I'm onto something, I think. I think I'm onto why a certain number of the Amazon “customer reviews” for Ed McBain's novels are so negative. There are always a few negative ones posted by readers so disenchanted by whichever McBain novel they've just tried to enjoy they must go on record. One star, two, maybe even three. This is always the case. Always. It's always the case.
The rest, the great majority of the customer reviewers, award five stars, with a smattering of fours. The fours I think are by readers intending to appear smart and discriminating. They simply will not be stampeded by emotion into awarding five stars for a genre novel even if they secretly loved it to death. Four stars is as high as they'll go--ever--unless to oblige the author, or the book is so obscure they're really awarding the five stars to themselves, for coolness.
Aside from the tiny faction of cranks who can always be found at the bottom of a review list in the one-or-two-star strata trashing whatever the book, because it's what they do, the negative reviewers I'm talking about, the ones I think I'm onto, I think were genuinely nonplussed by the book they're damning with scant stars. They were dismayed and disappointed, they felt cheated, condescended to, culled and excluded. They chose an Ed McBain novel expecting a good, methodical cop story by a world-recognized master of the form.