Tell me if you share this pet peeve: you're reading along in a new mystery or suspense novel, enjoying the characters that the author has brought to life and then, wham! There is a scene so disturbing and horrible that you're completely thrown off-track. An in-your-face rape scene that's so well described you feel dirty after reading it, the torture of a character in such great detail that you are nauseous. Or so many details about the blood, gore and/or dismemberment of someone that you slam the book shut.
I hate that.
It really makes me angry, too. As readers, we are more vulnerable than TV watchers of movie-goers because we can't just cover our eyes/plug our ears and wait for the disgusting part to be over. And unlike in movies, there is no thematic music cuing us as to when things might get grisly. There are also no ratings on books or warnings like, "This book contains disturbing sexual violence against women" or "This novel has a torture scene so terrible it would make Himmler blush." Nope, none of that.
Now, understand this: I'm not against any of these things ending up in literature. I mean, the Bible is filled with such descriptions, for pity's sake! And I'm certainly not advocating book banning or book burning (shudder, shudder). But it does bother me that there is no warning for hapless readers, who would like to know about this type of stuff up front and don't.
So, I decided to do something about it and created a new Goodreads group, Suspense for Sensitive Readers. I hope you'll check it out and if you like mystery/suspense without the frivolous use of gore/torture/dismemberment, maybe you'll join us. Would love that!
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