Monday, August 13, 2012

Sampling some Samples

One of the things that I absolutely love about the Kindle is being able to read a sample.  I hear about a book or an author, I grab my Kindle, I download a sample, then the strength (or not) of the work will push me to the next stage (adding it to my wishlist) or the ultimate goal of buying it.  Or not. 

Many years ago there used to be a blog that reviewed self published books (you know, back when that was like a bad thing yo). Sandra also used to write a column that took a look at the first 39 pages of a novel that came across our desk and she would review that section and recommend whether it was worth your time and money based on that sample. I toyed with the idea of something called Sample Saturday where I would review samples of books.  Time being what it is I never got that idea off the ground. 

For today's DSD post I'm going to briefly take a look at some samples that have made my acquaintance recently. I can't sit here and tell you that I'll do this regularly but maybe every once in awhile. It's up to you guys.

Blood Red Turns Dollar Green by Paul O'Brien

Found this mentioned recently on Facebook when the author was talking about getting a blurb from Mick Foley.  I don't usually put a ot of stock in celebrity blurbs but it's Cactus Jack so...

This looks like an interesting crime novel set in or around the wrestling world.  Between this, Zombie Bake Off, and Death Match we are seeing a number of novels released that involve wrestlers or the wrestling world. Is this the start of something?
The sample for Blood Red Turns Dollar Green starts off in medias res and pulls the reader in right away.  The perspectives shift between a couple of protags in a couple of locations so it should be interesting to see how they all link up.  I think I'm going to buy this one.
Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth

I've read Unsworth's before so my reason for wanting to look at a sample for her new one is due to the price.  $13.89 for the ebook.  I think it is probably a UK only release so there aren't a lot of options for getting a copy of it.  I read the sample and it seems like a straight forward mystery novel. But because this is an Unsworth novel, and she is very willing to go full dark, I can only say that it is an impression.  My guess is that the protag will find a darkness inside of him while investigating the case.  I haven't bought a copy but probably will because I'm a fan. 

The Cipher by Kathe Koja
I've read Koja's wok before but never read her debut novel.  Seeing it out as a reasonably priced ebook put it back on my radar screen.  I read the sample and I didn't feel any strong pull in one direction or another.  I didn't dislike what I read and I also didn't feel like I had to keep reading.  I'll probably pick up a copy at some point but I'm not feeling a rush to read it.
Sleepwalking: Crime Stories by Ray Nayler

Anthony Neil Smith put this collection on my radar screen when he mentioned it on Facebook.  I read the sample and was impressed with what I read.  The only thing that prevented me from buying it was my really huge TBR and that I'm not reading a lot of collections right this moment. But I'm keeping it on my wish list.

The Devil's Road to Kathmandu by Tom Vater

I saw a guest post that was written by Vater over at Patti's blog and it intrigued me enough to go and download the sample.  Plus I really liked that funky cover.  I read the sample and I liked the atmosphere, the tension, the setting and the characters. The writing was tight and there were memorable lines and some nice turns of phrases.  Nothing distracted me from the completion of the sample and I actually went ahead and bought it.

Correction Line by Craig Terlson

I can't really remember where I heard about this book but I did somewhere in my travels over the last couple of days.  I've only started reading the sample and this is my main impression.  I was under the impression that this was noir-y title and it starts with what feels like more of a supernatural unease vibe.  With that said there is a lot of tension in the first chapter that leaves the reader wanting to know more.  The second chapter has different characters so there is an obvious tonal switch. The jury's out. If it can get back the interesting weirdness of chapter one then I'm in.

Unaccustomed Mercy by DB Cox

I heard about this title when Richard Thomas mentioned it on Facebook.  I was really impress with the sample that I read and the opening story.  One of the things holding me back for now from downloading it is the price.  $5 for a story collection is something I'm grappling with right now.

Do any of these samples sound good to you?  Read any of them? What makes a good sample?


EA said...

I'm with you, Brian, samples are the best thing to ever. I think you should assign that Sample Saturday idea, it's a good one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Kathe Koja is such an original. I would be tempted by her,

Craig said...

Thanks for reading the sample.
And yeah, it does get back to the supernatural unease vibe.
I like that description - fits well.

C. Terlson