Five Reasons I Stop Reading an Author

Miss Demeanor blogger C. Michele Dorsey wrote a post earlier this week titled, Writers Who Left a Hole in My Heart. She said, “when a favorite author dies it leaves a hole in my heart and my reading calendar. Years later I will lament that there won’t be a new book coming, which is a powerful statement about how much writers affect their readers.” 

Michele’s post got me thinking about the opposite. Living authors whose books I have loved but have stopped reading. Here are five reasons that cause me to drop an author from my must read, or ever read, list. 

  • The author seems to lose interest in the characters but continues to write the series. There was a series with a woman detective that I loved. After the third book, the author abandoned the series and started a new series. A couple of years later said author wrote a fourth book in the series I’d loved but the detective who was ostensibly the lead character had what was almost a walk on role in what turned out to really be a book about the newer series. I felt duped and stopped reading the author.
  • When the author gets lazy. For example, I stopped reading Anne Perry because the descriptions of her characters were always the same word for word, from one chapter to another, even one book to another, as if she cut and pasted them.

I understand how this happens. We see a character or a place in our minds and we use the exact same words to describe it. From time to time, I write a description of something or someone and realize it’s word for word what I’ve written earlier in the book. But this is something I look for in editing, ask beta readers to watch for, or get lots of red ink from my editor indicating it needs to go. 

  • Ending a book on a cliff-hanger. Nothing makes me angrier than reading three hundred or more pages of the book and not having a resolution. Being told to wait for the next book doesn’t work for me and I will not read an author who does know how to write a proper ending. 
  • Becoming so popular that they are no longer edited and their books go off on characters and stories that have nothing to do with the plot. Digressing in the middle of a book for fifty pages about a minor character and a situation unrelated to the story is, in my opinion, a reflection of the author’s ego. I stopped reading my favorite author because of this shift in style.
  • Writing multiple books from the killer’s point of view, especially a serial killer. There are so many horrors happening in the real world that the last thing I want is to spend time in the head of a sick killer. I dropped favorite who seemed to enjoy writing from that perspective.

Is there anything that causes you to drop an author?

Catherine Maiorisi

Catherine Maiorisi is the author of the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker–two tough women, fighting each other while solving high profile crimes. A Matter of BloodThe Blood Runs ColdA Message in Blood, and Legacy in the Blood are all available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks narrated by Abby Craden.  

In addition to publishing multiple mystery and romance short stories in various anthologies, Catherine has authored four romances novels. Her latest book, The Disappearance of Lindy James, was awarded a GOLDIE for Best General Fiction.


  1. I agree, Catherine. And I can add three more:
    1. Characters who are too perfect or too evil (uninteresting and untrue. Real people are more nuanced).
    2. The religious hypocrite (a lazy trope. People of faith aren’t all hypocrites, and atheists can by hypocrites as well).
    3. The stupid or bigoted cop (yes, they’re out there, but come one–you can do better).

  2. ALL of the above–lol–especially what Connie mentioned about the “too perfect” person. My fingernails on the blackboard award goes to those perfect southern belle sleuths that end up in cozy’s, mostly. The book gets tossed into the ‘goes to the library’ box immediately. And another annoyance is a character in a series who has the same reaction to another character IN THE SAME WORDS every time! Grrr. Lack of imagination? Laziness? Who knows.

    1. Sharon,I also toss books where the same words are repeated almost word for word to express the protagonist’s feelings, reactions, and thoughts.

  3. I get so disappointed when a writer runs out of steam yet they keep grinding out stories. But there are plenty of readers who hung in with writers I abandoned so each to his own.

    I won’t read fad books, like someone’s got your kids so you have to do something bad. And I certainly won’t read a book that riffs on a recent tragedy which a mother somewhere out there is still mourning. That’s just cynical.

    1. Keenan, I agree when the author’s heart is no longer with the characters and/or they have nothing more to say about them, it’s time to end the series.

  4. When a thread that should be part of the character arc goes on waaaay too long. (You can probably guess who I’m talking about.)
    And turn-offs for new books for me are:
    Obvious virtue signaling makes my eyes roll. Show don’t tell!
    Tired ways to say someone is tough — a woman who drinks hard liquor. (That’s a two-fer: sexist and over used.)

    Like you said, each to her own. And that’s why book clubs are so fun.

  5. I love these comments–food for thought– which will serve as checks in my own writing. For myself, I hate the current, typical female protagonist who is 32 to 36, 5’7″ & size 2, divorced through no fault of her own, has one child w/deadbeat father, owns business with which she can provide for herself. And has green eyes and shampoo of an herbal/floral mix. I also want to know that the author has written 100% of the book themself.

    1. LOLOL! So with you on this! My protagonist is in the 35 yr. zone, however she knows she’s part of the reason she divorced him, has no kids (doesn’t like them actually), no means of providing for herself except the stems and seeds her Dad left her. ice blue eyes and whatever the heck kind of shampoo is in whatever the heck shower stall she happens to be in. LOL!

    2. Nancy, as authors we know writing a book is hard work. Doing it well is even harder. We owe it to ourselves and to our readers to avoid the pitfalls we’ve identified here and to do our best to make our original.

  6. Catherine, this is a great list. Let me add one more. When an author gets tired of writing a successful series and hires some newbie writer (probably for pennies per word). Newbie isn’t paid enough to read the series, so the characters are completely different—sometimes they completely change, even as to how they look. And the writing style is completely different. I can name at least 3-4 right now that should have ended but the author is too greedy to stop and too lazy to do the work.

  7. This is a great list! I don’t like it when an author seems to have a checklist of characters that are there more to be tropes than to be living people.

  8. spot on about Anne Perry. Always an excellent story underneath, but the same verbose descriptions of the characters and their thought processes.

  9. Lousy writing. I don’t mind that Robert Parker, Donna Leon and Lee Child write more or less the same book over and over, because they write so well. It’s soothing to dip into a familiar, beautifully rendered voice. Yet each tale has its distinctive character, which makes it always involving. If I’m stumbling around trying to make sense of the prose, or reaching for a pen to edit lines, I quickly tire of the effort.

    1. Although it doesn’t sound it from this post, I am a forgiving reader for my favorites. But, I’m with you. Bad prose is not something I can tolerate.

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