I love a good murder book. In fact, as the school year began I found myself repeatedly going to the bookshelves to look for murder novels. So far, most of them have been good reads. I sped through them so fast sometimes I checked out a book in the morning and returned it by FLEX time.
But then, I began noticing a… pattern, if you will. A staple that almost all YA murder mysteries seem to have.
No matter what the plot was before, almost all of these books end with the hero or heroine coming face to face with the murderer and, after a fight, black out and then wake up in a hospital, the killer either in police custody or dead.
Am I right or am I right?
Yep, I bet now you’re thinking back to all the murder books you’ve read (unless you chose to stay away from YA, which I kinda understand) and you’re seeing the connection. There’s… nothing wrong with this type of ending. It makes for a good, satisfying finish- the main character is safe and the killer has been stopped! But to me, I also have some qualms with it.
First of all, basically every YA murder novel implements it. I found myself reading the same plot written different times over and over, and soon, I was expecting it. That is not good writing, I think. Imagine how great it would be if you read a book that surprised you with a different ending! I’d be delighted.
Second of all, the ending is cliche and gives me the impression that the author wanted the easy way out. Imagine it: it’s nighttime, the big climax, where the main character is face to face with the killer who has a machete raised high in the air about to kill him or her.
The machete comes down.
Next thing you know, the hero/heroine is waking up groggily with their best friend who pulled an all-nighter asleep in the next room. After a few moments the policeman who magically knew when the hero/heroine would wake up comes in and tells him/her what happened last night.
It seems like the easy way out, doesn’t it?
To me it does. I mean, the author completely bypassed showing the night in the main character’s eyes. No raw emotion or reactions or thoughts or dialogue. Nothing. All we know is that somehow the killer, who’s managed to kill so many people before, failed to chop the main character’s head off with a machete.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a major flaw in the novel. I’d still happily read a book with this ending and deem it a good book.
It’s just that… too many books end that way. And that is what makes it so old.
Perhaps I should move away from YA readings?