The Promise of the Premise

The world is full of all kinds of deceptions, big and small. Some are fun like bluffing in poker or planning a surprise party.

Some are evil like cheating on your taxes or not telling your partner you have an STD.

And some are literary like plot twists and unreliable narrators.

But the worst, in my humble little blogpinion, is a failure to deliver on the “promise of the premise.”

When I was in college, I wanted to get my dad and sister a Golden Retriever so I put the word out to all the shelters and finally got a phone call. One came in … AND it was a puppy! So I raced down there and grabbed that ball of fluff. It wasn’t too long before they realized Tosh was a Corgi. Cute little fluffballs are oh-so deceptively adorable and lookalike. When people asked my dad what kind of dog Tosh was, he thought it was hilarious to tell them she was a Golden Retriever. “At least according to my daughter!”

Tosh and Bear.jpg

(Eight-year-old Tosh the Corgi is the white one. Subsequently Dad got a Golden Retriever pup. Here’s Bear at about two months. She grew into her name soon after this photo was taken. You can clearly see they are twinsies.)

Anyway, ever see a movie trailer that showed only funny bits but was really a drama? It’s the same idea with books. I won’t mention the author or the title, but I got halfway through a book recently that shifted gears so dramatically, I had to be treated for literary whiplash. The second half could have belonged to an entirely different book. I kid you not. It went from happy cozy mystery to full-throttle police procedural. The amatuer sleuth became second fiddle to the FBI.

So weird.

I don’t personally know the author, but if I did, I’d sure ask some questions. Like …

“Were you experimenting with a new genre?”

“Was this edited by committee?”

“Is your meth addiction under control now?”

It was truly an odd mash-up. Miss Marple meets Die Hard.

But then I started thinking of all the fun mash-ups we could write.

Orange Is The New Nancy Drew

To Kill A Mockingjay

Marley & Me & the Hound of the Baskervilles

What do you think would be some spectacularly over-the-top mash-ups? And over-the-top doesn’t necessarily mean bad. I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t you want to read Curious George Plays The Hunger Games?


Author: Becky Clark

I write cozy mysteries with humor and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair. My new book FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in the Mystery Writer's series, will be out in April 2018.

13 thoughts on “The Promise of the Premise”

  1. Hysterical! And what adorable Golden Retrievers. At my house, we always referred to them as golden deceivers. You have a valid reason to use the name. How about Gone Girl Gaudy Night.


  2. Laughing too hard to think of any worthy titles! Isn’t that the biggest disappointment? When you start reading one book for one reason, and it never gets fulfilled.


  3. So funny! Up here in Alaska, people pawn off puppies as black labs that are really rots or pitbull mixes. The puppy next door is mini-Berniedoodle. Think about that. Now that he’s almost full grown, he’s a big man’s ego in a short furry body. No one, I mean no one, is walking around in my backyard without me knowing about it. Not me, not my dog, not no one.


  4. Kait … Golden Deceivers is hilarious. Only problem is that I was the deceiver. Or maybe the person working at the shelter.
    Kate … “Yo, Allison! Alllliiiison!”
    Sue … Luckily it seems to happen more in the visual media than print. Honestly, I can’t think of another title that did me in that way. But it’s widely known my memory is like a sieve.
    Keenan … Berniedoodle made me laugh! I can totally picture that.


  5. Ha! I think all of my books are probably one of those genre mash-ups. I’m genre impaired. I have to write the whole thing to figure it out, though.


  6. Sam, it’s okay to be genre impaired as long as you don’t commit the cardinal sin of giving someone literary whiplash!
    And 3, I absolutely agree. Nancy Drew has to have a starring role in any and every mash-up. I’ve always thought she’d have done well on the Orient Express.


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