Took me a while to find my way. I think I've got it now. Spent half an hour adding friends - couldn't figure it out - not friendship, the adding part. I did wonder for a moment whether adding friends might entail obligations like being best man at weddings or a godparent... **** This Summer, my fifth novel sees the light of day. It is a hardboiled, noir novel that some of the friends I've added have read already and been kind enough to tell me they enjoyed. I'll also be publishing a short story in BRONX NOIR - a major publication credit by my lights. But these latest two works are very different from the books I've written and will continue to write. The change has made me think. Why write noir? Perhaps a better question is whether the Western world can produce noir. My next novel is pretty bleak, but I can only imagine what someone who lived through the siege of Sarajevo or the genocide in Rwanda would think. Or people in the West Bank or Anbar Province, Iraq. Over twenty million people in the world are held as slaves. What is noir to them? Or to child soldiers? This is what usually comes to mind when I hear complaints from readers about swearing in novels - not when they say they don't like to read it. They can like or dislike anything they want and it's their dime. But sometimes you hear that the writers shouldn't write these stories with terrible things happening in them. I think to myself that I'd give up the right to write this kind of story if the world would simply oblige me by having no noir stories to tell. When noir and hardboiled is a mere matter of far-fetched imaginings, I, for one, would be willing to stop writing noir and hardboiled. Anyway, that's wht I had to say.

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Comment by DADavenport on March 15, 2007 at 1:27pm
I don't want to be lulled into complacency. I want to read stuff that stays with me, that shakes me up, that is hard to ever shove out of my mind. I want authors that take me to the depths and then give me a slender thread to haul myself back with.

Escaping is fine for some people. It's not a bad thing. But I found out as a kid that the world is not full of Ozzies and Harriets and that Gary Cooper wasn't going to ride in and make the world a safe place for the townfolks. If I wanted soft-soap in my reading I sure as hell wouldn't be hanging around this bunch!

I like having my perceptions challenged and my scope of vision widened. Crime writing and it's sub-genre does that for me. What a ride!
Comment by Steven Torres on March 15, 2007 at 12:50pm
Well, I don't say a reader shouldn't be able to escape to any kind of world he or she wants. If Bruen isn't your cup of tea, I think you're missing out on a great writer, but that's your right. I just object when people say "this or that shouldn't be written". Maybe some things shouldn't be written - I'm not the philosopher to figure that out - but cuss words and scenes of violence don't look close to the right line to draw for me.
Comment by Stephen Blackmoore on March 15, 2007 at 12:19pm
A friend of mine made a remark the other night. "People die. You make jokes about it." He's right. I have to. Whether it be making a joke about some gangbanger who was set on fire, or writing screwed up stories of cemetery love, and drug deals gone bad, it's all just a coping mechanism. I would love for the world to be all airy and light, if maybe only for a few hours, but it ain't gonna happen.
Comment by J.D. Rhoades on March 15, 2007 at 11:28am
Well said.

I frequently read postings on mystery newsgroups and boards deploring mysteries that are "too violent" or "too dark." A recent post on DorothyL mentioned that the poster just couldn't enjoy Ken Bruen's THE DRAMATIST because, and I quote, "I read to escape, and I don't want to escape to THAT world." Others just hate, hate HATE, anything in which a child is threatened, much less harmed.

I just have to shake my head. I see stuff every day, just practicing law in a small Southern town, that would cause that lady on DorothyL to just faint dead away. I represent children in abuse and neglect cases, and they get a hell of a lot more than threatened. I write about dark stuff because I see dark stuff, every day, and if I don't get at least a simulacrum of it onto the page where I feel like I have some control over it, I'd either be grimly trying to drink myself to death or I'd go ahead and put a bullet in my brain.

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