Harsh reviews are justifiable but must be fair

It was the kind of news story guaranteed to make any book reviewer shudder.

3rd February, 2007

It was the kind of news story guaranteed to make any book reviewer shudder. Just before Christmas, Swedish journalist, Kristian Lundberg, wrote a dismissive critique of Britt-Marie Mattsson’s thriller The Power of Fear, calling its plot ‘‘predictable’’ and its characterisation ‘‘one-dimensional’’.

The article would have passed without anyone paying much heed to it, except for one small problem: the novel did not actually exist. Although...

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