Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Articles on Crime/Detective Fiction

I came across two articles recently that I think mystery fans should read. Love to hear your comments. The first article is on the State of the Crime novel by Jason Pinter. The second is Sarah Weinman's on How to Freshen up a Detective Series.

Jason Pinter in The Huffington Post on the State of the Crime Novel asked six crime fiction reviewers to weigh in with their thoughts on the Crime Novel.

I've been blogging at the Huffington Post for nearly a month now, and I haven't yet touched on my bread and butter, my passion and my current profession: the Crime Novel. I'm a crime addict, a thriller writer, a lover of everything that goes bump (and bang, and slash, and boom) in the night. Yet as a former editor I'm fascinated not only in the writing and craft of crime novels, but how they reflect our culture and how our culture inspires these books. I love to know who to read, who to watch for, who people are reading and why. From James Crumley to James Patterson, from Patricia Highsmith to Patricia Cornwell, from Dennis Lehane to Denis Johnson, crime novels have been responsible for some of the most beloved (and loathed) characters of our time, while telling some of the most important stories and peeling back society's flesh to reveal its bare bones. Crime novels can keep us entertained during a long plane ride, or comment on the most relevant issues of the day. Sometimes they do both. Read the rest of the article here.

Sarah Weinman's column Dark Passages in yesterday's Los Angeles Times: How to freshen up a detective series.

One of the hardest tasks a crime writer faces is how to keep a long-running series fresh. The worst-case scenario is when authors let their detective run amok far longer than necessary, leading to an exasperated fan base that buys new installments out of grudging loyalty. Case in point: The bite and vigor of Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series has diminished into softened decrepitude, with the Boston private eye more content to sit around and lob gentle sallies at his psychologist lady love Susan Silverman (and marvel at the ones he gets in return). Others know when to quit, such as Ian Rankin, who cut his Inspector Rebus opus after 20 books with "Exit Music." Continue reading here.

Sarah Weinman blogs about crime and mystery fiction at Dark Passages appears monthly at

1 comment:

Chris Well said...

Hi, Janet - you need to fix the link pointing to "How to Freshen Up a Detective Series." I Googled the title and found it (but the commenting system won't let me share the link here).