Faux reviews: No help reviews, part two

Here are the first four paragraphs of the novel Last Autumn by Jeff Conine (not the baseball player):

“Jake jerked up from his deep, dreamless stupor with an urgent sadism. Wide-eyed, his sweat-matted head eased a slow retreat onto the pillow. He hoped the morning’s chill would clear the haze. Minutes later the fog lifted: she was coming today.


“This registered, he leapt from bed and scrambled for his alarm clock. In his adrenaline-etched haste, he slipped, cracking his knee against the bedside table–an old crate bumpy with candle wax, overlaid with a cigarette-scarred cloth–sending a near empty jug of wine ass over tit into some beer empties. As the Dago Red fluid anointed the aluminum, he stared, his mind encumbered in vague memory of the night before–and all those before, leading a domino-lined blackness backwards, out of memory to some half-lit past where it must have been different.


“He found the clock peering up at him from a heap of poetry chapbooks scattered on his steamer trunk next to his desk. Nervously he checked the time. Ten-thirty. Christ, he cursed as he surveyed his cabin, crib’s a mess–no way to clean this bastard up in time.


“He sighed. No surprise: the cabin hadn’t had many thorough cleanings in the many moons he had come to call it home. In its present state, though never a garden club showplace, it looked worse than usual. He nodded knowingly at this recent development as he looked back at the clock.”

Included on its Amazon listing are the following editorial reviews:

A well constructed tale with lifelike characters…another well told tale by Jeff Conine. — Anne K. Edwards Book Reviews Weekly

An impressive and auspicious novel by a writer enjoying his craft. — Irish novelist Niall Quinn, author of Welcome to Gomorrah and Cafe Cong.

strong, no-holds barred portrait of a writer on the skids, seeking his own kind of truth…the writer’s dilemma, — Mitch Waldman Scibe’s World Reviews

well written…excellent command of language…stark, devoid of sentiment…isolated coast a major character. I stayed until the end. — Judy Fleagle, Senior Editor, Oregon Coast Magazine

I was unable to independently verify any of the above. The novel also has four five star reader reviews on Amazon, and a single four star one.

Amazon, of course, experienced a scandal when it was revealed that there was a cottage industry of persons selling authors favorable “reader reviews.” They purged a bunch of reviews, but apparently not nearly enough. Buyer beware.

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1 Response to Faux reviews: No help reviews, part two

  1. keithferrellwritenow says:


    Good blog — as always I would like to see more of you in it, but I think that your approach is working well.

    As far as degrees of fauxness — fauxnocity? fauxnessitude? — in the reviews, this may or may not help, but check this out from Conine’s LinkedIn profile:


    Spooner Industries

    January 1998 – April 2002 (4 years 4 months)

    Spooner Industries was at one time responsible for a spate of Northwest regional magazines, including Oregon Coast magazine and Northwest Travels, as well as Online Highways.com. In my capacity as jack-of-all-trades I worked on everything: from writing to editing, to researching, cross referencing, to data entry and grunt work. Whatever needed doing I did.

    Now take a look at where Judy Fleagle, one of the “reviewers” worked.

    Coincidence — or Con(ine)spiracy?


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