These days everyone seems to be online and everyone has an opinion. I think the fact that there are so many opinions to choose from is pretty cool, but just having them on the web doesn;t give them legitimacy, mine included.
And in print there are a lot of opinions that are also just as questionable. Reviews are just opinions, some more informed than others. I have never read a lot of reviews simply because I prefer to form my own opinion while reading.
I think that a review should help people decide if they want to read a book, it should not give things away, and it shouldn't make personal attacks on the author. At Crimespree we do our best to be fair and generally avoid negative reviews because we'd rather not devote any space to a book we don't like.
I don't expect people to read a review I write and let that be the only deciding factor in buying a book. What I hope to do is point people to books I enjoyed and hope that they look into the books further.
With more and more newspapers closing down, or at least getting rid of book reviewers reviews are harder to find. Thus the internet is a place people turn to. I think that the best way to approach looking for reviews is to find a person who shares your taste, see what books they 've reviewed positively that you enjoy also. And as with any opinion, take every thing you read with a grain of salt and an open mind.
There are a lot of great reviewers out there, so find a few youreally agree with and try not to get overwhelmed by the volume of reviews.
On that note, the new Brian Wiprud book, FEELERS is really fun, the new Barry Eisler is great, Laura Lippman has another winner with her latest.
And if you haven't read Dave White yet, pick up one of his books. And JT Ellison has a number of great books out.
And don't forget, if you are near Minneapolis this Saturday head over to Once Upon A Crime for Write of Spring, a boatload of authors will be there,and so will we!