I guess I am. Just put down a book after 70 pages or so, and I'd say it suffers from the sophomore jinx. The author's first book won a prize, so I assume it was good. Maybe I should find it and read it, because #2 was just plain dull.

Does winning a prize work against an author, maybe? This book was so self-consciously pretentious and cloyingly historical that the story was buried in quaint characters and city descriptions. I imagined the author thinking, "They said my attention to detail was good, so I'll put in even more," or "I won a prize, so I have to sound erudite and scholarly." C'mon, sweetie. It's a mystery! Just write the damned thing!

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Comment by I. J. Parker on June 24, 2009 at 1:59am
Ah, yes. That happened with a Tudor series for me. The first wasn't an award-winner, but very good nevertheless. I found the second unreadable. The third was much better than the second, but it got caught in an ingenious serial killer plot based on the Bible that forced the author to plod forward until all six or seven victims had been dispatched in the manner predicted. It made the detective look incompetent because the killer's promised scenario played out. This sort of thing is game play as much as the traditional mystery's guessing games and red herrings. It's artificial.
Comment by Dana King on June 24, 2009 at 12:13am
Two reasons come to mind. One was brought up by Peg and IJ: the author thinks "If this was successful before, even more of it should be even more successful." This does not bode well for the author's continued success.

The other reason that comes to mind is that authors often do not have as much time to write their second book. if they labored for three years to get Book 1 just how they want it, and are rewarded with a two book contract, Book 2 has a substantially quicker turnaround. This is, i expect, a skill of its own that may have to be learned. For me, if Book 1 was good and Book 2 seems to suffer from the latter of these two issues, I'll give Book 3 a shot.
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 23, 2009 at 11:45pm
Sounds familiar. The one I'm thinking of continued the "praiseworthy" detail but pretty much recycled the plot (and the characters) with different names.

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