Somehow, I needed to be over 50 before I realized life was short. I can now pass on a book I've begun reading if it doesn't grab me. Before, I'd slog through the entire thing, probably turning into a major grump to everyone around me. Now, life is better when I can agree to allow myself a DNF when necessary. (Did Not Finish.)
Beyond writing and plot, there isn't a lot that will make me close the covers of a book. If the facts presented cause me to stretch my believability a bit, I can usually remind myself that this is fiction. As long as the story and characters are believable and intriguing, I can let a little tampering with facts slide.
But many readers can't. Or at least, think they shouldn't.
Recently, I read a very well written debut novel I agreed to review for Armchair Interviews. Dream House was a challenge to pigeon-hole to a genre—definitely not suspense, or mystery, or even crime (though a crime was committed). It was a book much more general in scope. I recommended it personally to a friend of mine who I know appreciates more general, even literary, fiction.
Was she expecting suspense since that's my usual fare? Maybe. To be truthful, I was too. So maybe, when in the very beginning, she had trouble with the way the crime scene is handled by the police and cleanup crew (believe me, this has very little to do with the story) she stopped reading. Period. And I think she missed out on a book she would have otherwise loved.
Whose loss was it?
Research is important. As a writer, I want to do my best to make sure a little thing like a bungled not-that-important scene to the story doesn't stop a reader cold. I even wrote about it here. But as a reader, who is looking for a compelling story, I can forgive the occasional flub.
"I'm always looking for the author who can lift me out of myself."
CR: In For the Kill by John Lutz.
It's all better with friends.