No sooner than the nominations for the Man Booker are announced, someone has to get the first strike in. Enter Jamie Byng of Cannongate Books. Writing in the online forum on the Man Booker Prize's website, Byng stated: "I cannot respect a judging committee that decides to pick a book like Child 44, a fairly well-written and well-paced thriller that is no more than that, over novels as exceptional as Helen Garner's The Spare Room or Ross Raisin's God's Own Country."
In the Independent, Boyd Tonkin wonders why James Kelman's Kieron Smith, Boy was left off the list, but mainly praises the titles that made it. "Some less predictable contenders merit a cheer," he adds, and of Child 44, he says: "With his Stalin-era investigator in Child 44, Tom Rob Smith achieves what has so far eluded the Rankins and Jameses: a penultimate-round Booker run for an upscale detective novel."
Just as with any competition, you can't please all the people all of the time.