Fool Me Once: Authors, Don’t Do This To Your Readers

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I’ve been duped. Duped I tell ya, duped.

And I’m not happy about it. And you shouldn’t be either.

I picked up a book by an author because of a couple of positive reviews it received. “I’ll give it a shot,” I said. “I’m always looking for new reads, and I’m always happy to find new, or let’s just say, lesser-publicized authors to read.”

I got home with the thinner than expected book, which folks are now calling novels. These shorter length books used to be called novellas, maybe, but they’re nowhere near the number of words I associate with a novel. But that’s neither here nor there. A good story is a good story, no matter what you call it. And this was right up my alley, a “dark psychological thriller”, the jacket boasted. “You won’t believe the twisted ending”.

Yeah, I didn’t believe the ending all right. But not because of the dark psychological twist.

Oh no.

I didn’t believe the ending because I WAS DUPED. Duped by the author. And I was always taught that that’s a big no-no in a fiction book.

The beginning started out interesting, and then the characters started picking up steam in their own, quirky way.

Good deal, I thought.

The tension was slowly building, in a creepy sort of way. I’m invested at this point and reading on. About halfway through the book, a couple of things happened without explanation that would’ve raised questions from anyone following along. But they were never addressed, passed over as normal or coincidence, maybe. Then more, and more.

The ending came in fast and furious fashion, containing the aforementioned twist and unbelievable finale. It also, however, was narrated around some serious gear switching, an abrupt reversal of the previous storyline, and then, one simple explanation.

“What you’ve been reading is a story from a twisted mind that may have made up facts, encounters, and situations based on what they perceive as reality. Oh yeah, and this packet of papers that you just read, (meaning the book), was, in fact, his sick mind’s way of leaving a suicide note.”

What? WHAT? Are you freakin’ serious?

Twisted reality I can get behind but made up just to carry the story through? And “perceived” by the author?

This is akin to having a dream sequence erasing the validity of the whole previous storyline. An easy way out when you paint yourself into a corner: A way to bring back a favorite character after the outrage of killing them off.

C’mon man.

Fool me once, but I do still possess somewhat of a memory, and believe this fact. Next time I see that author’s name on an interesting looking cover, I will likely move on to another author’s work. And that’s not just a perceived reality.

Authors, don’t do that to your regular or future readers.

We deserve better.

 

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