If you read enough crime fiction, you'll eventually notice a few recurring tropes. The tortured PI who drinks too much, for example.
If a genie popped out and said you could eliminate one of these stereotypes forever, which one would you choose? (This genie is picky about the wishes it grants.)
The ass-kicking supermodel.
Well, I'm sort of fond of the protagonist who isn't perfect and is fighting his own devils. Drinking is an obvious one. Would over-eating be more attractive? Probably not. Gambling? Over-spending? Addiction to sex?
I detest solution scenes with the all-knowing detective showing off in front of the suspects.
I also dislike female sleuths who have something to prove about being better than men, as well as cozy old ladies who operate on town gossip and are always finding bodies.
I no longer like serial killer novels that keep going on and on with corpses that are weirdly mutilated or have the same freaky m.o.s.
I don't like technical mumbo jumbo, though I seem to tolerate Reacher's obsession with numbers. In his case is a character trait.
There is probably more, but I give up for now.
I don't really have one. IMO, anything can be well-written and compelling. Nothing's frustrated me to the point of wanting it to disappear. Variety is what keeps things interesting.
Dispassionate, superhumanly efficient hitmen. Maybe they do exist and just don't get caught, but people who take on this kind of work in real life seem pretty dimwitted to me.
I'd love to get rid of the CSI/Coroner who also carries a gun and solves crimes while the police detectives stand around. They should all go back to their microscopes where they belong.
Two things...well kind of.
I want to say bad ass sidekicks (Hawk, Win, Joe Pike, etc.), but on the other hand, I sure do like some of them.
The second would be amateur sleuths who obtain information they'd NEVER be able to obtain in real life. It just seems to jar me out of the story.
Ben, Albert, and Clay hit my hot buttons.
I like protagonists who have demons to fight through, and alcohol abuse is a logical choice for the genre, but too many books go on and on spending more time on "will he drink or won't he?" or having the hero get drunk at the worst possible time as a cheap way to add a plot complication.
I have yet to see any convincing proof super-efficient, millionaire hit men actually exist. There aren't enough hits out there to make a good living at it. Even the pros in the mob have to hold down "day jobs" as criminals.
Amateur sleuths? Maybe in a well-written cozy. Never in a hard-boiled book I'm supposed to take seriously. Unless they die. Horribly. As a result of their own inexperience. Which is a result I often root for.
The amateur sleuth thing never made sense to me. Don't you need a real job? The Hardy Boys would be in poverty with all the free work they've done.
Concur. Plus, too often, I feel like the amateur sleuth is too dependent on coincidence (oh, I just happen to have a nephew who is a computer hacker and can hack into the police department's computer and get me the missing secrete file) or luck.
Then again, "And then our hero filed his FOIA request" would make for a darned boring story, wouldn't it?
I believe this is called the "Murder She Wrote" Syndrome.
If you see Angela Lansbury coming, run the other way as fast as you can.