Everyone talks about the vampires and paranormal young adult books and whatnot. That's all fine and dandy, but those are trends outside of our favorite genre here on CrimeSpace.

 

I want to get back to talking about crime. So what are some of the trends going on right now? Not in marketing or formats, but the actual plot lines? What patterns are you seeing in what's new?

 

From my viewpoint, the leads are becoming more and more stereotypical. It's almost like casting for "The Real World" on MTV. The faces may change, but you know exactly what expressions they'll make.

 

Maybe that's because there are so many stereotypes built into crime fiction. But can we at least get beyond "the detective with a boatload of personal problems" thing? Or the black sedans following you in the rear view mirror? Or the hit man who just has to do one last job?

 

The reaction to this is to make something completely absurd out of the stereotype. Throw in a few funky quirks to stir the stereotype pot. Just look at the boatload of eccentric detectives on TV to get a feel for that.

 

None of these observations are necessarily bad. They're just my thoughts. What are yours?

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I find I respond well to foreign settings and to character-driven novels.

Character-driven, definitely. Maybe that's the problem, as most thrillers and many mysteries are plot-driven. ??

Gunnar

Of course there has to be a plot....otherwise the story doesn't go anywhere. But plot is very basic, although Elizabeth George has said something to the effect  that even plot emerges from character.   Makes sense to me!
Yes.  The murder is a given.  How it is handled is not.  That depends on the personality of the people involved (incl. the killer).

Your first examples are books meant for women readers. So, no wonder.

 

As for the other: there are too many books on the market, many of them doing what has been done before.  You have to sift through them to find the well-written ones. Try the library for unknown authors.

I haven't keep up with publishing news. That wasn't the question anyway. The publishing business is in a state of upheaval, or at least nervous caution.  No idea how that impacts mysteries.  There's the new Mulholland imprint.  Perhaps that is good news. On the whole, I think tried-and-true producers already part of a publisher's stable will continue.  Anything else is pretty much in the air.  Your guess is as good as mine. 

Currently the publishing industry is being uber-cautious.  In the last two years i've had novels go out to publishers three times and each time i got a "we really like this, but it's not exactly what we're looking for".  As was said earlier, they're looking for carbon copies of books that have already sold, or at least only new ideas from well respected authors whose books will sell no matter what.

Unless you come up with something so ingenious and off the wall that it takes the breath away, i agree with Ben's comment that you may as well just write what you enjoy writing and not try and follow the market.

Make that "kept up".
 I agree - it's hard to find a protagonist who is different and their personal life isn't in a shambles.  A book written from the killer's point of view - interesting?  Agatha Christie gave us a small does from that perspective with The Murder of Roger Ackyrod and it certainly stirred the pot.  I'm reading The Debba by Avner Mandelman right now and the protagonist is certainly anything but typical.  It's a different read but compelling.  This is his first novel, I'm going to check out his short stories - not sure if they have mystery plots or not.  Anyway, back to trends, have to say I enjoyed the post.  Thought provoking.  HL

The mainstream publishers seem to be pumping out as many generic books as they can. I've read a couple of good indie mysteries recently, such as Unleashed by Emily Kimelman http://thetysonadams.blogspot.com/2011/05/book-review-unleashed-emi...

I think what I enjoyed was that in Unleashed the main character is a dog walker. Different.

 

So the trend will probably be longer term, but it will start with some indie authors who introduce us to mysteries that aren't "murder needs solving by dysfunctional or disillusioned cop". Possibly a move away from murder mystery to other crimes. Honestly though I don't know.

But there is nothing new--not really. :)    We recycle everything.  Update, recycle.  Forensic mysteries are not new, really---there are many predecents---just that now  there's more technology involved.  (Even those trendy vampire novels are not new---but now they're teen fare, and the vampires are sexier).    But many detectives are still relying on intuition to solve   crimes.   I haven't read enough really recent mysteries to observe what new "trends " there are  but I think the best writers will still rely on character---the detective, the supporting cast---to generate interest and suspense.  This is the case with the two excellent Scandinavian mystery writers I've read recently---Karin Fossum (who is Norwegian)  and Henning Mankell. And don't they follow in the footsteps of Sjowall and Wahloo (also Swedish)  were writing police procedurals in the 70s. I think I read these a long time ago, but just ran across one, and will be reading it again. I don't know if I made a point here or not....:)
Just reread Sjowall and Wahloo recently.  They are amazingly modern.  Actually, the introspective-character-driven  novels are the new trend.  And a very good departure from the old-style detective they are!

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