What makes this bellyaching (about bad reviews) so unseemly is that the vast majority of book reviews are favorable, even though the vast majority of books deserve little praise. Authors know that even if one reviewer hates a book, the next 10 will roll over like pooches and insist it’s not only incandescent but luminous, too. Reviewers tend to err on the side of caution, fearing reprisals down the road. Also, because they generally receive but a pittance for their efforts, they tend to view these assignments as a chore and write reviews that read like term papers or reworded press releases churned out by auxiliary sales reps. This is particularly true in the mystery genre, where the last negative review was written in 1943.Joe Queenan warns about the dangers of over-praising authors in the New York Times.