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?
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.
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.
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.