If you write or read any sort of a mystery, detective novel, everyone knows and expects a misdirect or three, but there are rules. Or should be. An easy way to irritate a reader is to put in a pointless red herring .

I have already written some about a recent series I found. The writing it good, mostly, the plot is well thought out and although, I personally do not like to know the bad guy’s POV, I can tolerate it or skip past it. In my opinion, the story should hold water without the bag guy’s POV, if not, the writer needs to learn some more writing skills. That said, there are a few things in this series I do not like and the addition in the latest book is the pointless red herring.

Yes, a red herring is a misdirect. The author nudges the reader into believing someone other than the murderer/bad guy is in fact the murderer, but there is a way to do this and a way not. In my opinion. Remember, everything is subjective.  In the latest book I listened to the red herring is a disembodied voice supposedly of the murderer. It has been done before and worked; however, in this book, at just past midpoint, the author adds several sections of what I initially thought were the same disembodied voice, only in the end it is not and the identity is never revealed. Its purpose is obvious, lead me to believe that the bad guy is of a specific gender.

In truth, I feel cheated.

Like in a murder mystery where you meet this random guy on the street who you never think about again and the author steers you toward one or two other possibilities and at the end of the book, its revealed it was the random guy mentioned once near the beginning of the book. Or it could be an on the fringe character who serves coffee every so often, but never gives any hint at all he is the guy. It is a cop out. It’s a writer still learning the craft and it leaves the reader feeling cheated.

One of the reasons I have continued to read this series is the author is a good writer and except for the occasional OMG really parts, I enjoy the books. The other reason, a great way to learn the craft is by reading good and bad books. Learn what works, learn what does not, learn what I like. And for me, to have something to obsess about to my writerly friends and blog readers. LOL

What are your pet peeves when you read a book? What will stop you from reading? (So I don’t make those mistakes.)