You Know The Crime Fic Review You’re Reading’s In Trouble When…

Body Parts, Eyes, Scrunched

There were a few times if I could’ve willed myself to love the crime fiction novel I was reading and had planned to review, I would’ve. Especially when the particular story is being raved about on every blog I encounter. And yet, and yet…I couldn’t over look certain things. So, where is a fairy godmother with a magic wand when I need one to give me a police procedure lobotomy?

I tell myself it’s a matter of personal preference. I just have to get with the program and force myself to believe something like…the rookie detective’s high school sweetheart (who just happened to come back to town) could play Nancy Drew and best an entire police department, running through crime scenes in her Prada stilettos, and solve the crime in between manicure appointments. Yeah, I tell myself, that could really happen…or something similar.

Is it remotely possible it ain’t me? Or, you know the book’s a bomb (not da bomb) when…

  • Your amateur sleuth is so kindly and good she refuses to suspect anyone at any time.
  • Yes, real life crime scenes are very busy places…and your author has seen fit to name and describe every single member of law enforcement personnel who could possibly be present all in the first chapter. In addition they all have similar names. There’s Detectives John Slater and Jim Gardner. Then there are police officers Ruby Jones (male) and Randy Generette (female). So, by the time you get to news reporter Lance Porter and medical examiner Porter Lane you’re totally confused.
  • By the end of the first chapter, you know the ending. You do plod on only to discover you were right. You found every clue, knew the red herrings were shams, were able to predict the plot straight through to the end. Great, just great.
  • The sleuth turns out to be Superman’s cousin. He/she has no set backs, no worries, no trials that can’t be handled in an instant.
  • The story globe trots to places and locales you absolutely know that you know the author knows nothing about.
  • You’re just beginning to realize the villain isn’t supposed to be over the top or campy.

16 thoughts on “You Know The Crime Fic Review You’re Reading’s In Trouble When…

  1. I read one where a reporter’s DNA was found at the crime scene. The detective actually went in and told the chief that he’d been in a tussle with the reporter and must’ve contaminated the scene. They NEVER even interviewed the reporter. Guess who the killer was? Yep – the reporter. SMH.

    Now, I just hope my crit partners will call me on huge mis-steps 🙂


    1. Marcy, Don’t you just love it when that happens? NOT!

      Yeah, I’m with you. I hope and pray and encourage my crit partners to catch any stupidity on my part when I write.


    1. All “book descriptions” are a compellation of actual books I’ve read. In fact, thinking about it I was surprised to discover I’ve read a number of novels that qualify. Characters names have been changed to protect the innocent or the guilty as the case may be.


  2. Nike, these kinds of posts strike fear into a mystery writer’s heart — and that’s a good thing. Thanks. I’ve seen authors go too far the other way, and make the crime, the clues, the red herrings, etc., so complex and subtle that when the killer is finally revealed, I’ve given up on solving the mystery, and I don’t care anymore! So I guess the key is striking the right balance. Or maybe I’m not a typical reader.


    1. Dave, I agree with you on both points. I think readers do have their own tastes and will find the mystery writers they like…and that’s a good thing. We don’t all write the same type of story. And I also agree that a balance has to be struck by the writer between revealing too much and too little.


      1. Thanks, Nike. This hits home for me because I’m coming out with my first historical mystery in November through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas — Sherlock Homes’ brother and Dr. Watson’s son in Jazz-Age Philadelphia — entitled “The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy.”


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