Evocative Characters. Intriguing Crime. Compelling Stories.
My husband believes that if he begins to read a book he is somehow contractually obligated to finish the book. I used to feel that way. No longer.
I'm reading a book by an author I've enjoyed in the past. It even has an endorsement on the cover from one of my very favorite crime fiction authors, Michael Connelly. The first scene portrayed a deliberate death so naturally I was hooked.
Only now I'm about half-way through the book and am beginning to believe I might have been hoodwinked. I've gone back to the flap three times to read the story description and I'm stressed that this could be some kind of departure from the type of book this author has always written, and I missed the clues. Don't get me wrong, it's a good story. Just not what I'd expected when I forked over my twenty-or so bucks. I've decided to keep reading and see if I end up satisfied or disappointed and full of suspicion for the future books this author releases into the world.
Which begs the question: When do you back away from a book? When does it become a DNF? A Did Not Finish?
And secondly, if you have a DNF from a particular author, will you read her/him again?
Here's my list (at least for now):
- Lack of tension. Who wants to read a story (any story) where everything is perfect and people are happy? I'm not even completely crazy about perfectly happy endings.
- Characters without goals. Again, who wants to read a story where everyone is happy as things are?
- Too much narrative. Give me visual space. Give me dialogue. Give me life. Let me breathe.
- Characters I don't like. I know this is a new angle, but it doesn't work for me. I picked up a book in the middle of a wildly popular series, and the protagonist made me alternately roll my eyes and clench my teeth.
- Too many characters. After hearing about another much-loved author and her enduring series, I began reading her books, but from the beginning. In the first few pages, more than twenty characters were introduced. I closed the book and happily moved on to the next one in my pile.
What about you? Are there deal-breakers that cause you to dump a book?