Monday, May 14, 2012

Did you ever have to pull the plug on a book?

Howdy, all. Dana Mentink here, writer of Love Inspired Suspense. I really enjoy reading mystery and suspense (as you could ascertain by the giant pile of books next to my bed.)I read both general market and Christian fiction so the stories run the gambit. At times, I find that I need to stop reading a book because the content is too violent or the subject too creepy. No matter how riveting, there are some stories where I need to stop if the images become gory. Also, if there is brutality towards children I generally can't stick with it unless there is some redeeming message or greater purpose. Perhaps I'm becoming a marshmallow in my old age but I find that there's that fine line between suspenseful and gratuitous. What do you think, dear readers/bloggers? Am I alone in this?

17 comments:

Sandra Orchard said...

I'm with you Dana. That's why I enjoy LIS.

OLUFISAYO ALABI said...

With you too. Details in a book and even the plot shouldn't be to the extreme. It should be balanced. There was this book I got sometime (can't remember whether I bought it or was given) about a princess that bathed in people's blood. I started about 3 times but just couldn't read it.

But LIS? Let's go there!!!

Erotica, She Wrote said...

Hi there,

I normally don't like pulling the plug because I'd like to think that at some point it'll 'grab' me. However, I recently DID with a murder mystery/suspense book from a well known author (shall remain anonymous).

Now, you may think that since I write Erotica that I may not be in touch with the murder mystery/suspense genre, but I am. My favorite author happens to be Patrica Cornwell and I have read many of her earlier books. I have also read books by Michael Connelly and James Patteson.

I hope to work my way to romance/suspense in the next couple of years :)

Thank you for sharing!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi She Wrote! Thanks for stopping by the Craftie Ladies' blog today.

Mainstream suspense stories seem to be getting darker and darker. I don't think my likes and dislikes have changed, but some stories are just too dark for me. Often, it seems that authors keep pushing the envelope with suspense and eventually get to a place where I'm no longer interested in reading the darkness they've created.

Dana love your pic. It's new, isn't it?

Dana Mentink said...

I wonder if it's the influence of television which seems to go for the most graphic material it can get away with. I think maybe we've lost touch with storytellers who have that amazing ability to create suspense without gore. I'm thinking about how duMaurier accomplished that with Rebecca.

Debby Giusti said...

I think the shock factor plays into it. A good story doesn't have to shock. Rather, it needs to entertain, uplift, perhaps teach a universal truth, IMHO.

I loved Rebecca. Need to dust off my copy and reread the story. :)

Merrillee said...

I haven't read anything that I had to pull the plug on because of graphic content. I may have pulled the plug because the book didn't hold my interest. My reading time is limited, so if the story doesn't engage me, I set it aside and find something else to read.

Leann said...

I love romantic suspense, but in the last couple of years it's gone so dark that I quit reading it and have gone back to read some of the books I saved.

PamelaTracy said...

Once I had my son, who's seven now, I found I couldn't read books where children were in danger. I couldn't read The SHACK, but that might have been because I found it unbelievably slow, and I couldn't watch CSI if there was a child involved. I'd rather have characterization and suspense than non-stop action and gore.
Maybe I'm a split personality, though, because right now I'm reading Rachel Caine and ther's plenty of gore.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Two things that will make me stop reading a book: the kidnapping and torture of a child or woman AND a poorly written book. I've learned to jump over sex scenes and ignore most language. If there are a lot of words I don't use, I stop because I believe the writter is lazy and uses those words to cover up lack of talent.

Christine Johnson said...

Me too, Dana! Everything you listed can make me pull the plug. So can animals in danger or hurt. One very suspenseful mystery had me riveted until the bad guys killed the dogs. I closed the cover and never went back.

Dana Mentink said...

One thing I learned early on in this business..NEVER kill an animal!

PamelaTracy said...

Jane,
Good to see you here!

Ausjenny said...

Dana, I haven't done this with suspense. (well one but I stopped it cos it was so weird in the first chapter I didn't want to read more). I dont read heavy suspense. But I have done this with other books. I was reading a book set in the civil war that was full of a word that in Australia is considered bad. I just couldn't read it when this character was using it every few words. I got laughed at by an American when I said what the word was as its fine there.

Lyn Cote said...

I'm with you, Deb. I especially can't take stories where children are hurt. A friend of mine read a best-selling author she loved until a book dealt with child molestation. That stopped her. Life is bad enough without filling my mind with ugly incidents and people I wouldn't let into my house!

~sharyn said...

I don't have a problem pulling the plug on reading a book. Life's too short and there are so many other books I could read instead.

Most of the time I stop reading because of poor writing but, occasionally, it's because of content.

For instance, I used to have a favorite Christian romantic suspense author and would read everything she published ... until one of her books put me IN the mind of a 13-year-old girl as she was murdered. I couldn't finish it. Tried one more of her novels and it was just as dark and depressing so I don't read that particular writer's work at all anymore.

Fortunately, for every author you "quit" there are many new writers to take their place.

Ronda said...

I will not read books that have kids being abused or swearings or sex scenes or great bloody detail of stuff. The first book I read of one very popular Inspirational author's was about this poor little girl who was so terribly abused and it was so awful I have never Read another of her books. Enough of that stuff happens in the real world. I read books to get AWAY from the real world! :)