What is it about a crime novel that gets you going? Is it the crime itself, or the chase, or the type of crime? I love a good murder, especially one that forces the hero to look for the "history" of the crime, the "why done it" in addition to the "who done it".

   

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I agree Lydia, think it might be a 'girl' thing, however I do admire her explorations into Judaism from the female perspective, it gave me an understanding of parts of that religion that would normally be outside my world experience. I do agree Dan that John is the better writer, his books are more intense..
I agree with you on the female perspective, Gail, and I like that, but Faye doesn't grab me in the same way that John does. given the choice, I will read him first.
I think the best reads are those that have a 50/50 split between characterization and story line. Personally I lean more toward Stacy's and Dan's view that the puzzle part interests me most. Neveretheless, find a great 'whodunit' with some genuinely interestring characters and you've got a winner.
I have to agree with that. If the characters are boring, who cares about them. And if the storyline moves to slowly, I want to toss the book (or the author) out the window.
For me, it's the entire package. There has to be a solid plot that's not too pat. The clues can't be too easily seen, yet also can't appear from thin air just to make it plausible. The characters have to be ones I would want to invest my time in reading about. They have to be realistic and human--and they have to have faults since all human beings have them. The setting has to draw me in, but I don't need detailed-to-death on description of a room or a city unless it's absolutely pertinent to the story. I enjoy solving the crime ahead of the character and seeing if I'm right in the end and for the correct reasons.

I have stopped reading certain mystery writers because their work no longer carries all these elements.
Valerie, if a book doesn't grab me in a few pages, I'm off to the next one. There has to be something that grbs me right away, like a dead body floating in a rowboat. I want to know all the particulars, but not all at once, and it has to make sense. Everybody hated the dead guy, but why? I need to know what he did, and it has to be realistic, not something silly or dumb. I want to know the bad habits and the obsessions, human stuff. And please don't take a whole chapter to describe a room, or the crime scene unless there is a clue there. and if I can figure out who done it too quickly, well, where's the mystery?
I give a new book about 70 pages, if nothing has engaged me by then I toss it. Some authors take quite awhile to intro the characters and backdrop. It drives me nuts if there is about 15 characters dished up early and you have to keep flipping back to understand who, what and why. If only Messrs DeMille, Baldacci, Connelly, Coben and Patterson could churn them out faster, or teach us writers how....
70 pages?? Boy you have a lot of paitnece. I can't hold out that long waiting for something to happen, but if I go that long, I usually wind up reading the whole book.
I agree. You tend to know very quickly if you're going to want to bother. And of the writrs above, I can only stomach Connelly.
Connelly is a good read.
Whodunit, howdunit, and an interesting cast of characters with both flaws and redeeming qualities.
What would you describe as a redeeming quality? A killer who won't harm a child, or an arsonist who makes sure the building is empty before he torches it?

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