An Appetite for Accuracy

I just finished reading An Appetite for Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery.

I rarely review other books because it’s such a subjective business, but I have to comment on this book. Signet published it in January 2012. The second in the series is scheduled for release in September 2012. The book is a fast read. I’ve visited Key West many times and loved all the references to my favorite places. The main character is quirky and borderline ridiculous as she never takes the time to think anything out. That didn’t bother me – I expected it to make the book funny. I found myself reading the book in the past two days when I needed to do other things so it managed to keep my attention, or rather, divert my attention from my work.

As I approached the last quarter of the book, something unforgivable occurred for me as a reader. The main character, Hayley, was involved in an accident on Saturday night. We are taken through her day on Sunday as she explains why she’s so beat up. Then the next chapter opens as someone is banging on her door to wake her on Monday. For the rest of the book, her accident is referred to as happening “the night before.” It drove me nuts, and I kept going back and forth to figure out if I missed something. I didn’t, but some folks who are paid a whole lot more than me to edit books did.
As an author, I can understand how this could happen.  I’m currently working on the second draft of a novel, and I’m cutting and pasting and rearranging days and months and years. I check my work constantly and keep a calendar at the ready for the year in question. But I still make mistakes. That’s why I have readers and pay an editor to find this type of error. In the five books I’ve published so far, I don’t think I’ve made an error of this type, but then again I’ve never been published by a big house such as Signet.

We can never be too careful or cautious in checking our plot over and over again for accuracy. The readers deserve no less.

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