Book Editors Take Bribes…

ADVANCE COPY – NOT FOR PUBLISHING – ROUGH DRAFT

Dictation begins at 0:03:17

Right. I’ve got to write a review for this new book. And it’s got to be a good review, too. What did Lombardo say to me in that letter that came with the copy? I’ve got it somewhere, here… ah, here it is.

“So glowing that it hurts to look at the paper.” Right. Has he even read any of my reviews? I’m known for being scathing, not for making anything seem like it “glows” in my eyes. Gah, my readers are going to see right through this ruse. So much for any claim to my credibility as a book critic.

Still, when the mobster who owns the whole newspaper, along with half the city, sends you his nephew’s book, you find something nice to say, I suppose. He didn’t say that he’d break my legs, not outright, but I’m smart enough to pick up on the subtext of when an editor calls you into his office while holding a baseball bat.

Right, dictaphone is going. Where’s that book? Ah, here. What can I say about this piece of…

“I rarely find myself speechless when reading a novel. As a book critic, I’ve seen prose twisted and shaped into almost every scenario, and I feel sometimes as if I’ve become jaded to the whole concept of writing. I look at new books with an eye for deconstruction, a big game hunter eyeing a newly discovered species with an eye for where to best place a bullet.”

“But when I picked up Leonard’s Song, I found myself, for the first time in quite a long while, speechless. With each page that I read, all thoughts of criticism fled from my mind. I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end – quite the rarity for me, when I have so many books competing for my valuable time.”

There. That’s a decent beginning. Of course, it doesn’t mention that I was speechless with horror, that the thing reads like an abstractionist trainwreck. Uh, let’s keep going.

Leonard’s Song is the first novel by a promising young writer, Ricky Lombardo.”

Promising because his daddy’s got enough dirty money to pay the presses to keep churning out his shit forever. Uh, strike that last sentence.

“Lombardo tells the tale of a young man born on third base in the game of life, possessing wealth, power, and considerable influence. At first glance, his life seems ideal, a hedonistic fantasy played out across these pages.”

Yeah, because the ass just wrote about himself. Ugh, this is absolute drivel.

“But all is not well beneath the surface of our protagonist’s life. All teeters on the edge of falling apart, and we see the classic Oedipal upheaval, as the character’s own ‘tragic flaw’ threatens to bring down all that he’s accomplished.”

If the Oedipal flaw is an inability to think logically and a world-class addiction to cheap hookers and cheaper blow. Remind me never to shake this guy’s hand if he stops by the office. Probably pick up every STD on the planet.

“So rarely does a tale play perfectly on many levels, both the visible and the suggested, the straightforward and when viewed through various lenses of privilege, class, and race. But in Leonard’s Song, Lombardo accomplishes the gemcutter’s dream – he shapes a work that offers a fascinating new refraction when each lens is applied in turn.”

Yeesh. I’m really polishing this turd up. If Lombardo was fair, he’d cut me in for a portion of the book sales that come from this. And he’d handle responding to some of the hate mail I’ll get once my readers actually crack the book open.

“In conclusion, this book is an experience unlike any other, unique in its scope and storytelling ability.”

Of which there’s absolutely none. A uniquely bad experience is still unique, right? Don’t print that.

“Lombardo’s debut novel triggers a wash of emotion that I’ve not felt in a long time, and I’m definitely going to be watching this young artist’s career with interest.”

Because if his book craters, I say goodbye to my knees. Don’t print that.

There. That should be enough. Add that ridiculous picture of the nephew in that stupid smoking jacket, holding up his pipe and pretending that he doesn’t look like an utter ass. It ought to fill the inches for this week’s column.

Should have kept on working in the finance industry. At least, when I make numbers lie, no one has to read the damn things.

Dictation ends at 0:14:29

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