A Gripping Thriller Vomited From The Mouths Of Gods

Added on 18 August 2017

It’s a measure of how detached I am from this business in which I work, that I hadn’t realised the extent of the ebook subtitle bonanza, where a majority of books in the upper reaches (and presumably lower reaches) of the UK Kindle chart have an extravagant claim to the book’s magnificence included as part of the actual title. Currently, nine out of the top ten ebooks on Amazon Kindle UK have such additions. These include:

  • The Most Gripping Debut Psychological Thriller of the Year
  • The best summer beach read of 2017
  • A gripping emotional page turner with a twist that will take your breath away
  • A gripping crime thriller that will literally make you butt-spew excitement

I made that last one up.

These title additions are meaningless, of course. They’re the equivalent of Donald Trump saying, “I’m the healthiest person to ever run for president,” or “I’m the least racist person you know,” or “No one loves the LGBT community more than I do, even though I don’t know what those letters actually stand for because I’m an ignorant, scrofulous spunktrumpet.”

And yet, as we know, people are influenced by this stuff. For some reason. So now, it appears, that casual searchers of the Kindle chart, looking for an exciting new book to read, need the affirmation of the word ‘gripping’ in the title, or else they think, ‘Well, the publisher doesn’t say that it’s gripping, so presumably I’ll be bored by the end of the first paragraph.’

Here, as a reminder, are the covers for my two forthcoming Kindle books from Bastei:


And as you can see, we have:

  • Cold Cuts – A gripping crime thriller with a shocking twist
  • The Judas Flower – A gripping serial killer crime thriller.

They don’t look like subtitles, but they will be included in the online title of the book.  And so I join the crowded field of titles written in purest, disingenuous marketing-speak. But then, one has to be practical, after all. If that’s what sells, and it’s a business and we’re all just doing jobs and living or dying by how many books we sell, then Bastei must do what they have to do. It’s market forces, and generally only the biggest publishers can create their own market.

So now, given that I’ve recently had to republish my full Blasted Heath back catalogue online, I have the opportunity to change the titles of all my books, giving them zippy, punchy epithets that will fool the casual reader into thinking that I write page-turning thrillers, for all the world like I’m the bastard love child of Dan Brown and Jason Bourne.

I’ll start with the Hutton series.

  • The Unburied Dead (a gripping crime thriller with a fuck-tonne of murder)
  • A Plague of Crows (a gripping crime thriller with crows that are cunts)
  • The Blood That Stains Your Hands (a crime thriller that will grip your testicles so hard they’ll burst in your pants, and you won’t even care)

I’ll be dining on caviar sandwiches made with artisanal bread by the end of the week.