Dec. 6, 2011

Up the Amazon

So many exciting things are happening behind the scenes with Defending Jacob, but most of the news is still top secret. My editor has regularly sworn me to silence, and because it is too late for me to get a real job, I will do as I’m told and keep my mouth shut. But here is some news I can share.

One nice feature of Amazon’s book pages is the occasional “guest review” by an author. For Defending Jacob, two star suspense writers have chimed in with very generous reviews. Philip Margolin, who has yet to write a novel that does not make the Times bestseller list, wrote:

The books I blurb range from fun reads to very good reads. Then there is the rare book that knocks my socks off. William Landay’s Defending Jacob is one of these gems. It is a legal thriller, but so are To Kill a Mockingbird, Snow Falling on Cedars and Anatomy of a Murder. Defending Jacob, like these classics, separates itself from the pack because it is also a searing work of literary fiction.

Joseph Finder, whose espionage and suspense novels also sell in outlandish numbers, might actually be more enthusiastic.

Scott Turow invented the modern legal thriller, I’d argue, with his astonishing 1987 novel Presumed Innocent. … Turow’s had many imitators since then, but nothing has come close to the power, the narrative skill and the legal cleverness of Presumed Innocent.

Until now.

It is a little surreal to read such extravagant praise for my own book, especially praise from fellow writers, which carries more weight. And of course I am thrilled that Defending Jacob will have such a kick-ass Amazon page. But what impresses me most about the whole thing is how incredibly gracious these two authors have been.

Mind you, this is not logrolling. I am in no position to repay the favor, since a blurb from a no-name like me is of zero value. Nor do I have a relationship with either writer. I have never met Margolin, and Finder I’ve met only a handful of times, very briefly. None of us share a common publisher, editor, agent, dentist, car mechanic, or anything else. So neither of these guys has anything to gain. Apparently they are endorsing the book for no other reason than that they believe in it and want to help an obscure mid-list author find a wider audience. It’s so generous, so — there’s no other word for it — nice … well, I can hardly begin to explain it.

So I will just say “thank you” to both, publicly. And if you find yourself in a bookstore with a novel by Finder or Margolin in front of you, remember that these are two of the good guys.

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