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2018 Longlist [MBP] > Snap by Belinda Bauer

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message 1: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion of Snap by Belinda Bauer.

Please be considerate of spoilers when posting your thoughts. Either use the spoiler tag or make it clear at the top of your comment that you will be posting specific details of the story.

Happy reading & discussing!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer I think it is odd to have a genre book with a front cover blurb from one of the judges in the long list.

But I would like to read it first as that may just be a snap judgement.


Meike (meikereads) I usually have low blood pressure, but after finishing this book last night, my blood pressure was way up - not because this mystery was particularly suspenseful though, but because I was furious!!

The world is going nuts and there are tons of relevant books with urgent narrative voices and interesting aesthetic concepts tackling all kinds of important issues, and this novel is what the Booker wants to highlight? No Winton or Flanagan, no entry from Asia, no entry from Africa and then boasting "hey, we are so edgy, we are now including crime fiction!" to present us - this?

It's not that the book is bad for what it is, but this should never have made the Booker longlist - this is just escapist entertainment.

Here's my review.


message 4: by Britta (last edited Aug 03, 2018 12:01AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I have no idea what Val McDermid sees in this book... None.

Snap is full of cliché-characters, from the unsuspecting blond wife, pregnant and not very smart to the scruffy lead investigtor, recently divorced, drinking and smoking, who makes sexist remarks but has a golden heart. The writing is mediocre, with cringeworthy sentences like: "A tiny red ball swelled from the pad of her forefinger and sat there shining like a ruby in a Swiss watch".

Still, loving thrillers, I could overlook all that if the story was good. But it isn't. The main plot barely makes sense (i.e. the motive for the murder is beyond flimsy and it's completely unclear how the crime could have happenend the way it is described), the plotholes keep piling up plus there are so many coincidences that help solve the crime it's just mind-boggling. (The smallest one: The investigator's elderly mother moves into the house next to the family of the murder victim. Are you kidding me?). And the ending: oh dear, oh dear...

Would I recommend this book to a crime reader? I don' think so. Does this book belong on the longlist of the Man Booker: certainly not.


message 5: by Britta (last edited Jul 25, 2018 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "I usually have low blood pressure, but after finishing this book last night, my blood pressure was way up - not because this mystery was particularly suspenseful though, but because I was furious!!..."

I disagree with your assessment that Snap isn't bad for what it is, see my review above. I love reading thrillers, and this one is just... bad. Very, very bad.


message 6: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) Meike wrote: "I usually have low blood pressure, but after finishing this book last night, my blood pressure was way up - not because this mystery was particularly suspenseful though, but because I was furious!!..."
Thanks for the info Meike! I only get to read about half on the long list at best this year. Have to make hard choices. ;) Happy to cross this one out.


Meike (meikereads) You're welcome, Wen! :-) I am curious to see which books you will read!

I found Snap alright for beach read-standards, and I felt like Bauer was trying to write exactly that kind of book: Escapist entertainment, not a challenging Booker nominee (and there's nothing wrong with that). So I question the assessment of the jury as a whole as to why they included it. As I wrote in my review, I am sure that you are right, Britta and Sunita, and that there are better mystery novels out there, but I guess that most publishers who submit to the Booker didn't bother sending in genre lit.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
PS: I cant help it but the fact that Val McDermid (who has the same agent as Belinda Bauer) has blurbed every single book written by Bauer since her debut Blacklands in 2010, and has promoted this author on penals and festival just makes me suspicious...

Which is probably stupid, I know. A Man Booker judge wouldn't use a slot on the Longlist to further the career of an author she knows and likes, right?


message 9: by Meike (last edited Jul 26, 2018 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meike (meikereads) Britta, this is a really confusing aspect to me as well. On the one hand, I know that McDermid does not make money off of Bauer's books, so she has no financial gain from promoting her. On top of that, it wasn't McDermid alone who wrote the longlist, all of the judges must have reached an agreement to include Bauer.

Then again, after reading the book, the question arises why Snap has a spot on a Booker longlist (and again, I am not intending to talk down Bauer, because I feel like she didn't write this book aiming for a Nobel Prize or something). Of course crime fiction can be complex, challenging and relevant, but this book misses the Booker mark, IMHO. As I said before, I also believe that most publishers didn't even think of submitting genre fiction for the Booker.

I wish someone would ask about this at a Booker event.


message 10: by Britta (last edited Jul 26, 2018 09:59AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "Britta, this is a really confusing aspect to me as well. On the one hand, I know that McDermid does not make money off of Bauer's books, so she has no financial gain from promoting her. On top of t..."

Me, too (re asking the question). And re the panel's decision: none of the judges reads all 171 entries, books are attributed in batches. And each judge then puts forward certain books from his/her batch. Plus it's often common practice that each judge can 'fill' one slot on the longlist without the need for the other judges to agree. It's only when the shortlist is determined that all judges need to read the longlisted books and agree on the shortlist. But even then it's often a 'trade': if you agree on book A, I will agree on book B.


Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Sunita wrote: "Britta wrote: "Meike wrote: "Britta, this is a really confusing aspect to me as well. On the one hand, I know that McDermid does not make money off of Bauer's books, so she has no financial gain fr..."

I don't know whether it happens with all panels, every year. But it seems only logical that if one judge says this is a fantastic book, it should be longlisted and no other judge has read it, that this book will be given a slot.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer “I’d read it even before I knew I would be a Booker judge and it seemed to me to be an outstanding novel,” said McDermid. “My fellow judges read it and one said, ‘This transcends genre’, and someone else said, ‘This shows what genre can do at its best’ ... It is an extremely clever piece of storytelling with characters you care about, and that’s what we were looking for – something well written that engages with mind and heart.”


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer Interestingly just realised there was also a graphic novelist on the panel and something similar (albeit without the whole history of relationship and blurb) occurred

the judging panel included Leanne Shapton, an artist and graphic novelist. "Because Leanne has that experience, she was able to explain to the rest of us how to read a graphic novel," said Val McDermid, the crime writer and member of the panel.

"A lot of younger readers turn to the graphic novel. Those of us only accustomed to print are going to have to learn to read graphic novels."


message 14: by Britta (last edited Jul 26, 2018 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Gumble's Yard wrote: "“I’d read it even before I knew I would be a Booker judge and it seemed to me to be an outstanding novel,” said McDermid. “My fellow judges read it and one said, ‘This transcends genre’, and someon..."

Thank you for these quotes! And in my opinion: whoever supposedly said that this book "transcends genre" can't have possibly read it... Just saying... (Would be interesting to hear from this judge how exactly the transcending happened.)


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer I think you are correct, clearly the judges decide to let certain judges act as advocates for certain books and were persuaded by them.


message 16: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 511 comments Just finished this. I have no idea how a judge could say it "transcends genre". I didn't think it was even a good crime novel, let alone a novel that broke out of its genre in some way. Very disappointing.


Claire  | 3 comments I also just finished it. I thought it was a good read, but not a remarkably good one. I have read better thrillers and I have read much better books.
I found Jack an interesting character, but the in depth description of characters in this book is sacrificed to the genre demands and the genre demands have been sacrificed to the (failed) attempt to focus on characters.
All in all, I enjoyed it lying in the sun with a book on vacation, but that is hardly a reason to put it on a Man Booker list.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I finished it and like it better than some of you -- as rated against other books in the genre. But I do not think it belongs on the list. I am new to reading Manbooker. Last year I discovered the longlist after the award was given, and read the list anyway. I was impressed by the weight of the books and determined to read along with all of you this year. This book was average for a mystery and below average when compared to literary fiction.

This is what I picture: Val said to the other judges, "I will vote yes for your book if you agree to put one of mine on the list." Ugh. So disappointing.


message 19: by Toni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Toni | 11 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "“I’d read it even before I knew I would be a Booker judge and it seemed to me to be an outstanding novel,” said McDermid. “My fellow judges read it and one said, ‘This transcends genre’, and someon..."

GY, do you happen to know the source of this quote? Where did McDermid say that? Having finished the book last night, I have to say, not only does it not transcend genre, it is a rather poor example of it with certain parts bordering on laughable (and not in a good way). Hard to believe that Val McDermid’s fellow judges read the book and agreed with her. If she read the book before she knew she’d be a judge, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume she nudgled Bauer’s agent to submit the entry. None of this comes across as objective and fair in approacing the submissions. There is no doubt that book choices will always be influenced by the personal tastes of the panel in any given year, but this seems to go beyond what’s acceptable.


message 21: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments This was the first book on the list I picked up to read. I read the first 20 pages, which I know is not a lot, but I feel I might skip it. I don’t know if the comments here colored my judgement, but this is not the kind of writing I look forward to in Man Booker nominees.


Michael | 11 comments I'm not into crime fiction, so I was skeptical about this one. After reading it, I was left more puzzled about its inclusion on the Booker list than before I began. The prose is fine, but I found the characters lacking, and the overall plotting of the mystery did not ring true for me. (view spoiler) A better book got excluded for this!


message 23: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda I recently finished Snap. If it was a holiday read I’d picked up at the airport I would have been reasonably pleased but a Booker longlist book? Nope. I kept hoping there was going to be a surprising twist but it was all very predictable.


Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 2 comments Just finished this book, and to my surprise I enjoyed a lot of part in this book.

Despite being longlisted on Booker, just talking about the book, I thought the first quarter of the book was very slow and couldn't catch my eye, but once read past the "characters introduction phase" I started to have fun with the book. But I agree that this book couldn't stand the test of "think more about it". The pregnant women stereotype was extremely annoying and I really don't like it. And the police made no sense for half of the book, also Jack wasn't like a 14 years old boy for most of the parts.

Having so many critiques with the book I think I still had a good reading experience, and it's a three star or three and a half star thriller for me. I think the enjoyment level of the book highly depends on how many thriller one has read, for me it's not a lot.


Barbara (bdegar) | 30 comments Britta wrote: "PS: I cant help it but the fact that Val McDermid (who has the same agent as Belinda Bauer) has blurbed every single book written by Bauer since her debut Blacklands in 2010, and has promoted this ..."

This is worrying and makes me think less of McDermid. On the other hand, who knows what other kinds of "influence peddling" is going on with these nominations.
Being a reader who likes this genre I was perhaps less critical in my review than others here. But I concur that this book doesn't belong on the longlist.


Barbara (bdegar) | 30 comments Neil wrote: "Just finished this. I have no idea how a judge could say it "transcends genre". I didn't think it was even a good crime novel, let alone a novel that broke out of its genre in some way. Very disapp..."

I absolutely agree - this book does NOT transcend the genre in any way, shape or form.


Keriann (kad123) I want to start by saying thrillers are probably one of my favourite genres so I was over the moon to see one on the long list, I went into this thinking it must be pretty spectacular...oh how wrong I was, I thought this book was extremely badly written, to me it read like a debut with mass of repetition, the plot itself was full of cliché and plot holes....I am so sad this is on the long list and hope it doesnt make the shortlist


Barbara (bdegar) | 30 comments Keriann wrote: "I want to start by saying thrillers are probably one of my favourite genres so I was over the moon to see one on the long list, I went into this thinking it must be pretty spectacular...oh how wron..."

Although I liked the book, I tend to agree it did not deserve to be on the long list. I have read so many highly touted terrible "psychological thrillers" recently, this one seemed good. Also I listened rather than read it which may make a difference in judging the quality of the writing.


message 29: by Noël (new) - rated it 1 star

Noël (the_book_rook) | 6 comments Agree. If there was a deserving thriller that would be one thing but this? No.


message 30: by Noël (new) - rated it 1 star

Noël (the_book_rook) | 6 comments Agree. If there was a deserving thriller that would be one thing but this? No.


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