Thursday, October 26, 2006

A new kind of protagonist and a familiar kind of blurb

I posted a while back about amateur sleuths in unusual professions. I have just started Shane Maloney's The Big Ask; Maloney's Murray Whelan is the first political-operative crime-fiction protagonist I know of -- and he has a sense of humor.

Here's a detail I forgot to mention earlier. Stop me if you've heard this before, but a cover blurb compares Maloney's protagonist to Ian Rankin's:

"Whelan is like an Aussie Rebus."
Sunday Herald

© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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Anonymous Carl said...

There's a reviewer who's never read Rankin. Probably didn't read Maloney either. Murray Whelan is as far from Rebus as Chevy Chase is from Laurence Olivier.

November 03, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

Carl, I wish I could reach out and shake your hand. The lengths to which publishers and reviewers strain to compare this author or that protagonist to Rankin or Rebus has been a source of amusement to me since I started this blog. The complete blurb is as follows: "Whelan is like an Aussie Rebus. He is cynical but smart, punch-drunk but dogged."

Leave aside the writer's misunderstanding of the term punch-drunk, I'd like to ask him or her to name a crime-fiction protagonist who isn't smart, cynical and dogged. This sort of nonsense is a great tribute to Rankin, really.

November 03, 2006  
Anonymous Karen said...

Agree with both of you - daft comparison which sounds almost like a comparison for comparisons sake.

If you do happen to get very fortunate a couple of Shane Maloney's Whelan series were made into Telemovies - very successfully in terms of true to the books, but I suspect, alas, less successfully ratings wise here.

November 06, 2006  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the note, Karen. Such comparisons are comparisons for marketing's sake. It's like those movies that get advertised as "In the tradition of ... "

Here's what makes me wonder, though. The reviews are written (one hopes) by people who know something about what they are writing about. Why would someone who knows crime fiction make such far-fetched comparisons? Are such reviewers willing to write anything, no matter how wild, in the hope of seeing their name on a cover blurb? Do they feel some misguided responsibility to be complicit in the marketing of a book?

November 06, 2006  

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