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?
Character-driven, definitely. Maybe that's the problem, as most thrillers and many mysteries are plot-driven. ??
Your first examples are books meant for women readers. So, no wonder.
As for the other: there are too many books on the market, many of them doing what has been done before. You have to sift through them to find the well-written ones. Try the library for unknown authors.
Currently the publishing industry is being uber-cautious. In the last two years i've had novels go out to publishers three times and each time i got a "we really like this, but it's not exactly what we're looking for". As was said earlier, they're looking for carbon copies of books that have already sold, or at least only new ideas from well respected authors whose books will sell no matter what.
Unless you come up with something so ingenious and off the wall that it takes the breath away, i agree with Ben's comment that you may as well just write what you enjoy writing and not try and follow the market.
The mainstream publishers seem to be pumping out as many generic books as they can. I've read a couple of good indie mysteries recently, such as Unleashed by Emily Kimelman http://thetysonadams.blogspot.com/2011/05/book-review-unleashed-emi...
I think what I enjoyed was that in Unleashed the main character is a dog walker. Different.
So the trend will probably be longer term, but it will start with some indie authors who introduce us to mysteries that aren't "murder needs solving by dysfunctional or disillusioned cop". Possibly a move away from murder mystery to other crimes. Honestly though I don't know.