To answer my own question, I read through the samples for the 6 or so novels in the first tier. The first 3 seemed horribly badly written. The others seemed a bit better, but not all that interesting so I skipped it.
I mention this because I finished the first of that 40k trilogy paperback that I bought purely on the strength of it being cheap and having a decent cover. (Enforcer - The Shira Calpurnia Chronicles - Book 1: Crossfire)
It’s an odd one, because at a micro level it’s pretty well written - at least much better than those sample chapters that I read. But on a macro level it’s rather rubbish.
I think it’s an attempt at a police procedural in the 40k universe, and that sounds like a decent enough idea.
I don’t really get on with police procedurals, as they tend to involve the protagonist stumbling around with no clue what’s going on until at the end they happen to stumble upon the answer. And that’s exactly what happens here too.
But in this case it’s much worse because neither I nor the protagonist really know anything about the world we’re on, so every red-herring ends up with the need to explain an entire strand of the planetary/imperium’s political workings in order to point out why it’s actually a red herring.
At least in real-world red herrings we can pretty quickly work out that the guy we thought was iffy because he lied about his alibi isn’t actually the murderer because he’s having an affair and we understand that.
But in this case we have to be told at great length that the secret transmissions to the ship that seemed dodgy are only secret because of some long running rivalry over the particular sector’s adminstration between two obscure wings of the local imperium which began due to some political event 100 years ago and blah blah blah.
Maybe someone who is already into the genre might get along with it better.
I hope the next novel focuses a bit more on direct actions and characters, and a bit less on incredibly complex bureaucratic minutiae.
I think one 18 year old and one 16 year old joined, so yay for diversity!
About half way through now and I’m enjoying it well enough. I can imagine it making a pretty good tv show as it already seems written like one.
Despite it all being good, there’s just something about it that feels a bit too… i don’t know… slick?
I’m into it, but I’m not sure it’ll stick with me after I finish it.