A few days ago, in a post about Clive Cussler, I mentioned that I’d read a bestselling thriller that was riddled with cliches. I didn’t mention the name of the books because the author is a friend of mine.
So, on the heels of finishing that book, I picked a mystery off my shelf written by another friend of mine, a buddy who has many books to his credit, though he’s yet to crack the best seller lists (this is the first book of his, though, that I’ve read). I’m 200 pages into his latest book… and I am astonished by how lazy his writing is. These cliches appear on just one page…
- "He has a rap sheet as long as his arm."
- "When his father died, he went right off the deep end. It took him a while to get his act together. For the past few years, though, he’s managed to keep his nose clean."
- "He didn’t have a leg to stand on."
- "I should never have stuck my neck out."
- "He’s a real piece of work."(by the way, what does "he’s a piece of work" really mean? And is it that bad to be a real "piece of work" as opposed to just your run-of-the-mill, ordinary "piece of work?").
Like I said, this litany of cliches was on one page. You can imagine what the rest of the book has been like. One cliche line after another, mostly in dialogue. It’s relentless.
This book was written by a friend of mine. I am tempted, as a friend, to point these cliches out to him and tell him he should really be more careful.
Then again, this book was published and was a big success (if not a best seller). Who the hell am I to criticize him? He certainly didn’t ask for my advice. Am I being more of a friend by keeping my opinion to myself?