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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
inkstainsclaire

As readers, what do you hate to see in crime novels?

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...whether it's an obvious twist, italics, a killer's point of view, clichéd characters, or my personal bugbear - policemen (pretty much always men) detailing the contents of their record collection?? 

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I dislike the overuse of either flashbacks or the '10 years before' the crime, that has just happened, chapters. Also because I have read a lot of thrillers, Is when every authour you read sets of, suddenly decides that their killer happens to have suffered the same 'childhood trauma.'

This happened with Quintin Jardine and Stuart Macbride, for me.

I recently read a book where the killer was able to approach victims quite easily and gosh,I wonder who could do that?

Edited by dex

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In both crime novels and books, I generally hate it when after the guilty is caught, he/she always gives in and tells his/her side of the story from A to B. They seldom refuse to admit to anything, which I imagine is more common in real life. Deny, deny, deny. But in novels and especially movies and crime tv-shows, the guilty always ends up saying exactly why and how the crime happened. 

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A petpeeve of mine is when the bad guys misdeeds are explained away because something bad happened to him when he was a kid and he is just misunderstood. And while yes I am sure that he is a very messed up individual, it doesn't make what he did ok. Nor take away the fact the he shroud have known that he was doing wrong. Ok small rant over :)

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A clumsily written dubious coincidence that enables the final clue to be solved, or leads to the bad guy (or girl)'s location or the like. Anything too random is just painful to read. If you're going to write a crime story be smart enough to have a strange coincidence free plot.

 

You only have to have the hero rummage through a file earlier on in the story for them to later remember seeing the plumbing receipt for the cabin in the woods. Or maybe remember seeing a photograph  that shows the perpetrator in a place they said they hadn't been, maybe even with the victim they denied knowing. Not super clever, but better than a random and inexplicable brainwave that suddenly and significantly takes the plot forward.

Edited by Chrissy

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Rule number one for me: Don't make it painfully obvious who the killer is, if you're writing a Whodunnit type crime novel. Other than that, I just want it to be interesting & believable - I'm very easy to please really!

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All good pet peeves for sure. My big no-no's are

1) Police officers who cry. It's a tough job and you see things that toughen you up or drive you out of the force. I prefer the Dirty Harry brand of cynicism and world weariness to the Ken Stott school of artful blubbing.

2) This may sound odd but violence and torture. I hate books that leave nothing to the imagination and even take delight in showing protracted scenes of torture and suffering. Violence is far more effective when discovered after the act and left to the imagination.

3) My most contentious no-no is sex. I wrote one sex scene in my first novel The Reaper. It was tasteful and short I hope and was at the end of the book. It seemed a natural catharsis to what had gone before but I haven't included one since and if I'm reading a thriller that contains sex it had better be natural and unforced or I'm likely to stop reading knowing the author is struggling for plot ideas.

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Ooops. Forgot one. 4) Comedy. Violence and death is not funny. You can have a bit of throwaway gallows humour from seasoned professionals but that's it. Besides, if the jokes aren't funny where are you? Turned off in my case.

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Oh, I have to agree with No 3. A badly written, unnecessary sex scene just puts me right off. The best example of that is the ending of "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown; notwithstanding that the hero has just fell 2 miles into a river with only a small tarpaulin to act as parachute, he still manages to jump straight into bed with the heroine!

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Definitely 3) and 4) for me there Mr Dunne!

 

3) I have felt embarrassed for many an author that thought to include sex in a scene, and then failed miserably so that you were left feeling a wee bit sad for them.

 

4) I adore Nathan Fillion. I cannot watch Castle though. I loathe it because the characters think it's ok to make joke after joke at a crime scene, often while they stand there looking at a murder victim. I get gallows humour, and truly do understand the notion of humour springing up at the most inopportune moments in life, but bad pun following snide quip following slapstick facial expression? Repeatedly? If the crimes were art forgeries, bank jobs or cat burglary where the victim lost something other than their lives I wouldn't mind, but murder? Big no-no.

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No. 2 and 3 for me definitely too, I don't like awkward sex scenes or too much violence at all. I don't mind it if a police officer shows some emotion, I think that makes them more human sometimes. Humour can be nice but only at the right place for it.

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Stereotypical characterisation,

for example Daniel Silva in whose Allon books you feel more and more that the Arabs are bad and the Israeli are good, and more and more the shade becomes less grey into more black and white. It made me stop reading him for quite a while.

 

A lack of development in serial characters by a writer or when it gets way too soapy.

 

Continuation writers that fail to give the character the magic that the original writer gave, even if they are bloody brilliant on their own merit, for example Jeffery Deaver & William Boyd with 007 or Lustbader with Jason Bourne. While Horowitz did a great job with Sherlock Holmes.

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For me it's trying to shoe horn in what the author thinks are clever plot twists but just make the plot appear ridiculous. The first book by Belinda Bauer is one that really sticks out at me for doing this. It's a scene on the moors when a character is shot and I just thought, really you expect me to believe this.

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