I just read a book that kept me on the edge of my seat… and had me gnashing my teeth in fury and frustration because of the huge, gaping, ridiculously obvious plot holes.  I’m sorry, but when I read a techno-thriller I shouldn’t be smarter than everyone in the book.  In fact according to the book I’m smarter than everyone in the world.

The author had an excellent grasp of pacing, and the characters were well developed and believable, and behaved consistently throughout. It was genuinely gripping.  The first part of the book was very well done and frighteningly plausible… but after the first part I kept coming up against the wall of stupidity.

I’m a novice writer, and not a literary giant even in my own fevered imagination. but if I didn’t care enough to craft something more carefully than this I can’t imagine caring enough to finish writing it. When I read a techno-thriller I shouldn’t be smarter than everyone in the entire world the story takes place in. Of all the super-competant, super-capable characters in the book not one of them saw the painfully obvious solutions that occurred to me immediately?  I’m no genius but at least I know how to unplug a freaking computer!

What really gets me is the lack of craftsmanship.  The author is a good writer and obviously an intelligent person.  But they seem to have simply disregarded any information that did not advance the plot, no matter how obvious it would be to the reader. No one, from their agent, editors on down cared enough to point these flaws out to them. It disrespectful to their audience and demeaning to other writers that DO care enough to bother crafting their stories well.

I expect this from television and make allowances. In a recent episode of Scorpion hackers took control of a cluster of nuclear missile silos.  Heavens, what shall we do? Despite the fact that the main characters are geniuses it didn’t occur to anyone to unplug the computers?  To cut the power, physically if necessary, to the missiles? Seriously?!

I get that you sometimes need to take a liberty here or there to advance the plot. But if the solution is obvious within seconds of revealing the problem, and everyone in the story simply overlooks it so that there can be a story? That’s just sloppy, lazy and disrespectful to your audience. But most of the audience tolerates it, because hey, it’s just TV, right? I suppose that we deserve what we get because we won’t demand better. I’m sad to see this trend extending further and further into literature, as well. Hey, it’s just a book. Right?