Duncan Fitzgerald confesses that he doesn't read Tom Clancy any more. Says he
I got about 2/3 of the way through The Sum of All Fears. It was at that point I realized Clancy was just another poser in the mold of Zane Grey and Danielle Steele. A sell-out. A fake, a fraud, a user of template-based-MadLib-fill-in-the-blanks-book-writing.
I haven't read John Grisham in years, either. Once you come to the realization that all Darby Shaw had to do was tell someone else about the "Pelican Brief", it becomes hard to take his plots seriously. Then there's Patricia Cornwell, whose first couple of books were outstanding. Unfortunately, her plots got more contrived and her characters got less interesting. I vowed to quit after reading Cause of Death, easily my all-time candidate for Book By A Big-Name Author In Greatest Need Of An Editor, but I came across a used copy of the first book in her other series, Hornet's Nest, and gave it a try. Wrong!
I think all three of these authors started out doing good books (Clancy's Red October, Grisham's The Firm, Cornwell's Postmortem, which is still the gold standard for medical examiner thrillers). I don't know if they simply ran out of original ideas, or if their success meant that no one was able to tell them that they had turned into hacks. Take my advice, people - go read Michael Connelly, Jill McGown, Robert Crais, Jan Burke, Harlan Coben, Peter Robinson, Rick Riordan, John Sandford, Aaron Elkins, Kathy Reichs, or Elizabeth George. You can thank me later.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 28, 2002 to Books | TrackBack