The Indies are Winning

Hello everyone. Today, I have three book reviews for you. Interestingly enough, the famous author–traditionally published–was a huge let-down for me, while the two indie books I’m also reviewing here were fun to read. So, despite oft-repeated negative hype, I have to say, the Indies are winning! In order of lowest to highest ratings, here we go for James Patterson, D L Finn, and Beem Weeks.



Criss Cross by James Patterson

Many thanks to NeGalley and Random House for an ARC of this book.

The terrible formatting on this advanced review copy made reading incredibly difficult. So many paragraphs lacked spaces completely, so that all the words ran into one another for line after line, meaning IfirsthadtodecipherwhatthewordswerebeforeIcould read the actual story. (I’m sure my example shows the point!) Annoying, frustrating, and utterly ridiculous. What’s the point of sending out advanced review copies if the reviewers can’t actually read the book?

Okay, rant over on the lack of formatting. Now onto the book itself …

This being a James Patterson novel, I had high hopes. Those hopes were to be dashed upon the rocks of let-down and boredom. It was an okay read, but not one that gripped me or pulled me in or entertained. The plot was predictable. The characters are card-board cut outs and replicas of one another. I didn’t feel any connection to any of them and, thus, couldn’t care less what happened to them. One of the comments in the ‘praise’ section at the front of the book claims that Mr Patterson is the gold standard by which all others are judged. All I can say is, I hope that bar gets raised again and soon. Otherwise we’re all in trouble.

It gets two stars from me.




Red Eyes in the Darkness by D L Finn


This is a lovely quick read. The story opens in the middle of events after a relative has been killed by the ‘It’ with red eyes. An elderly couple are suspected by the police. We enter this spooky tale with the predator in their house. The narrative moves at a good pace, and I finished this in one sitting. I would have preferred a less passive resolution which involved the couple more, however.
A great book to pick up and entertain you when you don’t have the time to open a full-length novel. It gets a solid 3.5 stars from me, rounded up to four for rating purposes. It was good, and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.












Strange Hwy by Beem Weeks

I read this book in one sitting.
Each and every story hit the mark, and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
The author, Beem Weeks, has a knack of evoking emotions and making you feel for his characters in few words, and his attention to detail is awe inspiring.The stories are varied in the topics they cover and range from death by overdose and the grieving yet relieved mother, child abuse, struggling due to lack of money, guilt at causing a loved one’s death, and on and on.This book of short stories will stay with me for a long time, and it gets a solid five stars from me. I shall be looking out for more great reads from this author.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

12 Comments on “The Indies are Winning

  1. I’ve heard lots of negative things about Patterson in the past few years. Haven’t read any of his stuff recently. That’s terrible about the formatting. I read and enjoyed Red Eyes. I haven’t read Beam’s book, but it sounds interesting. I’ve enjoyed several short story collections of late.

    • There are a few good short collections out, which is great for when you don’t have a lot of time. Thanks, Joan 🙂

  2. Wow. I am honored to be included here on your blog, Harmony. Thank you so much for your kind words for Strange Hwy. You made my day.

    • So glad I made your day, Beem. I LOVED Strange Hwy. One of the best reads I’ve had in a while 🙂

  3. I can’t believe the Patterson book made it to Net Galley with that kind of formatting. I expect far better from an NYT publisher. As for the story, I kind of went sour on Patterson years ago, though I did enjoy a lot of his early stuff.

    Denise’s Red Eyes novella was an entertaining read. I really enjoyed that one. And although I haven’t read Beem’s latest collection, I have read one of his previous collection of shorts. He always delivers!

    • I was shocked too. The Patterson book is one of the worst ARC reads I’ve had. I’ve got another four review commitments via NetGalley and then I think I’m done. It’s just getting too poor to make it worthwhile bothering. Thanks, Mae 🙂

  4. A most interesting post, Harmony. So often, we hold the traditional writers in such high esteem, only to be let down. I LOVE both of the Indie books you reviewed!! Both are amazingly talented authors! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. I agree completely, Harmony, that “Strange Hwy” was a fantastic read. I still have a couple mainstream authors I will still read, but I’m finding more creativity and better writing in some of the indies I’m reading. Thank you for your review on Red Eyes in the Darkness” and including it here.

    • I’ve had so many let-downs now with trad pubs … what’s going on with the world? Like you, I’m coming across some excellent indie writers. I enjoyed Red Eyes. Thanks, as always, for your support, Denise 🙂