I'm reading a book at the moment which isn't bad, or it wasn't bad, until the author had a central policeman character make a particularly pompous announcement - apropos of bugger all in terms of the progression of the story - about dirty scruffy scumbag street people, and well, I'm suddenly arguing the point with the central character and telling him to stop being such a bloody prat.

So I'm really really put off - I think because the comment was so out of left-field and seemed like a bit of a ploy to make the central policeman less fuzzy, more hard edged or something. But then again, is it a political statement subtly introduced by an author trying to push something down my throat... either way I'm well put out and well put off about now.

Go on, have a whinge, what's put you off recently?

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The old standby - suffering or death of dogs, cats, horses, etc. I just finished Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club. On the whole it grabbed me - she's one of my favorite writers - but I was distressed at the end when the plot demanded killing two Dobermans. True, they were nasty dogs, and the plot required offing them, but I still didn't like it. Especially when she described one of the dead dogs as lying there with its tongue lolling out, which brought back the scene at the vet when I had to have Rishi, my beloved Shepherd mix, euthanized. He lives on in my novel Mood Swing, though.

Warning - Gerritsen's book has a lot of blood, torture and gruesomeness, so beware if you're squeamish.
I've only read one book (Asa Larsson's Sun Storm) in which an animal is killed and I was somewhat startled that I actually finished the book - it was cruel, it was awful, but what it did do was highlight the main two characters reactions / self absorption. Awful trick, but it worked unbelievably well.

(I've got two German Shepherds - they are the most magnificently daft dogs aren't they :) )

But then I've also got one (soon to be two) Australian Terriers so there is a school of thought that says I'm insane!
I'm with you on the killing of dogs, but for another reason. It's very popular to have the villain kill the household pet in order to imply just how evil he/she really is. I'm sure at first it seemed original, but no longer.
Short chapters with 'cliff-hanger endings!'

Only it's the same bloody cliff-hanger eight times in a row. The chapters are too short to actually build up any real tension, so we get the same crap trolled out time and time again.

Oh, and if you don't like serial killers, dead dogs, torture, or people being nasty to kiddies, you should seriously avoid my books.

I recently read a mystery where the main character received little sympathy from me because she was too good to be true, as was her husband, as was their marriage. Madly in love with one another, incredibly good-looking, athletic, positive happy personalities, etc. They have tons of money, a great house, lots of wonderful wealthy, intelligent, and resourceful friends and relations, plus each of them owns their own highly successful business..and they are only 25 and 29 years old!!! Too much for me to find believeable. Especially since the 25-yr-old woman's best friend is in her eighties and is a well-known mystery writer. Anyone else ready to gag, yet?
We may need a larger bucket in which to gag - I'm with you - that sort of perfection just makes me want to put arsenic in somebody's tea..... :)
When mysteries are written from a first person POV or limited third POV and then, then, suddenly, there's a short chapter from the perspective of the novel's serial killer/mass murderer/all-around bad guy.

Why do we as readers need to be inside the psycho's head for a few chapters. Rarely do these chapters, to me, add to the plot or help me figure out what's going on. They are just distracting.
Yep, I agree with you on that one as well.
Me three, it's nice to have to do the work ourselves in figuring out what makes the psycho tick.
What puts me off is when the writer's page/word-count meter has gone off and they wrap everything up with what I like to call the Miami Vice Ending. Protagonist has antagonist cornered, but they used to be friends/lovers/related/co-joined twins. Protagonist can't bring himself/herself to kill the bad-friend-lover blah blah blah. Antagonist suddenly reveals the motive for their downward spiral, absolves protag of all guilt and politly shoots themselves, putting us all out of their misery. I hate when that happens.
The love-lives of the detectives annoys me in most novels - for instance, I so deeply don't *care* how Inspector Banks (Peter Robinson) feels about the various policewomen/flame-haired profilers etc he comes across - but, as I am consitently inconsistent, I first developed a taste for crime fiction in my teens when I read as many Perry Masons as I could find to discover when her EVER got off with Della Street. [For anyone interested, the earlier ones, written in the 30's and 40's, are much better for that].

Neither do I care to read about the detectives taste in music, particularly folk or jazz. I might like it if I found one with my own taste, i.e. metal and heavy rock. Inspector Morse is an honourable exception. And, of course, my own detective's taste in music WILL feature in my novel........ !!
Funny, I was just thinking about detectives and music today. Normally the musical details sail over my head - but reading the Phil Rickman/Merrily Watkins series inspired me to check out Nick Drake, a great discovery, but I'm guessing not quite your cup of tea :)

Unfeasibly beautiful romantic interests also irritate me.


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