Friday, July 30, 2010

A Bit of a Moan: Part 2

Ahhhh, confession!  It's good for the soul, you know.  Lightens the load, makes the world seem a better place, etc, etc.

Yesterday I confessed my ennui with the sex shower scene.  It was only a minor moan really but today's gripe is one which REALLY annoys me when it crops up in books:

The hero who, rather than reporting a serious crime to the police, takes it upon himself to sort everything out himself in a show of quite astounding vigilantism.

Now, I'm not talking about that mainstay of mystery novels - the amateur sleuth - who when seeing a crime committed, or discovering a body, may work alongside or adjacent to the police, but rather one who never reports the crime and then tries to solve it himself.  So, in may ways it would be like the amateur sleuth discovering a body, hiding it, and then trying to solve the crime.  Preposterous, yes?  But a similar thing  happens with other crimes, other than murder, and, to be quite honest it gets my goat.

For example, I read a book not so long ago where the hero had his home broken into and was attacked by masked men.  Did he call the police, like any sensible person?  No he didn't.  Instead, he and the other hero decided to form a plan to get their own revenge, thus (rather predictably) putting themselves into life-threatening danger.  Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!  Stupid men!!!!!!

Now, I'm willing to concede that on occasion the hero will have a darned good reason for not reporting a crime, such as living in a very remote town and having less than cordial relations with the local Boss Hogg sheriff; or if they themselves are criminals and don't want to attract undue attention from the fuzz (in which case how have they managed to be the hero of a romance novel anyway?), or if you're a mythological creature such as a vampire or were, and would rather not blow your cover.  On the whole though, when this sort of thing happens in a romance novel, there's some baffling 'higher purpose' excuse which is, at best, flimsy, and at worst, downright idiotic.

Look at it this way: You wouldn't perform surgery on someone unless you were a qualified surgeon, would you?  You wouldn't attempt to put out a raging fire without first calling the fire service, would you?  So why is it in some romance novels the heroes think they are better trained and equipped than the police force?

Whenever this crops up it makes me sooooo cross and is sometimes one of the reasons why I DNF a book.  Not calling the police when your home is ransacked, you are attacked, or some stalker is leaving you death threats is akin to TSTL, in my opinion.

So do you agree with me today, or is this something which never bothers you at all?


Tracy said...

Oh honey you said it! I completely agree. This drives me batty in any romance novel whether it's m/m or m/f. How the hell can these people actually think that they can do a better job than the trained professional? Ug. I'm glad they have confidence in themselves, but come on!

btw - love that Boss Hogg reference. :)

Chris said...

Definitely an annoyance. Or worse. If the book only exists because of such stupid behavior, I'm REALLY likely to not finish it.

Jenre said...

Hi Tracy
I'm glad you got the Boss Hogg reference. I used to watch The Duke's of Hazzard all the time when I was a kid. I aspired to be Daisy Duke :).

Jenre said...

Hi Chris
Oh good, it's not just me then :). I agree that if the whole point of the book is to solve a crime and bypass the police it's really irritating.

M Jules Aedin said...

Hunh. I don't think I've ever read a book with that in it. Or if I did I put it down fast and scrubbed my memory! LOL That would just drive me insane. I want realism in my fantasy, tyvm! I just can't suspend disbelief that much.

The Boondock Saints pulled it off, but they had mafia ties and a vigilante family history. They also got in over their heads. Damn, now I want to go watch that movie again...

Jenre said...

Hi Jules
You've obviously not read many stalker plots then, cos it happens all the time in those books. One of the heroes gets a nutter stalker and they don't go to the police. Instead they try to discover who the stalker is for themselves. *facepalm*

Chris said...

And we ALL know how I feel about stalkers in m/m - SO OVERUSED. :)

Jenre said...

Chris: I totally agree. My heart sinks every time a book looks to be heading into stalker plot territory.

Kris said...

Stalkers. *sigh* I really don't like those stories that build up that tension on this theme and then the major conflict happens and then.... nothing... because for some uiknown reason the heroes decide that the stalker is pitiful and harmless. WTF is up with that! Drives me batshit.

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