There’s a phenomenon in mystery/thriller fiction… I call it "The Made Men." These are authors who wrote several terrific books…a string of career-making, break-out, wonderful books which have made them icons/leaders/celebrities in the genre…but have been writing mediocre (or worse, far worse) books for the last few years. And yet, each new book from one of these authors is treated as if it’s another masterpiece, and the hyperbole used to describe the author and his work gets grander with each new release.
Are reviewers in a trance? Are readers under a spell? I don’t know. But I must be one of the few who didn’t get hypnotized.
My theory is that for some special authors, once you reach a certain status in sales and critical acclaim, from that point on you are untouchable. You are a genre "Made Man" (though this applies to female authors as well) and seemingly no matter what you write, you are held in the same high regard by critics and readers alike. I recently read the latest book by one of these authors and am dumbfounded that anybody could have ranked it as a masterpiece…or even particularly good. It certainly didn’t come close to matching his previous work (by the way, just because I say "his," don’t assume I am talking about a male author). So why all the praise? Made Man, that’s why.
Am I way off base? Or am I simply a lousy judge of good writing? Or is it sour grapes on my part? Or am I on to something here? Your thoughts are welcome.