Reviewing the Reviewers: Sam Sattler, Bookchase

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Reviewing the Reviewers, Uncategorized
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Sam Sattler describes himself as an avid reader as well as a fan of “real” country music. I hope that means Waylon, Willie, Tom Paul and others. He started reviewing books so he could give attention to smaller less publicized work (for which those of us who write such books are eternally grateful.)  and so he could remember the plots of books he had read. He lives in Houston Texas and counts The Godfather, The Buddy Holly Story and Defending Your Life among his favorite movies. His review blog is


1. What really gets your interest in a mystery?

The thing I look for in a mystery is in-depth character development and a good side plot or two.  Straight mysteries with one simple crime, a limited number of suspects, and no misdirection don’t intrigue me at all these days.  I find myself drawn toward long series, for those reasons.

2. What bores the hell out of you?

Cozies and novels that are afraid to show the “real world.”  I hate political correctness in novels and movies.  I also hate clichés such as always making Big Oil the villain or otherwise portraying a villain or incompetent cop as the most conservative minded of all the characters.

3. What cliches would you really like to see go away?


Big Oil = Environment Rapist

Republicans are warmongers

Southerners are dumber than their Northern counterparts

Southerners are more racist than Northerners


4. What topics, themes etc would you like to see more of in mysteries?

More mysteries (or general novels) set in bookstores or involving book collectors

More mysteries using baseball or football as background

More mysteries set in Houston or Austin


5. What mistakes do you think authors make?

Authors often make the mistake of underestimating the intelligence of their readers.  They spend too much time explaining the obvious and fail to get into the depth that would make their characters real to the reader.


6. Do you write? Would you like to?

I have not written professionally other than a sports piece for the Houston Astros program several years ago.  I would love to write someday – maybe next year when I retire.


7. Who are your favorites?

Elizabeth George, James Lee Burke, Joyce Carol Oates, John Harvey, Sue Grafton, Ken Bruen, Sara Paretsky, Richard Price, Ruth Rendell


8. Why did you start reviewing? If you really hate a book will you still review it?

I started reviewing mainly to reinforce my memory about all the books I read.  I was disappointed to find that I could barely remember the plots of books I had read three or four years earlier.  Now that I formally review them, I don’t have that problem.

I started Book Chase ( ) five years ago and what I enjoy most about it is that I can spread the word about the more obscure novels from smaller and independent publishers.  I also love the feedback I often get from the authors I review.  One or two of the writers who gave me the most vehement negative feedback have turned into good friends; I think we all learned something from our email exchanges.

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