One of the greatest tools authors can have, is valid criticism of their work. Criticism based on reasoned thinking, knowledge of the subject matter, and a great sense of the literary medium. Every author begs for good constructive criticism, be it positive or negative because that is the only yardstick by which authors can be judged and improve, hopefully rising to great levels.

Unreasoned, uninformed, unhelpful reviews are simply biased angry opinion based on ignorance.

Recently I read a stupid, uninformed review of my book CONTACT – about my two tours of Northern Ireland with the Parachute Regiment – in which the reviewer (if he/she can be called that) made statements that were at the very least misinformed, and at the very worst pure speculation and invention. And the worst sin of all was for the reviewer to write using the letters ‘G Comd “22 years”” and not even his/her real name.

Good reviewers and critics stand by their words using their own names, and are ready to be tested in public.

Cowards hide behind fake names or idiot letters which mean nothing, because they know they cannot back-up their statements.

I published CONTACT under my own name out of respect for my fellow soldiers, so that they would know who it was that wrote the book, make up their own minds what they thought of it, and could contact me directly with their views.

This is what ‘G Comd “22 years”‘ wrote:

 I am not surprised that he only served seven years. It appears he could not make up his mind as to what he wanted to be ‘a Tom or a Rupert’. Sour grapes evident throughout.

I left because I had several life threatening surgeries. In August 1976 two weeks before the end of my last tour in Crossmaglen Northern Ireland, after months of internal bleeding and extreme pain, I was finally medevacced to Musgrave Park Hospital Belfast, then transferred to the Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital, Millbank, London.

After my last tour in Northern Ireland in 1976, I was recommended for Staff College and immediate promotion.

From August 1976 to August 1977 I spent over five months in hospital and had four major surgeries. With the removal my large bowel, my army career was over, and my life changed forever. I was 28 years old.

If ‘G Comd “22 years”‘ has constructive criticism about the literary style and factual content of CONTACT, by all means write a real review using your real name, reasoned argument, a knowledge of the facts of my army service and a knowledge of what the soldiers under my command – with whom I am still in contact – thought and still think of me as a person and as an officer.

That would be a helpful, constructive and reasoned review, not only for me, but for anyone interested in CONTACT.

If you still think the book is crap, fine, but at least you will have written a review under your own name, and hopefully with the real facts in hand, not just your own fictional speculation and invention.

Sour Grapes ‘G Comd “22 years”‘?

No, just pure contempt for a coward hiding behind meaningless letters and no facts. By the way during my seven and a half years in the Parachute Regiment, I rose from the rank of Private soldier to Captain, of which I am extremely proud.