The latest true crime author to be unnecessarily excoriated in the pages of the New York Times in a grandiloquent review is Dave Cullen. He can take comfort in the fact that he joins an exclusive club: Ann Rule, Vincent Bugliosi, and many other authors in our favorite genre have been derided in its pages.
It appears that book critic Janet Maslin read both new Columbine books, as she mentions the second book out now by Jeff Kass. It's hard to tell how the two books compare, so the review offers zero guidance to those who want to choose between them. The Associated Press reviewer did a better job in that regard. I am left to wonder if the Times reviewer read both books and decided to write about the one she liked the least. Maybe it's more fun to write nasty reviews?
I am hard-pressed to find a positive review of a true crime book in the New York Times archives -- at least in the last decade. The exception to the rule: Harold Schechter managed to garner three praise-filled reviews in the Times for The Devil's Gentleman. They were well earned reviews, to be sure (I loved the book), though none were penned by Ms. Maslin, who has repeatedly stated that she sees no value in true crime subjects -- and mystifies me by reading and reviewing a "tabloid" genre she obviously loves to hate.
If you've seen any other favorable reviews of a true crime book in the Times since 2000, I'd love to read them. And I keep browsing the paper often, hoping a flattering review of a true crime title might one day again appear there. Will Ms. Maslin ever read a true crime book and like it? I don't think it's a realistic expectation. If Rush Limbaugh joined the Peace Corps, I'd be less surprised.
With my own first book coming out in a month, I hope my publisher will not send a copy to the Times and have asked it not to do so. I have no reason to think the Times would pluck my tome from the heaping pile of submissions but dread the thought that it might not skip a chance to unfavorably compare an umpteenth author to Truman Capote.