The first and only novel I have ever read by John Grisham is “The Broker.” About a third of the way through, it became very evident to me that the book was written as a tax write-off for a trip to Italy. One of the characters was a tour guide, and some of her words (and Grisham’s prose) were clearly copied right out of a tour guide. Never again. How did the book end? I did not care, once I figured out I was reading someone’s expense log.
I scored the whole Dark Towers series at the flea market [well, roomie did, same difference:p] and decided to give it a read all in a go a month or so ago. Stacked them up and started reading.
I think the whole series could have been edited down to about 4 books. There was a lot of rather useless nonsense that got tossed in to make up the volume of words IMHO that would have been great trimmed out. The whole backwards inside out structure of the first book was interesting but could really have been annoying if he had kept it up for the whole series. I did not like the deus ex machina of suddenly their being able to pop open doors where and when they needed them instead of needing to find specific doors, and the mystic group being able to trigger the doors was just too stupid for words.
I have found that a fair number of people like King most of the way but agree he can’t finish a book to save his life.,…
Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and Handle with Care.
I’m still not sure if this was a horribly bad ending or a brilliant, inspired, utterly original ending, but Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust has the strangest, most out-of-left-field ending of any novel I’ve ever read.
Most of the book is a hilarious comedy about adultery and divorce in an upper class British family. But the ending… I guarantee NOBODY reading it foir the first time will guess where it’s going, because NOTHING in the preceding pages ever prepared us for it.
The cuckolded husband chucks everything and heads off on an adventure in the jungles of South America, where his expedition partner dies, where he himself nearly dies. Then he’s “rescued” and imprisoned by a crazy man who holds him prisoner and forces him to read Dickens novels aloud for the rest of his life.
I’ve also read this book (the first in Carrie Bebris’s series of mysteries starring Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as the amateur sleuths), and yeah, the ending is very, very bad. (Open spoilers beyond this point, if anyone cares.) It’s actually even worse than you remember, because the character wasn’t exactly possessed, she was under the influence of a magical mind control ring. Seriously folks, this is a Jane Austen mystery fanfic where the resolution of the mystery involves a magical mind control ring. I’d have considered a ghost slightly less stupid than that. What I found particularly frustrating was that the writer could easily have gone for a slightly supernatural but not too out-there ending. The villain was from New Orleans, and there’s another character who’s a professor specializing in IIRC the study of ritual magic. So if the resolution had been that the villain was using some kind of voodoo mind control drug that the professor was able to identify then it would have been basically the same ending only less stupid.
I had checked out the first three books in this series at the same time planning to read them over the holidays, and since I didn’t have anything else new to read I did go ahead and give the next one a chance. I am pleased to report that they did get better – the second book introduces the supernatural element at the beginning, and by the third book there is no significant supernatural element to the story.
I’ve simply never been able to get into any of the latter-day “superhero lawyer” novels that clog the best-seller lists. I never encountered what you describe, but the obvious padding to what’s considered modern salable length is often quite evident. Telling a story at 250,000 words regardless of whether it supports that length has become the wrecker of modern fiction.
And then too many of them clunk along to a meaningless or WTF ending as a result.
Hannibal by Thomas Harris has an ending that is not only bad, but leaves you wondering about the mental stability of the author. It’s clear to me that Harris liked the character of Hannibal Lecter too much to give him the kind of ending he deserved. Instead, he kidnaps clarice Starling, brainwashes her into being his girlfriend, then kidnaps the head of the FBi, and together they eat his brain like an ice cream sundae. While he’s still alive and conscious.
And not, I did not make that up. Not a single word of it.
Didn’t read the book, but saw the movie, which backed off on the really stupid parts but retained the brain-eating sequence. Ooh look, my breakfast is ready…
Well, if and when he needs a new yacht or a new Rolls Royce, Harris has to be able to write more Lecter books. He couldn’t very well do that if he gave Lecter the horrible death he deserves.
Given the number of truly horrifying ways people have died in those novels, I shudder to think of the mind that could conceive of an appropriate end for Lecter. Maybe even Harris ran out of imagination.
I thought of one once:
Lecter falls and breaks his neck amid a roomful of his dissected victims. Slowly, rats come out of the walls and eat up all the spoiling meat. Then they start on him. When Clarice finally finds him, he has stumps for arms and legs, barely enough face to recognize, and her approach startles rats out of his shredded chest and abdomen. She whispers his name. He opens the one eye that still functions… and lets out a scream that sets a new standard for audio engineering.
I read this book and didn’t have this reaction. Can you tell me at what point it fails for you?
But then, I’ve been stuck at the 80% mark or so of Incarceron for years so…
I love horror author Graham Masterton, but the ending to his Unspeakable was the closest I’ve ever come in my life to chucking a book across the room. The only thing that saved it was my strong aversion to harming books.
The heroine, who’s deaf, is a talented lip reader and works as a consultant for the police. She makes some nasty enemies while doing this. The ending of the book (which is bad enough for being graphically abusive against women and kids) has her thinking she’s succeeded, but on the last few pages someone comes to her door, she opens it, and he blows her away. Dead.
I don’t know if it is a bad ending, but the ending in The African Queen is very anti-climatic. After all the work of getting the boat down to the lake to blow up the German cruiser, a British ship shows up magically and blows the cruiser up. Then Alnutt and Rose go off to get married, even though Alnutt is already married.FWIW, the ending in the movie is much more emotionally satisfying. It pains me to say so, as I am a huge C.S. Forrester fan, but still WTF.
Another is the ending of You Only Live Twice, although it may not be as much an ending as an unresolved plot point. Kissy Suzuki, who is Bond’s girlfriend, is pregnant. She never tells him, and he goes off to Russia. And nothing is ever mentioned about it again. Maybe Ian Fleming died before he could write another book after The Man with the Golden Gun that would resolve the issue, or at least mention it, but still.
Gone Girl. Horrible ending.
Also, agreeing about most of Stephen King’s work.
Oh yes, I came in to say that one too. The first four fifths of the book ==> terrific. Couldn’t wait to find out how she would end the book.
Could’ve waited, as it turned out.
The original ending for “The Stand” is fine. As for Deux ex Machina…like BSG, it’s practically there from day one. Also like LOTR, the ‘God’ part is pretty minimal. And like LOTR, once the big part is over, there’s still quite a bit of story to tell.
As for Dark Tower, Roland is a tool of the Tower. Roland will never ‘get it right’. The Tower needs Roland to protect the cycles of the Universe.
OMG yes, that was the weirdest left turn.
That’s brilliant, except it shouldn’t end with a scream, he should say something really creepy such as:
"I can still hear the lambs screaming, Clarice!
Damn. I have this on my Pile. Now I don’t want to read it at all.
Don’t pass it up. Even with the lame ending, I think it’s a great read. Can’t say that for Dark Places. I couldn’t get into it.