If you’re anything like me, you probably have a couple dozen books on your e-reader that are on your to-read list, perhaps a few prints books as well. One of the big downfalls of the digital age, for me anyway, is it indulges my weakness for impulse purchases. The problem dates back to when I predominantly shopped at brick and mortar stores and it’s only gotten worse since I’ve gotten a Kindle.
Lately, I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful about my book purchases. Between work, writing, and trying to squeeze out a little quality time with my wife and my little dog, I only have so much time to read for enjoyment. So now, I generally try and consult one of several review sites before I add to my library.
The obvious starting point for anything having to do with book reviews is Goodreads, but there are also a number of blogs I turn to when I have a little downtime and I want to find a new book or just see what other authors are working on. As a crime fiction writer, I tend to gravitate to sites specializing in mysteries and thrillers.
Below are six of the better blogs for crime fiction reviews:
Crime Fiction Lover
Crime Fiction Lover bills itself as “The site for die hard crime & thriller fans” and you can make a good case for them living up to that billing. The site boasts a sizeable team of reviewers from all over the world with diverse tastes in crime fiction. They tend to feature writers from the more traditional publishing houses, so it’s not the best place to unearth a new indie writer. That said, it’s a great place to search for a new read. The site is updated frequently and features news and interviews in addition to reviews.
CrimePieces is the blog of crime fiction writer Sarah Ward. She’s an experienced and prolific reviewer. Her credits include articles for the Los Angeles Review of Books, crimesquad.com and Eurocrime. She has eclectic tastes but professes love for translated crime fiction. Her site is a good place to visit if you’re in the mood for Scandinavian crime fiction. Sarah was one of the judges for The Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel.
Crime Thriller Girl
Another good read is Crime Thriller Girl, the blog from British writer Steph Broadribb. Steph strikes me as a kind, positive type. She generally won’t review books that she doesn’t enjoy, so if it’s featured on her site, you can expect it to receive at least a somewhat favorable write up.
Vigilant Reader Book Reviews
Vigilant Reader is one of the few sites I’ve come across that makes a concerted effort to review indies. In fact, they prefer to review books with less than 10 reviews posted. I’m unclear on whether this means reviews from blogs and publications or just reviews in general. In any case, this is a great service to both indie writers who can always use the exposure and to readers considering the wide range of quality in the indie market.
Shotgun Logic is a cool looking site run by a reviewer named Shane D. Keene. His site tends to highlight horror, dark crime fiction and neo-noir as well as some poetry. He will feature indies and the site includes an Author Spotlight section where he’ll do more of a deep dive into a particular writer’s bibliography. Also of interest is an entire section dedicated to women horror writers.
Col’s Criminal Library
Last but far from least is Col’s Criminal Library. The site is run by Colman Keene, a crime fiction aficionado whose site has turned me on to some great reads. To say Colman is an avid reader would be an understatement. He consumes books like I consume beer. (And I drink a lot of beer.) One of the more interesting features on his site are a number of geographically based reading lists. The site is worth a visit for his list of crime novels by US state alone.
Col’s site is also near and dear to my heart as he was one of the earliest supporters of my writing and I can think of at least a couple occasions where his site has brightened my day. So thanks Colman.
These are my go-to sites for crime fiction reviews. Any I missed? I’d love to hear about any blogs you read on a regular basis and what you like about them. Feel free to comment here or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with any recommendations.