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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the introspective-character-driven  novels are the new trend.


Actually, I think that's true.  Of course, Sherlock Holmes was shown to be introspective---or maybe just moody---but the reader never knows what he is thinking. :)  Ruth Rendell's Wexford  (always a favorite of mine) was intelligent and thoughtful, and perhaps mildly introspective, but never to the point of angst---except when he reflected on why he had always  preferred one daughter to another.  After all, he was happily married and loved his family.



Wexford qualifies (on the daughter thing alone). Holmes does not.

Maybe it's because I'm now writing an outdoor-oriented mystery series (the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner), but I'm seeing a rise in popularity of these kinds of books. Other examples of authors writing outdoor-oriented series include:

William Kent Krueger

Dana Stabenow

C J Box

Nevada Barr

Craig Johnson

Sandi Ault

Perhaps, but I've always shied away from them.  The exception being the Hillerman novels, but those appealed because Navajoland seems almost like a foreign world, and I prefer non-domestic settings.
Beth, good to see you here.  I agree.  The outdoor-oriented mystery is on the rise, maybe as a result of the Green movement.  Goody. 
There are exceptions.  Hillerman made it. So did McCall-Smith.  Mind you, they had publisher support. I can get faithful fans, but so slowly that nothing much seems to be happening.

I belong to Sisters in Crime Australia and in Brisbane.

Many of my crime writer friends are writing novels with female protagonists. They're selling extremely well here in Australia and overseas. Have you heard of Katherine Howell, and Marianne Delacourt? They are two of my favourites. 

My fast-paced crime novel SAYONARA has a female protagonist and female side-kick who unravel a missing person case. SAYONARA is part memoir, based on a personal story. I hope a publisher will pick it up soon :))

Hello Karen,


I'm one of the editors of Noir Nation, and I am definitely looking for stories with female protagonists.  This is the century of women and crime fiction should reflect that. 


If you don't have a publisher for SAYONARA, you might try Bare Knuckles Press (BKP), which is owned by the same owner as Noir Nation. BKP has 7 titles coming out this fall as eBooks, and some as print aswell.  I can represent the book to the boss.  alan@noirnation.com

If I knew what the next trend would be, I'd write the damn book.
I am reading Daniel Woodrell these days. As I.J. said about Tony Hillerman, Woodrell's settings are different enough from my own that they might as well be in a foreign country.
So, are exotic settings and colorful characters the key to success? No, the key is to write as well as Daniel Woodrell does.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Hi Pr,

I agree ... The key to any top selling book is a Killer plot line, with Characters the reader can identify or sympathize with as well as a kick-ass writing style. Having an unusual or exotic setting is another feature that will lure the reader in.

"SAYONARA" ...crime faction


Benjamin, I am sure that Steve Hamilton has just launched a trend with Mike, in The Lock Artist.  I'm reviewing that book in June on my blog, so don't want to do that here.  But I think plots with characters like Mike will now pop up everywhere.  We'll see characters with, instead of the detective with a "boatload of problems" the super edgy characters like Mike.  They'll have some kind of physical handicap (mute's taken, so they'll be more creative), and they will be a pro at something, like lock picking, or using C-4, making pipe bombs, or developing fingerprinting software, so we as readers can learn the craft.  I predict that this will be the trend.  Definitely away from the conflicted detective or black sedans following us.    

Hi Mary,

 Thanks for your insights and predictions into future crime novels. Very thought provoking.


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