Believe No One is a crime thriller featuring British forensic scientist, Professor Nick Fennimore and Detective Chief Inspector, Kate Simms. In this outing, they are based in the United States. The novel has just been shortlisted for The Crime Warp New Years Honours for UK Crime Novel 2014 – and there’s a chance to win prizes!
So, what does an award nominee have that others don’t? I thought there might be a clue in a round-up of the critiques and reviews the novel has had online, so here are a few:
While one reviewer felt there were, “Too many characters”, another wrote, “The author never skimps on characters.”
The novel was described enthusiastically by a blogger as “A true tour de force”, but an Amazon reviewer found it merely, “Not bad.”
Hm… this wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d thought. I looked for more comparisons. How about:
“Tightly written, utterly compelling”? Lovely – very gratifying. Ah… but another emphatic review marked the the novel down for its “Slow start”.
Is it “Harrowing and graphic”, or “frighteningly realistic”? – It depends on which reviews you read.
And what about that notoriously difficult trick, a Brit trying to get the US cadence right? Well, it was encouraging that one reviewer said, “The American cadence is totally authentic,” but before I could get all puffed up and proud, another regretted that “they lacked a real sense of ‘being American’.”
So, while we nominees might secretly hope that we’re singled out for the aching beauty and dazzling genius of our prose, it’s more likely that there’s a strange alchemy in the selection of award shortlists. All a writer can do is write the best they know how, and hope for a large pinch of good luck.
Voting Closed at Midnight on 25th December.