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Aug. 21st, 2008

Book Bitching

I just finished reading Death du Jour, the second novel in the Tempe Brennan series by Kathy Reichs (the book series the tv show Bones is loosely--very loosely--based on). Now, I like the series, don't get me wrong. But Reichs uses one technique that really bothers me. She withholds information from the audience as her characters uncover it. It's frustrating and a cheap ploy to keep the readers reading. Also, it's the most obvious and amateur way to create mystery without employing any sort of talent or refined ability. I'm not saying the author should lay bare every single secret of the series/novel from page one. What I am saying, however, is that the author should reveal the mysteries to the audience as he/she reveals them to the characters. It's natural that way. Like my Creative Writing professor said, "If the author knows it, so should the reader."

I mean, even Laurell K. Hamilton doesn't do that. She skimps on characterization and plot, but she doesn't use the cheap-and-easy-mystery ploy (she instead occupies her readers with overdone smut and violence). In fact, of all the books I've read, I think Reichs' novels are the only ones that use that particular trick. I haven't read all the books in the world, obviously, but I have read quite a few books (though most are not what would be considered "classics" or having any real literary value).

While the plot-lines in Reichs' first two Tempe Brennan novels (those are the only ones I've read so far) are rich and well developed and the characterization is natural, she uses that nerve-grating cheap ploy that makes me wonder how the hell she ever got those novels published. And what the hell was her editor thinking when he/she let that past him/her?

Overall, I like what's been done with the tv series a whole lot more than the novels (so far, that is). Maybe they get better as time progresses.

(Also: Claudel > Ryan)