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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Hi, Karen.  Great to meet you here on CrimeSpace, where I am always in learning mode.  I enjoyed the chance to prognosticate a tad - woo-hoo!  I really do sense a pulling away from the stereotypes we've all grown used to, the ones Benjamin describes, plus more.  Mike, the Boxman in The Lock Artist, is truly introspective, since he is mute, which makes for a very intimate realtionship between us and Steve Hamilton, author.  It developes nicely, though, so doesn't become intrusive or unilateral on Steve's part. 

 

I have to work hard to find a mystery I don't like, so even the old styles really still excite me.  I think it's human to have baggage and, honestly, can't imagine creating a character without something rattling around back there in her past.  Still, I'm excited about seeing where we go, as Benjamin asks us to conjecture. 

Seems to me that popular authors of series books, eg John Sandford and the Prey series, are getting bored and branching off into new series. I agree that the protagonists of some series get boring. Even Patricia Cornwell has hit a slump. My peeve: soooo tired of the former alcoholic detective battling demon alcohol. Blah. Maybe the most important thing is to invent a really interesting antagonist, one who takes the protag to the brink. In my writing, I find that inventing the "bad guy" (or woman) is the most crucial aspect. My latest, a demonic stalker/fan, was inspired by something that happened to a friend of mine (another female musician). DIVA comes out next month and I can't wait!
Hi Susan, Wishing you every sucess with your new book, DIVA. Hope it does really well :))
Having been an almost alcoholic detective, i actually have to say that i understand the stereotype as it's a truism.  Working the hours you do and seeing the things you do tends to turn you to drink to blot out the memories.  That said, i understand that it might get a little boring to read about it constantly, and it's something that doesn't need to be repeated too often.
It is a truism, as is the failed marriage.  And each case may be handled differently.

Paul, sounds like you stepped back from the brink.  Kudos.  

 

I don't care for stereotypes when they're presented as such, either, but I think that the pathos of the "alcoholic detective" is something that actually remains to be explored: I still think there's tons and tons of possibility there, if writers care to dig deeply and avoid the superfluous, which is what generates the stereotype of the alcoholic detective, instead of the alcoholic (or drug addicted) detective presented (written about) in a new and interesting manner.  

 

 

Seems to me that popular authors of series books, eg John Sandford and the Prey series, are getting bored and branching off into new series. I agree that the protagonists of some series get boring. Even Patricia Cornwell has hit a slump. My peeve: soooo tired of the former alcoholic detective battling demon alcohol. Blah. Maybe the most important thing is to invent a really interesting antagonist, one who takes the protag to the brink. In my writing, I find that inventing the "bad guy" (or woman) is the most crucial aspect. My latest, a demonic stalker/fan, was inspired by something that happened to a friend of mine (another female musician). DIVA comes out next month and I can't wait!
Susan, I'm searching Amazon for DIVA, but could you let us know if you have a blog? 

I think what you are addressing is the big picture stereotypes, crime fiction to me works on the personal tough in a know world.  James Crumely's alcoholic detective could never be mistaken for James Lee Burkes, yet on the surface the appear the same.  Many tv shows have quirky charters on the surface, but they are all the same two dimensional people in the end.  I guess what I'm fumbling around to say is that it is the life you breath in to a character that makes it stand out in the end.  

My personal trend, not sure its reflected in market place, is reading a lot of Celtic noir of late.

 

 

 

Again, I am getting in on the tail end of these discussions. I am not certain how unique some of these crime trends are getting, but I really had to chuckle over John Locke's character, Donovan Creed in Saving Rachel. Locke threw everything into this novel except the kitchen sink--child in danger; family in danger; ex-wife cozying up to a wife beater; daughter in harms way.. Add that Donovan is a government sanctioned killer--who takes contracts on the side and likes to self-inflict pain to the max. Finally, Donovan is backed up in this novel by a small army of vertically-challenge individuals led by a leader who (because he is short) is really to take everyone on at the slight whiff of a slight. This was my first Locke novel, and I can see why people are ordering up his .99 cent novels so fast. This one had me laughing at all the politically-incorrect places. I don't know if this is a 'trend,' but I have another one of his novels on my TBR list.
If you want a story that plays out truly different from anything else, check out  John Burdett's Bangkok 8.
I like Timothy Hallinan's series better.

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