Murder Mystery Novels: Meeting your needs?


murder mystery crime fiction june lorraine roberts


Reading, reading, reading


Yet I haven’t posted a crime fiction book for you to dive into. The reason simply put, is what I have read to date just hasn’t made the cut, hit the mark or any other cliché you can think of for an answer.



The books haven’t all been by debut authors some have been by established, best seller authors who were new to me.

Overall they were disappointing:

  • Characters with little depth
  • Storyline that lacked imagination
  • Endings that ran out of steam


Sometimes it was just a matter of them not having the grit and stickiness that I like. A certain twist of phrase that your mind goes back to after you’ve turned the page. The kind of prose that lingers on the palate like a beautifully aged cheese or snaps your eardrum like a firecracker.


There was a time when I would always finish a book and never set it aside. No longer. I give a story a good chance, a really good effort before I close it and move on. I owe it to the author and to myself. Some books are slow to start but they must develop like a negative in a chemical bath and turn into something you can’t wait to see.


Back to reading, reading, reading.


How long do you give your murder mystery books? Do you finish a crime novel even if it’s not meeting your needs as a reader?



24 responses to “Murder Mystery Novels: Meeting your needs?”

  1. I have finished all the books I’ve read recently – but there have been a couple I haven’t reviewed as I actually feel really bad if I write a bad review! (Especially as, with Twitter, there’s a chance the author may see it!) I always feel that I should respect the work someone’s put into something…so if I can’t say something nice, I tend to say nothing!

    • I understand completely. If I don’t enjoy a book I don’t review it as my site is about books I recommend. There are many sites that provide fair and honest reviews regardless of liking a book or not and I respect that.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Diana, that should be a challenge to you. Keep the character, but change the story enough to make it fresh.
    Mozart, Handel, Haydn, all those guys did the same thing. Classic form forbade diversions, but they managed to keep sonata form and the symphony alive. You can do it, girl!

    June, I just finished my Lee Child book, the first Reacher book. I enjoyed it so much because he dared to deviate from all of that which we are berating here. I shall endeavor to read more of his to see what comes next.

    And the Myron Bolitar series is all I have complained about, but hey, I’ve read all of them. They are a formula, but at least he makes it fun. He also demonstrates a love for his parents by the way Myron talks about his folks. Good stuff.

    We are, after all, human (although at times my wife might question that about me….)

  3. I love surprise endings and am constantly disappointed by most thrillers and mystery novels. In my first, the final question to be answered is done so in the last line of the book. Unfortunately, by that time, I think so much has passed that most people forget that the mystery of which James is Ally’s father has not been answered so it goes right over the reader’s head 🙁

    • That’s an interesting point Diana. So is the answer then to salt the story line along the way with tiny reminders, or would that just weigh things down? So much to think of when crafting a book.

      • I agree with everyone about traditional plots – James Patterson, Harlan Coben and all the romance books being strong cases in point. I know that Harlequin M & B have a strict formula to which writers have to adhere or they con’t be published. It’s a smart writer who can put a new spin on that! Someone once said there are only seven basic plots and everything else is a variation on that, but I can’t remember who or when.Perhaps someone who could only think of seven! I’m flat trying to think of one at a time lol

        Obviously reader’s expectations play the most part in authors thinking – we all want to sell our books – but did the expectations start way back with Woman in White by Wilkie Collins? Hope I got that title right, I know I have it on my bookshelves but as there’s almost a 1000 tomes in them I can’t be sure.

        Then there is the argument that sometimes authors can hang on to a main character for far too long – read the reviews Janet Evanovich is getting for Stephanie Plum (up to 19 or 20 books now) and even Lee Childs is getting a few low scores for that gorgeous Jack Reacher (sigh). Harlan Coben was most annoyed on a chat I was participating in with a reading group a few years ago when the most innocuous of us all, asked the timid question – “Are you ever worried that your plots are too much alike?” The gentleman huffed off chat there and then! Too close to the bone? I don’t know, but his books sell like the proverbial hotcakes and he’s sold them for movies so who is he to worry?

        I am about to write my fourth Susan Prescott novel, and I am concerned that maybe people have had enough of her. Some have said no, they haven’t, so we’ll see. I do understand how writers feel when they have a character they like and don’t want to “kill” them off.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to turn this into a blog of my own, I just got carried away. Sorry June.

        I would love to hear other people’s take on this.

        PS: Yes the answer would be to remind the reader along the way of each little mystery without spilling the beans 🙂

      • Don’t you dare say sorry Diana 🙂 talking about books, plot, characters etc. is what this site is all about. Carry it on over to your own blog and let us know about the feedback.

        Interesting about Lee Child, I guess we all have our trigger points and on that day, at that time someone hit his.

  4. I hate it when by page 5 the good guy is in trouble with the chief, commissioner, captain, or whoever, and it’s because of some inane thing he didn’t do. Of course, he’s within one mishap of being thrown out of the department, bureau, service, or wherever he’s been for too long.

    That and at the end when all action ceases and one guy explains the rest of it, or what hasn’t been said which is why you’re confused by the book, .. you know… grrr

    • Yes to disliking both of those. To your first point it’s as if the author realized they have to create tension so they Insert Tense Scenario B. And to your second point that meets one of the requirements of the running out of steam endings.

      Thanks for weighing in.

      • One writer I have decided not to read further always has a “surprise” ending. It’s always some inane solution to the hero’s situation. In the throes of defeat, a henchman for the bad guy handed the doomed hero a weapon–he was secretly a good guy. C’mon here… ya know?

    • That seems to be the way most novels depict the hero. I do wish he could just be a straightforward, ordinary man doing the best he can – because that is what most of them are in life. I think the scenario you describe has been done to death!

      • Agreed. But let me put a question to you. I write, but I write music. I have several works that are highly original, and I also have what I call “formula” pieces that follow a strict form. Those sell 5 times better than the original ones. Are we talking about the same reasoning here with books? I mean, do people want things to be a certain way? I like to try to outfox the author (but don’t do it that often) and figure out whodunit on my own. So my real question is: do readers like to feel smarter than the writer? If the “done to death” stuff sells, where does that leave us who like to have to figure stuff out?

      • There is no doubt formulaic books sell I just have to name one author: James Patterson and many of you could continue the list from there.

        I usually classify these as beach books. Fun, quick reads that doesn’t require much thinking on the readers part. They also serve as a good break when you’ve been reading some weighty material and need a break.

        All in all they have a place in the reader’s bookshelf.

  5. I am very impatient. If a book doesn’t grab me from the go (10 pages or so) I’m out. There’s too much to read out there. I too have picked up crime novels that just didn’t grab my attention and I put them aside. But having said that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good. Others may like it a lot. 🙂

    • Yes that’s the thing Carol we can’t judge for others. We can recommend and hope they are caught in enjoyment as we are but it doesn’t always turn out that way.

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  6. Just watched a film noir based on a Patricia Highsmith novel called The Two Faces of January. Good suspense film a la The Talented Mr Ripley. You night like it!

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