Monday, August 16, 2010

I want to write the Blurbs

I have a paperback devoted to quotes from Science Fiction and Fantasy books. It's called "Ghastly Beyond Belief" by Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman and there's a section dealing with the various kinds of blurbs on the back covers. Well, I just finished a classic (blurb, not book) and because I'm a cruel little man, I'm going to share. The book was "The Assassin" by Stephen Coonts (don't judge me, I just felt like a veggie read). Here is the annotated blurb.

Tommy Carmellini is a man who's known both sides of the law. (True)
But even as a burglar, he knew honour among thieves. (Never mentioned) Now firmly allied to 
the CIA, (Is "allied" the same as full-time agent?) he can still recognise a traitor when he sees one. 
(Great. Pity there are no traitors). And so tracking down Al Qaeda lieutenant (no, he isn't
Abu Qasim has become a personal quest (no, it hasn't).

While trailing Abu Qasim (he never does, nor does anyone else), Tommy spots an 
American mobster boarding a yacht in Capri. (There are no American mobsters, or yachts 
and Capri is never mentioned in the book). Tommy's boss - Jake Grafton (he is!) fearing links 
between the mob and Al Qaeda (no he doesn't. As above no mob, no Al Qaeda), sends 
Tommy in even deeper to investigate. (Not exactly)

Meanwhile Fioratti (who?), Tommy's mobster (nope), is busy planning a terror-for-hire 
strike that will make him rich beyond the dreams of avarice. (Maybe he is - in another book)
After all, global terror is big business. Some fight for their faith; others for cold hard cash.
Soon Tommy and Jake are embroiled in a stew of American and Russian mobsters,
(There. are. no. mobsters. in. this. book. And no stews and the Russians are all allies)
killers and thieves, and the clock is ticking. (Um, no thieves either)

So I'm puzzled. If it was the blurb for a totally different book that would just be a procedural error of some kind. But Grafton, Carmellini and Abu Qasim are all in there and Qasim is an Al Qaeda-like figure, there are Russians and a terror plot. So did the blurb-writer actually read it at all? If so, where did Fioratti and the mob come from? And why didn't Orion Books have the blurb read by an editor who'd actually read the book before sending it to print? These are all mysteries. Just not, you know, Meaning Of Life type mysteries.

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