Geezer Lit? For Boomers and a "Limited" Audience or Is It Mainstream?

I found a great press and wanted to share the link with everyone here on CS.  It's


The reason I'm recommending the link is that, in prepping to pitch at Killer Nashville, I learned that Marty Shepard, editor and publisher, pressed a cool novel called Head Shot by Mike Befeler.


It seems that the main character is . . . well, a surly "geezer," who is a former boxer turned handyman running from the law.  I find this conceptually interesting, but I wonder if this particular hard-boiled sub-genre is limited to readers in specific age groups, like Boomers and such. 


This is the first time I've heard of geezer-lit, but I recall a couple of CS authors whose work might be classified as such.  I've also written a novel that might qualify as "geezer lit," so I'm trying to learn about the genre and its potential audience. 


All help is appreciated. 



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Plus older people buy more books and the whole population is aging and people are living longer.  It's a big market.

John, I think you're on to a new marketing strategy here.  I know that I would head straight for the "Geezer Lit" section of the bookstore.  One, I don't shop by browsing the entire "mystery" section (online or in a store front), so having the section identified as "Geezer Lit" would lure me right on in.  Two, I'm very partial to "geezers" as a detective group, my interest emanating from the Sherlock Holmes character (Yuh, at a certain point in my reading career I considered him "geezer").  How OLD is that dude, anyway?


I think I.J. might have pinpointed a problem, however.  Would the category include female "geezer" detectives?  It might prove problematic to have a "Biddy Lit" or "Crone Lit" section.  


You've definitely opened my eyes, though.  I might just bite the bullet here and agree that, since my male protag is sixty-nine year old vet, he's most likely "geezer." 

I'm trying to learn about the genre and its potential audience.


Sounds to me like a "new" label for an "old" "genre," if it really is a genre. After all, some of the greatest ficitonal detectives were "seniors."  Miss Marple, Poirot, (at least I think so), Ruth Rendell's Wexford, Barry Maitland's Brock....I could probably elaborate if my "old" brain were functioning better. Sometimes the detectives age along with the series. Wexford (who has just "retired" in Rendell's forthcoming latest) would be in his 90s in real time! :) 

The advantage of an "older" detective is, simply, that he or she has the not-to-be-discounted advantage of a lifetime of wisdom and insights. Younger detectives may be able to get right into the action, but they're greenhorns in other ways.  Sometimes, you find a younger detective partnered with an older one, to whom he or she turns for counsel. Barry Maitland has done that in his Brock and Kolla series---a retired male  detective and a young female inspector.  It works Even when I was a younger mystery reader, I didn't mind an older detective. Now, I actually prefer one. I don't read mysteries for romance anyway, so I don't need my detectives to be young and good-looking. 

We are, after all, the "baby boomers," and we outnumber everyone else right now. :)

Question: when does Geezeerhood begin? The 50s may be too young still....I'd say it's probably the 60s.Bur once established as such, Geezers have to be kind of ageless. :)  And they have to be "young in spirit."  guess is there's a great audience for geezer gumshoes.

And then, of course, there's the potential for humor.  Humor sells books.  I'm not so sure that noir would work for old protagonists.  That would be a bit demoralizing.

I'm not so sure that noir would work for old protagonists.

Right!  It might be a challenge dealing with those hot noir babes! :)   They tend to go for good-looking but tending toward seediness, youngish-to-middle-aged private eyes. The "old" geezer ought to be able to see right through 'em.  Of course, as the saying goes...."there's no fool like an old fool!"

That's funny.  The word "seedy" brought to mind the fashionable stubble young men wear today.  One pictures the old guy trying to outdo them.  Maybe even with a soul patch.


Never mind.  This is no longer serious crime fiction.

Good chuckle, I.J.  Thanks. 
Caroline, you bring up a great point: I need to revisit my old geezer and see if he's onto the young babes in my novel.  He is not sought after by any hot noir babes, but one old girl with a ticking biological clock does want him . . . ew, ew, I gotta run and fix that, maybe have him having a run-in with a goth chick! 
Oh, what the heck, I.J.  Let's move the genre along.  Tipping my prune cocktail to humor--the more of it the better--and seedy "old protags" with Don Johnson's five o'clock shadow and hot pecs and abs (unless they're women, in which case, they could just leave off the Don Johnson's five o'clock).  Bottoms up!

You are, as I've mentioned previously, filled with wisdom, Caroline.  Thank you for these particular details, i.e., the names and series.  Honestly, I had not read many of the series you mention, and I am tremendously grateful to you. 


I think you're right: new label for an old genre.  Everything gets relabeled if we live long enough (unfortunately, I have!).  I'm printing out your list. 


I think of a geezer as the guy on TV who does the Jose Cuervo commercials (gray hair, smokin' hot bedroom eyes, and a lot of stubble, which I.J. pinpointed).  I'm having trouble with my own label here, though, because I keep wanting to say, Yeah, he's hot, but the guys might take offense. 


Thanks for the really valuable input. 

filled with wisdom,

Thank you, Mary....I hope that if I'm full of something, it's wisdom....or by now, as least as much wisdom than the other thing people are often full of...:)

And hey, why can't a geezer be hot?  As in, WAS hot....or STILL hot...well, pretty hot... and why not a goth chick?  That could be fun. And nothing is more Noir than goth....maybe goth is the new noir? 

  I've always wondered about the stubble thing with young guys. It's supposed to be sexy, I think. But is it? On a old guy, would be it sexy or just plain seedy?  Is seedy sexy only on young guys or at any age?  Didn't have time to shave?  Too BUSY? Wink wink.  Why not just grow the beard and have it done with?  But the stubble never progresses beyond someone must be shaving in between....i.e., cheating! 

I think Geezers have to defend their territory.  After all, Vampires now (as in Twilight) are young and cool. Old vampires....not sexy. Anyway, vampires don't age, so we don't really know if they're geezers or not.   But a private eye can have gray hair, stubble and a few wrinkles...after all, there's Viagra and Centrum Silver! :)


If my dim memory serves, stubble is not sexy.  It's painful.  So what gives?  And how do you maintain that look?  I'm visualizing special razors for that trim.

And female psychology?  Maybe the gals think the more disreputable and lost to all sense of selfrespect a guy seems, the greater their triumph if they save him from himself.  Sort of like taking on a drunk or a gambler or a cheat.  It's a challenge,


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