As part of my resolution to read more books from different genres, I got a book out of the library based on an ad in the NYTimes Book Review section. The back cover quotes call the author "one of Britain's finest thriller writers."
While there is a mystery and some dead bodies, I'm just not feeling the thrill, or the suspense. I personally find the pace slow, and that's without a couple of major pace-killing distractions.
The characters all have nicknames, which means not only must I remember their real names, I have to remember their nicknames. Unfortunately, I'm not sitting down for a leisurely afternoon's read -- I read when I can grab some time during the day or evening. That means I keep forgetting what nickname applies to what character. That takes me out of the story. A lot.
The characters keep referring to each other by name during conversations, even if there are only two people involved. "So, what do you think, Sammy?" "I don't know, Davie." That feels false to me, so it, too, pulls me out of the story.
Then there's the setting. It's very, very English. The writer's English, so I shouldn't really be quibbling. It's just that with some writers, I know I'm in England without feeling like a fish out of water. The references are enough to give me a sense of place, but not so much I'm distracted by the differences. Sadly, not this time.
These things are cumulatively enough for me to give up.
There was one other thing that struck me about this book, and it had nothing to do with the text. There is absolutely no information about the author on the book jacket. No bio, no picture, nothing. No doubt I noticed this because a day doesn't go by that I don't worry I'm not doing enough PR, whether it's on the internet or elsewhere. Authors seem to be so pressured to promote themselves. But this guy? He doesn't even have a bio on the jacket, let alone a website. I confess part of me thinks, "Good for you!" Another part thinks, "I wonder what his background is?" So I googled him. Somebody did a Wikipedia entry for him, so I found out a few interesting things.
I'm still not going to finish the book, though. I have a pile of books by my bed, so it's on to the next one.