I’m 95% Sure I’ll Read This Author Again…

Hmmm… What to do?

I just finished a Christmas Cozy Mystery by an author whose book I absolutely loved 95% of the time. How can that be, Danna, 95% of the time? That doesn’t even make sense.

Well, actually it does.

As I have written about before, I love reading Holiday Cozy Mysteries set in their corresponding holidays. Since it’s currently the Christmas season, that’s what I have been reading.

I just finished a new-to-me Cozy Mystery author and was absolutely loving my book. Everything in the book (the author’s fluid writing style, her characters, the lovely snow-covered setting, the small town, and the mystery) made me think this author was destined to become one of my personal favorite authors. (I make that sound like a great, big honor, don’t I?) Aha, this is an author who I will be recommending at the end of the month, I thought. This is an author who I absolutely have got to share with all the Cozy Mystery  site’s readers.

Those were my thoughts, until I got to about the second to the last chapter in the book. Doggone it, I thought. NOT AGAIN!!!

It is at this point in the mystery that everything got jumbled-up and sped up to just about ninety miles an hour. What was going on? What happened to the author’s writing style that I had (just about) committed to reading through the next books in her series?

I’ll tell you what happened! Apparently she ran out of paper, anyway that’s what I think happened. The author simply started throwing details at me, literally going so fast that I thought I might have to take notes.

She had (perhaps) made her word quota, and decided that she had to wrap the mystery up, using one of Hercule Poirot’s techniques. Get all (and by that I mean ALL) the characters together for a party and have the sleuth explain all sorts of new clues to the other characters (and reader) so that the mystery could be solved. It works when Poirot does it, but that’s because the reader has had access to the clues throughout the book. Unfortunately, it’s doesn’t work for the reader when the author just decides to start making up clues >>> anyway not for this reader!

So, at this time, I want to ask you all, have you ever read an author (without naming any specific names) who rushes the conclusion of the mystery so much so that the clues are simply made up in the last few chapters? Have you ever read a Cozy Mystery book that you are enjoying a whole lot until you get to the rushed conclusion?

If so, please post a comment, and again, please don’t name specific authors when being negative.

Comments

  1. Danna,

    I have said this plenty of times. It drives me crazy, and I end up saying, “HUH, what just happened?” I like your ‘running out of ink’ theory. I’ve commented, ‘the author was allotted so many pages, and when she/he gets close to the allotment, they hurriedly finished the book’!

    Sometimes an author gets bogged down in minutia (pertinent detail is fine, minutia can be excruciating) throughout the story, then hurries the ending with no creative (which is key) approach to it. I think we all like and expect a well paced story from beginning to end. If an author can’t deliver that, then perhaps they should consider another career. AND, where are the editors? Shouldn’t they recognize this problem and advise the author?

    Recently, this same scenario happened with the latest release of a book written by a very popular (oft recommended) author at this blog site. However, this author has written numerous books, all (except the latest) of which I’ve enjoyed. SO, I’ll give her this one!! For a variety of reasons (if I explained, you’d figure it out), I think she took her eye off the ball.

    Perhaps if we all took the time to email the author and let them know we didn’t like the ‘quick fire ending approach’ to their story, they might rethink how they finish a book. It would be constructive criticism, perhaps helping the author recognize the need to develop some logic and creativity in the final chapter or two.

    I had another problem with a book I was reading yesterday. BUT it’s my problem, not the author’s. There are several books in this series and I’ve read them all. However, in this story someone (adult) is kidnapped on page 75 or so. I just couldn’t concentrate on the story after that. I felt so much ‘angst’ by this kidnapping that I skipped over 125 pages to make sure the kidnap victim escaped (which he/she did). I then continued from there to finish the murder mystery part of the story (about another 90 pages). When I was finished, I didn’t bother to go back to read the ‘missed’ pages. Ironically, I got the whole ‘gist’ of the story, without the middle part. I won’t be able to recommend this book at the end of the month, because I have no idea what went on in all those pages. However, when you skip 125 pages you certainly finish a book quickly!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      MJ, I hadn’t thought about the editors, but now that you mentioned them, I’m mad at them also!

      I always give my established favorite authors at least one chance to redeem themselves, but when the author is new-to-me, I’m just not sure whether I should continue with her. I REALLY enjoyed the rest of the book.

      Let us know if you are going to continue reading the author of the “kidnapped” mystery. Not reading 125 pages and still getting the whole gist of the plot makes me wonder just how much fluffy padding the author had going there!

      • It’s unlikely I’ll go back and read the missed pages, since I know the outcome of the mystery. In all fairness to the author, I don’t think she filled the pages with fluff. I missed clues along the way, but (in this case) that was all right with me.

        Authors sometimes tie in an ‘informative’ sub story to their books. When I read the acknowledgements (which I always do) at the end of this book, I realized this is what she did. For example an author through a character might develop a story about spousal abuse. She/he might go into detail about signs to watch out for, etc. over several chapters. This author did just that (not about spousal abuse, though). Normally, I find these side topics interesting/educational, especially if I know nothing about it. I glanced at the ‘other story’ and thought it might have been interesting, but by this time, I was done with the book!

        By the way, since we’re talking about ‘endings’, the last few chapters of this book are very measured with several twists and turns and even surprises…..but NO rushed ending!

        • Danna - cozy mystery list :

          MJ, I’m exactly the opposite of you, when it comes to educational side-stories. I know that a lot of authors want to inform, but when I read a Cozy Mystery, I want just that, a Cozy Mystery, and not a tutorial. If I want information, I know where I can find it.

          (I’m going to write this down as a future entry topic. It might be interesting to see how others – beside you and me – feel about the side-story in a Cozy Mystery.)

  2. How very strange. Luckily, I’ve never experienced this but I do remember being told over and over in school, “You can’t just finish a paper any old way, no matter how sick you are of it.” Sounds like the author must have run out of time, or space or inspiration or something. It should never have been published like that. Sounds like it needed to be rewritten but for some reason, it was not edited. Do you suppose some one else, like a ghost writer, finished it? I just cannot imagine an author going to all the trouble and then doing a slap dash ending without extraordinary circumstances. You say this has happened to you before?!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Yes, Marion, I have gotten to the end of other mysteries when I felt the author rushed through the conclusion so that she could send her manuscript to her publisher.

      This time I found it extremely odd. Throughout the mystery, my sleuth and her side-kick had been doing all of the investigating: going to places and interviewing people, finding clues, etc. Then in the last two chapters, the author simply started having the sleuth give us clues that we had not been privy to before.

      I have thought about this book quite a bit during the last few days. I kept asking myself if I should continue with the author. I was pretty convinced that I would not, but last night I found myself buying the next Kindle book in her series. That’s how much I had been enjoying the book. I wish the author had pulled this stunt during my 50-page rule, but since I had invested so much time into the book, and since I enjoyed everything else about the book, I have (apparently, since I bought the next Kindle) decided to give the author another try. I hope I enjoy her next book so much that I will recommend her in the future. I surely thought I would be doing that this month.

  3. Oh, yes, I did, more than once. In my experience it’s often a later book in a series when the author is confident with the success and begins to get sloppy; incorporating more researched facts in the book than need be and then rushing towards the end, forgetting the clues haven’t really been mentioned before, if at all. I can forgive this if it happens once. Everyone can have a bad day, although this should have been edited out but then I often wonder when editors actually do! If the next book is the same, then out goes the series.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Deahna, it sounds like it’s not that uncommon for an author to get to the end of the book and then just “get sloppy” about the conclusion. You’re right, I will definitely not give this author a third try.

  4. Danna,
    I have read a couple of books by authors that I can’t even remember their names that I left like that when I got to within a few final chapters. I was enjoying the book and then bam, it ended. I felt like “what just happened here”? So I definitely can relate to how you feel about this one.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Diana, if I hadn’t liked (really liked) all the author had been doing right before the last two chapters, I’m sure I would have left her. I will definitely use my “50-page rule” to her next book. If anything “odd” happens with her writing style, the characters, or any of the other things I was so enjoying, I will drop her. Unfortunately, until then, she was the most liked new-to-me author who I have tried recently. (Hope that makes sense…)

  5. Honesty — usually all of us are so polite! Your reflections are often the case – but the safety, comfort, warmth, humanity, happy endings are what many of us will read a cozy mystery for. Yes, disappointing at times, I agree, though.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Jackie C, it is disappointing at times, at least the actual conclusion to the mystery was good, even though it was very jumbled-up.

  6. Like so many of you this has happened to me as well as reading a cozy that is so silly I want to toss it. However, I’m compelled to finish a bad book anyway! Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the money and time. My husband tells me to forget it and start a new book as there are so many to read why waste time reading something I don’t enjoy…The mysteries of life. LOL!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Oh, Cyn, that is a mystery of life! Even though I pay for the books I read, I stick to my “50-page rule” >>> If the author doesn’t give me a mystery book worth my time (and money!) then I simply stop and annotate “*****YUCK” next to his/her name. End of story! I find that I spend a lot less time reading now than I used to, which might contribute to my attitude.

  7. This has happened to me also. I am enjoying the book-the story and the pacing. I get to the end and the speed of the story accelerates and wham bam everything is tied up in a bow and is over with. It disappoints me and I feel somehow cheated. To me it doesn’t show much respect for the reader. I can almost see the author rubbing his/her hands together and saying “Well, I got that over with.”

    I do know most mysteries do accelerate at the end but this warp speed wrap up is different.

    I, also, think the author must have reached the number of pages needed. The trouble is this has happened more than once but I can’t remember now who the authors or series are so I can be forewarned if I read another in the series.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Oh my gosh, Lynn T, now I can see that author rubbing his/her hands while gleefully seeing $$$!

      Lynn T, I just keep adding “*****YUCK” to my list of authors, that way I won’t forget. I have been known to read a book who was on my “*****YUCK” list because I didn’t check, which is nobody else’s fault but my own!

  8. I had this happen with the book I finished just yesterday. The author didn’t suddenly reveal any new clues, and I thought I had figured out the culprit so nothing was lost in the mystery. But the entire book had taken place, leisurely, over the course of about a week and a half, and then suddenly things sped up. Within a page it was four days later and the great reveal party was planned and happening. It caught me by surprise! I had been raving about the book thus far to a friend and just knew it was going to be a new favorite series for me – even going so far as to order the second book. I will definitely continue with it – I loved the characters and the time period and setting. But it did have me worried because reviews for the last book that had been published in the series noted the writing had gone downhill. So I am hoping that it isn’t a gradual progression with the writing and the final one’s just a clunker. But that “hurry up and finish” ending did make me wonder, if I’m honest.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Joshua, everything you said in this comment made me think you must have just read the very same book that I finished UNTIL you added that bit about the reviews for the author’s last book. (I actually went to Amazon and checked to see what people said about my author’s last book!)

      Here’s hoping that we both have better luck with our authors’ next mysteries!

  9. I haven’t read any Patricia Cornwell books for years, (she’s not exactly cozy anyway and downright wierd last I read) but her endings used to come up really fast, and I was always left dazed and wondering what I missed.

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