Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Warning! Rant Ahead

You've been warned.

I don't know if I can read suspense anymore. Just finished Jayne Ann Krentz' All Night Long, and I liked it, I did. I always like her books- she's a dependable read. But there is a character in it who is becoming all too prevalent in suspense books: The Sexual Pervert.

They come in different varieties. Abusers of men. Abusers of women. Abusers of children. But they are almost a staple of modern romantic suspense. And can I just share with y'all, because you are my blog buddies, that I am sick of it? I'm getting really, really tired of having to shower after I finish a book.

I realize it's a picture of the world in which we live. There are perverts out there, of every stamp. Some are harmless, like the 'weird sexual preference du jour' we saw on CSI like EVERY FREAKING WEEK. I'm kinda tired of that, too. I've decided I'm absolutely happy not knowing about grown men who dress like babies so "Mommy" can take care of them, or a rendezvous where people dress in animal costumes as if it was the after-hours party for college mascots.

We see all too often what true perverts, the predators, can do to their fellow man. I myself was molested at age ten by a team- a male janitor and a female teacher in my school. My heart races as I hear that annoying Emergency Broadcast Signal on the tv or the radio; it is no longer an irritant. Now when I hear that sound I know an Amber Alert has been issued and a child is missing.

There is no greater feeling of helplessness or anger, even if I don't know the child. And after hearing of atrocities such as the Groene children went through last summer, you can't help but think the worst. But even if these events are true, and books are a mirror to what's really happening in the world, I don't want to pay $24.95 to read about them.

There are exceptions, most notably from Nora Roberts. J.D. Robbs' Eve Dallas is a fascinating character study, a woman who hasn't quite overcome brutal childhood abuse. But I think I handle that better because it isn't solved neatly at the end of the book. It is a progressive healing throughout the series. We see bigger glimpses of what happened to her as she deals with it, but it doesn't have a prurient feel to it. But the In Death series aside, Nora's revisited the childhood sexual abuse theme so often I wait for the reveal in every book, more satisfied if it doesn't come.

Can we have a new villain, please? Can I have a woman scorned who decides to off errant husbands or an accountant who picks off IRS agents or man who kidnaps cable guys to force them to install pay-per-view when the game's on, then buries them in the backyard or something? Authors, I will never, ever tell you that you can't write something. But I think I can safely ask you to consider if you're writing in a sexual pervert to explore, or to exploit. Please be sure it is necessary, and handle it thoughtfully. My hot water bills are going through the roof.


Blogger Bernita said...

Simply, it's an over-done, done-to-death theme.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I don't really read romantic suspense. Maybe that theme has something to do with it. Hugs on your own experience!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I like romantic suspense, if the author can successfully blend the two, ie Nora. But I sooo agree on the perv thing. It's been done, let's all move on.

Kind of like the villian in alot of tv and movies has to be the straight-laced, obviously repressed, white Christian male. We can't just have a supporting character that is a good, solid, upstanding Christian man, NO! He must be the bad guy! He is secretly chopping up people in his basement if they won't convert! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, went off on a rant of my own for a second.

Oh, and Rob? You definitely need to call me when you can.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Missie, I totally agree on the Christian = villain thing on crime dramas. It's gotten so that when the DH and I watch these shows, we make a game out of spotting. Aha. The detectives visit a witness' home, there's a cross on the wall. Witness did it. Yep. Would love to see them have a ::shock:: realistic Christian character. That would certainly be surprising. One of my hot buttons as you can guess.

Agreed also with Robyn -- enough already with all the villains having sexual motives. I don't read straight romantic suspense, but I do keep an eye on the general market, and this does seem to be a recurring theme. With that many talented writers out there, I know they could do some fabulous things with other motivations for the villains.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Yayyyy! I've got the vengeful ex-husband who is evil, but not a sexual pervert. Then I've got a firebug. I'm not into the sexual perverts either.

6:10 PM  

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