I’m ready to go stark raving mad when an author expects me to figure out in the first chapter who’s who and who’s important when there’s Harry from Parsipanny talking on the phone to Harvey from Pensacola and they both are short, fat bald guys. Grrr!!!
I like unique character names, not names that sound as if they’re from the top ten in this year’s baby naming book. Let’s hear it for Alexandra, Irene, Jaspyn, and Romy for the ladies. For the guys, how about Rafe, Vander, Zito, and Nemo. I also hate it when a character is described to be Italian and the cousin of a former crime boss and he’s stuck with a name like Jake Longes. There never was a Longes crime family and certainly not in Brooklyn.
Speaking of Brooklyn, if the author is going to write about an existing city, there should be some real research. Just for everyone’s information, mafia bosses do not hang out on every street corner in Brooklyn with a dumb blonde on their arm. Rudi Guiliani virtually chased the mafia out of town. What he left undone, Michael Bloomberg finished. Most of the big bosses moved to New Jersey. I’m sure authors make glaring mistakes about other locales, and I didn’t notice, since I don’t know much about the area either.
Then you get the books where you’ve got a stable of homicide detectives and they’re all detecting away, but you can’t tell who’s who. You’ve got Detective Walters with no age given or particular description and his partner Detective Gunther also with nothing telling me how he’s feeling inside about the situation he’s in. I just know I’m going to get them mixed up at some point a few pages later.
But I don’t have to know that Suzy Jones (the dog walker who appears only once) has three sisters who are older than she is, was born in Miami. just broke up with her boyfriend, and hates spinach.
Anyway, those are my pet peeves and I sincerely hope my critique partner and my writing group won’t let me get away with any of them in my manuscripts.