By Amy Willis
Published: 2:59PM GMT 25 Oct 2009 in The Telegraph UK.

The author claims she is is fed up with increasing levels of "sadistic misogyny" in crime fiction and says authors are simply jumping on the bandwagon to get a bestseller.

"Each psychopath is more sadistic than the last and his victims' sufferings are described in detail that becomes ever more explicit as young women are imprisoned, bound, eaten, starved, suffocated, stabbed, boiled or burned alive," she told the Observer.

Authors must be free to write and publishers to publish. But critics must be free to say when they have had enough. So however many more outpourings of sadistic misogyny are crammed on to the bandwagon, no more will be reviewed by me," she added.

And the most disturbing plots are by female authors, she says.

"The trend cannot be attributed to an anti-feminist backlash because the most inventive fiction of this kind is written by women," she claims.

Natasha Cooper, former chair of the Crime Writer' Association, agrees with Ms Mann. She says women do this so they are taken seriously as authors.

"There is a general feeling that women writers are less important than male writers and what can save and propel them on to the bestseller list is if they produce at least one novel with very graphic violence in it to establish their credibility and prove they are not girly," she said.

The British market for crime fiction is worth more than £116m a year, with almost 21 million books sold.

Women account for more than 60 per cent of the readership with females over 55 the most avid readers.

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How many serial killer books that are bestsellers are actually "good" books and not just "good reads"?

Depends on your understanding of what makes a "good book." If you're on board with the G.K. Chesterton model, as I am, then the correct answer would be "zero."
Well, my answer is "zero," but you may enlighten me about the G.K. Chesterton model.
I'm much more interested in less violent books with interesting characters than in the kind of books so many are nowadays--carried forward, not by character, but by violence.
I'm with you, Joe. I can best describe my view using movies. When the world, my own friends and family included, were wild about Pulp Fiction because it was such a "trend setter", I watched it, but it made me feel like a bath was in order.

Like I.J. I am against censorship. I do agree, though, there is room to set a more tasteful trend. After all, the literary world belongs to us at this moment. We can shape it as we will.

If graphic elements are necessary to the story, I will employ them. I'll try to do so fearlessly, because I believe a good writer is a fearless one. Others may not like it, but that's the way I'll do it.

On the other hand, if they are merely gratuitous, I will continue to leave them out as I always have.
Right on every count, Donna. Write it the way you see it, and let the cards fall where they may.


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