I'm about to start a series of talks at local libraries on mystery sub-genres, and it's led me to some interesting people. I wanted to offer my audiences two authors' work as representative of each sub-genre: one very successful author and one who is just getting started but is promising. Since my reading within the mystery genre as a whole is pretty eclectic, I thought finding enough examples would be easy. I advertised for nominations in the sub-genres I'm less familiar with, meaning to read a few books and find new voices worthy of mention. I'm now swamped with possibilities in some areas and still high and dry in others.
It's very difficult to categorize, which I think we all knew. Confusion between suspense and thriller and mystery and suspense is rife. Most people don't care about exact definitions if the story's good, and that's a relief because there are woo-woo suspense mysteries with thriller tendancies if you look hard enough. And don't get me started on the differences between hard-boiled and noir or cozy and chick-lit.
Next, there are waves of popularity in writing/publishing mysteries. Ten years ago you couldn't move without tripping over a new legal thriller writer, but now all the lawyers I know are writing cozies.
Finally, of course, is the question of what's a "good" recommendation. In this case it will come down to my judgment, arbitrary but unavoidable. If I like a new author's work, I'll add him or her to my presentation. If I don't it doesn't mean a thing, because I'm just one person. However, it is my speech.
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