We're often blind to our own faults. I find it easier to see problems in the works of other people, especially now that I have a hard time turning off my editorial eye when reading fiction (the downside of being a writer).
I can forgive a few typos, and the occasional fluffs, like a gun that starts as a .22 and ends up as a .357 — these are understandable mistakes. They're errors of execution, not of understanding. But there are limits…
Here, for your amusement, are some things I encountered in last night's book which I've sworn never to do myself. I've spared the author name and book title, since the point is not to heap scorn upon the efforts of someone else but to go and avoid these problems myself.
I'll post more of these Irritated Reviews™ from time to time, when sufficiently provoked.
The no-muss-no-fuss death in the family
This thriller is set in the unnamed mountains of North Carolina (presumably the Blue Ridge). Our heroine has returned home, after the recent death of her last parent (no siblings), to her architectural home perched high up in the mountains with a view of chasms. Her family is one of the founders of the town nearby, and her home has lots of land.
She works for a living, no reference to independent means. There is no mention of inheritance, estate taxes, or any duties involved in dealing with the death of her mother, other than a funeral. No mention of property taxes, which would likely be substantial. Hard to believe she's the last surviving member of her family, or that she can support the house, or that there has been a death of a parent just weeks ago with its necessary financial impacts and unfinished tasks. Doesn't seem to have any new inherited money or financial responsibilities. It's a shallow plot device to give her an interesting home, but since it has none of the reality of supporting such a home or the passing of the torch, she operates in an unbelievable financial vacuum.
The river on top of the mountain
Her high school boyfriend takes her to a cabin higher up the mountain to reminisce about old times. It sits along a river, and there's her old canoe.
Now, in my experience, navigable (even if just by canoe) rivers do not appear high up on mountains, even the modest Blue Ridge ones.