Monday 8 February 2010


CUT SHORT listed in a reviewer's TOP 5 READS of 2009

Before CUT SHORT was published, someone made a point to me along these lines: 'While you are writing your book, it belongs to you. Once it is published, the reader can say what they think about it.' In effect, you lose the right of reply. This is as it should be. A book must stand or fail on its own merits.

I'm very happy with how my book has fared so far. My publisher is brilliant at their business, producing crime thrillers, but they lack the clout and influence - aka the marketing budget - of the large publishing houses. CUT SHORT has not had the benefit of front-of-store displays, or placement on the 3for2 tables. It has not been bought a place on the bestseller lists, or been promoted by amazon in any way. It is just out there and I'm grateful that enough people have bought it to necessitate a second reprint in six months. In its own small way CUT SHORT has been a resounding success, tiny though it is in the grand scheme of the publishing world.

I have no idea what contribution reviews have made to this success. Most of the reviews of CUT SHORT have been very positive, but it is always a nerve wracking experience knowing that a review is about to be published and waiting to read it.

Here is an extract from a review this week by Michael Lipkin, Senior Editor for a major publishing house in the US. The review appears in Noir Journal and The New York Journal of Books.

"As the story races to its gripping conclusion, there’s not a moment when the reader won’t be either fearful for another possible victim, hopeful that the killer will make one fatal mistake, or desperately waiting for Steele to discover that one missing clue.
This is an excellent book—the kind one might read for hours on a winter evening before a roaring fire. Russell pulls the reader into an intense involvement with the characters, the town of Woolmarsh, and the search for the killer.
Truly a great start for new mystery author Leigh Russell."

and another 5 star review on today -

Excellent, 9 Feb 2010
Cormac Mac "Crime king" (London) - See all my reviews

Cut Short is an excellent first novel. It was recommended to me by a friend who loves the Karl Kane series of books by crime writer Sam Millar. I wasn't disappointed. Steel is a name you will be hearing more of in the future. Buy this book. Steal it. Whatever you do, read it.

CUT SHORT is included in 4 for 3 offer on

Guess what? sold out again just after they restocked. More copies on the way...


Stella Jones said...

I enjoyed it anyway. I'm a fan. I wouldn't call it a mystery story though because we knew who the murderer was right from the start. It's not a mystery any more than Prime Suspect is a mystery. It is more on the lines of a good police drama. I left my copy in America as I said I would and hope that it is being picked up by lots of interested parties. How is the next one coming along?
Blessings, Star

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Star. No, it's not a mystery, is it? I'm a little confused about all the labels - mystery, thriller, crime fiction... CUT SHORT is a police drama. Although police procedure doesn't interest me at all, I researched and included it in an attempt to write a plausible story. I'm glad you enjoyed it. That's all that matters in the end.

Leigh Russell said...

And book 2, ROAD CLOSED, is about to be delivered to the production manager. I am hanging on to it for about another week and then I really have to let it go. Scary!

Mike said...

It's a story with crime in it - doesn't make it a crime story, and hooray for that. Once upon a time it was all about the solution - the "whodunnnit", the locked room mystery, the "english cosy". You didn't need people, just ciphers who delivered the solution to the semi-cryptic crossword that was mystery fiction. Now the author has to deliver more. We want to know about the people who committed the murder, not the rare plant the poison was made from, nor the ingenious way they managed to deliver it while being simultaneously seen delivering a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. We want to know why the person struggling to deliver justice, solve the crime, save the innocent, is driven to do so - what their emotions are when they experience failure and when they taste triumph. Enough with little grey men with their little grey cells deducing the existence of an elephant from a stray hair and the smell of bananas. Bring on 'tecs who get by on hard work, paperwork, footwork and sheer good fortune. Keep writing good stories - ones about people - and you'll keep us readers happy, Leigh.

Leigh Russell said...

That's the plan, Mike... but I'm going to have to change my next plot which revolved around banana eating elephants...

Val Ewing said...

I love the comment:
* I wasn't disappointed. Steel is a name you will be hearing more of in the future. Buy this book. Steal it. Whatever you do, read it. *

I'm looking for someone to snatch it from as we speak...[looking around and grinning!]

Leigh Russell said...

Don't snatch it - buy it! It's in stock on and will be on from 12th February. It's even available as an e-book.
Thanks for the comment, Val.

Karen said...

Congratulations! Crime fiction is my favorite genre, so I know I'll buy your book!

Carletta said...

Congratulations on your continued sucess!
Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Karen, thank you. Feel free to come back and let me know what you think. I hope you come back anyway!

Leigh Russell said...

Likewise, Carletta.

Unknown said...

In all honesty, even as a woman myself, I have never been a follower of women writing crime. They never seem to go for the jugular, and always hold back. That was until I heard crime writer Sam Millar praising the hell out of this debut novel, Cut Short.
I immediately bought it on Amazon, and was delighted with it. Really great writing, and terrific story. Can’t wait until your new book hits the shelves.

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you, Mary. Your comment really cheered me up just when I was feeling a bit down. I am so thrilled when someone takes the trouble to let me know they enjoyed CUT SHORT.

Leigh Russell said...

Mary - I couldn't access your blog and have no idea who you are. I do hope you visit here again and accept my thanks for your comment.