What is it about a crime novel that gets you going? Is it the crime itself, or the chase, or the type of crime? I love a good murder, especially one that forces the hero to look for the "history" of the crime, the "why done it" in addition to the "who done it".

   

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I like to follow the thought process of both the criminal and "detective". I'm not crazy about the proving someone innocent premise or "mad genius at work". I like when a gray area exists in the personality of protagonist and antagonist. When a character hovers between the good and bad worlds like real people do.
You mean if the criminal has a "good reason" or if the detective is a bit of a rogue? I think either character has to have the appearance of being a "regular guy" to make the story believable.
I think I may have some qualms myself about the lovable serial killer (Dexter comes to mind). However, for the villain I'm usually satisfied if he/she acts out of a psychological need that may only exist in his/her mind.
When the villian sees what he does as justified in his mind, it makes for a better story. The good guy has to get in his head and understand what that justification is.

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