Though my personal life—moving, dealing with the varied annoyances of first-time home ownership, trying to find minutes here and there for writing—hasn’t reflected it, over the past weeks I’ve been appearing one way or another in some newspapers—always a pleasure when your book has passed that month-and-a-half post-publication window, after which it usually disappears.

Toward the beginning of the August, I ran across a “review” of The Nearest Exit in The Washington Times. In it, Joseph C. Goulden observes that the novel is “a truly odious piece of political pornography,” and refers to me as an “author” (in quotes). That’s not why I put “review” in quotes, though—I did that because, by his own admission, he didn’t read past page 35. Nonetheless, I’m sure his assessment is right on target.

[caption id=”attachment_1360” align=”alignright” width=”180” caption=”by Joe Ciardiello”][/caption]

A few days later my mood sweetened considerably when the New York Times Book Review printed my take on Martin Cruz Smith’s latest Arkady Renko story, Three Stations. As you can probably tell from the review, I enjoyed the novel considerably, and those who are familiar with the series know that any time spent with Renko is a good time. I was even more pleased because they decided to make it their cover review that week, which meant that not only did it fill the Review’s cover, but I was also featured in their Up Front section and given a caricature (see right). Wonderful, particularly considering that this was my first professional review ever.

Then, just this last Sunday, I was surprised to find yet another review of The Nearest Exit, this time in the LA Times. The estimable Paula L. Woods—author of, most recently, Strange Bedfellows—has once again done me very good, saying that with this book I make “another bid to be the espionage writer for our times” and going on to say some very nice things. The review is great to receive for obvious reasons, but I largely feel a sense of great luck that I have a few critics who seem to get what I’m up to, and regularly bring attention to my books. Thank you, Paula.

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)