Sometimes, reality feels like that, lately. We've got fifteen year-old girls killing nine year-old girls 'just to see what it feels like,' mass shootings at army bases, people stabbing each other over subway seats... in short, human life seems to be cheaper than ever. As a crime writer, I wonder sometimes if I'm contributing to this, by writing murder mysteries. Has anyone else ever had this thought? Of course, justice triumphs at the end (at least, in my books it does), but are we contributing to 'violence porn' in our culture? Your opinion and thoughts, please...


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That's a good idea. I recently had a bad review that complained about, among other things, the "endless reminiscing" in one of my books.
Simplistic sells books.
I think what mystery and suspense authors do is explore society's miseries and fears and darkest possibilities and perhaps even help readers and themselves to make sense of reality's extremes.

But I don't think society is anymore fascinated with death and mayhem than in the past. People used to picnic at lynchings, you know. (And still would if they could.)
Exactly right.
Yes, but also wrong.
I think it depends on what these fifteen year-old girls have been exposed to. More likely it's reality television.
It appears to me that American crime writers are preoccupied with serial killers and thrillers. Given this subject matter, then their objective seems to be to seek to write the grossest murder methods. As you say, this IS violence porn. What I would like to read about is a protagonist seeking to do "the right thing" in the midst of an environment of violence and cruelty. An example of this kind of character is Aurelio Zen in Michael Dibdin's series of books about the Italian policeman. Another example is Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallender. Of American writers, I guess George Pelecanos and Walter Mosley come close.


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