What are some examples of crime fiction that have pushed the boundaries of literary style?  In What way? Examples?

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All of Benjamin Black's books.  Starts with Christine Falls.

Stylistically at least.  I always thought the Morse books well-written, and Ruth Rendell's.  P.D.James occasionally does wonderful descriptions of characters.

As a rule, in style (vocabulary and sent. str.), crime novels run the gamut from the erudite to the level of YA or below.

Specifically, what elements of style were pushed by these books?  Examples of language, syntax or imagery?

The Friends of Eddie Coyle seems to me to be stylistically really strong.


It's not just the brilliant dialogue, but the way the authorial voice is usually absent, allowing the narrative to unfold so that the reader is alone in working out what's really going on.


It's rare to read a story without the author or hero offering a guiding point of view, and quite a challenge to write, it seems to me. Terrific novel.


Robin, crimetimepreview.com

I just finished rereading Eddie Coyle.  Great book, one of the granddaddy's of the hardcore crime books.  The new edition has a great intro from Denis Lehane.  I highly recommend it.


But I think the reference here is that new group of mysteries that read and feel like a literary main novel.

In what way is it stylistically strong? Specifically, what elements of style were pushed?  Examples of language, syntax or imagery?

James Ellroy pushes the boundaries. The Cold Six Thousand is probably the most 'out there.' I just finished reading Blood's a Rover and it doesn't push the stylistic bondaries quite as much.


Well, now you mention this sort of thing, Bruen does that with the Jack Taylor series.  I'm all for it, but it doesn't in and of itself constitute literary style. (Though the Jack Taylor novels come close to it on other levels also).

If it's like music then The Cold Six Thousand would be bebop jazz. Maybe earlier Ellroy and Ken Bruen would be more traditional jazz.


Yes, I like that.  Amazing what language can do.
Was The Cold Six Thousand the one where every sentence is basically a fragment?  The overall effect of that book was almost impressionistic.  Like a pointillism painting.

When the first couple of Patterson novels came out I was impressed with his idea to switch first person and third person narratives.


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