me a three-star rating, which I appreciate. I’m sorry I can’t reciprocate because apparently the reviewer lives on Mars.
It’s set in a time (1972) which is kind of new but doesn’t reflect the impact of computers or cell phones. Ok, not so bad and I did it with a book of my own. But it’s still a bit awkward.
Well, they didn’t have cell phones in 1972 (the first was tested in 1974) and there were computers–enormous mainframes. Why write a book about 1972 which isn’t about 1972?
One of the villains is this aged woman who has the ability to materialize right behind someone who is standing at high alert with numerous people surrounding him. It’s just not credible, plus, she should have been dealt with properly earlier and wasn’t.
This is actually a reasonable criticism which I can only answer by saying that, being Korean, she was wearing very light embroidered slippers and often showed up right after a shotgun had been fired. I’m still wondering what “dealing with her properly ” would entail. 
But my major issue has to do with the main characters habit of flipping his Zippo lighter down his pants to open it and then up them to spark the wheel and light it. I bet he did that, by description, at least thirty times in the book. As a nonsmoker, I find it unpleasant enough that pretty much everybody smokes in this book, but this stupid “trick” became as unwelcome as a turd in the punch bowl after the third or fourth time and then entered the realm of the hyperannoying.
57e8349ab968c7497a165b8915e665dcOK, first, everyone in 1972 smoked everywhere all the time. I used to put away 3 packs a day of Winston’s on a good day and as many as 7 packs when it was stressful. Please note that I haven’t smoked in 30 years and would not recommend it to young people because quitting is Boring. EVERYONE in Vietnam smoke just as everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan smoked. War is stressful
Second, the Zippo trick, which I used to be pretty good at, is an essential part of the main character’s personality. The fact that the critic finds it “unpleasant” that everyone smoked in 1972 doesn’t  change the reality of 1972. I absolutely loved smoking back then.  However, I’m sure he or she has a clever way to eliminate smoking as well–probably time-travel, which always works so well in a historical novel. 
Just have the guy learn a few more tricks.
OK, I guess he could have meant Rick Putnam, the courier. I originally thought he meant that I should learn new tricks. Old dogs, you know.
For those of you who now want to learn the Zippo trick…

2 responses

  1. Thanks for commenting on my review of your book The Courier. It made the next five minutes of my life more tolerable. I appreciated that distraction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just couldn’t help it. It had me shaking my head and laughing at the same time. Plus, you are correct about Mrs. Jin although I think no one could have heard her after the shotgun at the end. She only came in because my first job in DC was to go and pick up Korean food at the restaurant on F Street. Then she grew.

      Thanks for writing


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