‘The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.’ Mickey Spillane
I listened to an audio mystery book today, while I pulled endless dandelions from my lawn. It started well; the author got the body on the floor in the first chapter. A group of teenagers out to smoke where their parents wouldn’t see found a dead guy in a well. I was interested in the characters, and didn’t mind that it also seemed to have a love interest.
As it went on, I was intriqued to note that the book seemed to be a Christian book too. I have defended Christian fiction more times than I can count to those who seem to find it inferior. I have heard more than one reader complain about Christian authors who artificially interrupt the story line to thump the Bible or who just can’t seem to make their characters anything but wooden goodie two shoes. This, I thought, was a book I would bring up to counter that argument.
Except I won’t, because the ending really ticked me off. The author failed to resolve the mystery. And then, seemed to be saying that God left some things to be mysterious.
I went quickly from being intrigued and interested to ready to throw the book (and my MP3 player along with it) at the wall.
Yes, some things in this world are never resolved. Believe me, I’ve got a list of things to ask the Good Lord, when I hit heaven. But most of us read fiction-okay, make that mysteries, for that logical ending. We need to find that resolution. We want the world of mystery, at least, to make sense.
I will never read this author, maybe even this publisher again.
Sometimes, you can bend the rules when you write. But to smash through them successfully, you’d better understand them first.
I’ve seen books where a child was killed ( a big no-no), where the perpetrator was never caught (but the reader and the hero knew who it was) where the hero was as big a jerk as the villain. They were all done well.
But to just end something and say, eh, well, sometimes you just don’t know, doesn’t strike me as true to life as much as it strikes me of an author who just quit writing.
And that just stinks.