Sad as it is, there is a time when you simply have to give up old friends. It doesn't matter that you have been friends for decades, that you have laughed and cried together, that they have been there with you through sleepless nights, long days and troubled times - when they start to disappoint you, you know it's time to go.
I am, of course, talking about authors.
A confession - I am a book-lover. I read all the time. I generally have 3-4 books on the go at any one time, and constantly re-read old ones. I own 500+ books, and get more from the library. I have realized over the years that my bank account and my bookshelves cannot support my habit, so I am very selective about which books I buy. I have a tendency to find new-to-me authors I like, then buy everything they have ever written.
Another confession - I am a murder-mystery addict, especially the "cosy" type. No, they aren't great "Lit'rature", but they are enjoyable - and that's what I personally look for in a lot of my fiction books.
Putting all that together, I find it very hard not to get the latest book written by an author whose oeuvre I have decided to own. And that's the dilemma I now face.
The author in question - Martha Grimes.
She has written a series of books all named after British pubs, and featuring Detective Richard Jury. The series started out great. Jerusalem Inn, The Anodyne Necklace, etc. - some of my favourite books to read over and over again. Like a lot of other series, the books started getting thicker and thicker - all the better from a reader's point of view, since that means more time spent in the Jack and Hammer with Melrose Plant and the rest of the gang. The books also started getting a wee bit formulaic (always a precocious child and animal (generally a dog) with human-like traits) - but really, many series do after a while, and it wasn't too bad. The good still outweighed the bad. The author's voice started coming through the characters a bit more as well, especially when proselytizing about animal abuse. Annoying, but still worth the money in my opinion.
Until The Old Wine Shades. The book was published 2 years ago, and I bought it as soon as it came out in paperback (hardcovers are way more expensive, and way harder to read in the bathtub, so I'm a paperback kind of gal). And I still haven't read the damn thing. I've started it more times than I can count, get ~1/3 the way though - and give up through sheer boredom. It's not the subject matter, it's not the plot, it's not the formula or the proselytizing - it's sheer, unadulterated, "maybe I should clean the house instead of reading this book" boredom.
There is a new book in the series, published last year, titled Dust. Hopefully it's not a prophetic name, as in "dry as". But I think this will now be an author I take out of the library, instead of haunting the book store to buy the latest as soon as it's published.
I can forgive old friends many things - but boring me isn't one of them, especially when I have to pay for the privilege. So sorry old friend, but I'm cutting you loose. Thanks for the good times, and I'll look in on you every so often. Good luck in your future endeavors, and hopefully, one day, we can be friends again. Maybe. Once you get your voice back.