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The Crime Novel
06-10-2006, 09:05 AM
Post: #1
The Crime Novel

I's a popular genre and I read quite a few. I'm still trying to decide whether I prefer the British or the American crime novel. THe British style tends to be a bit more introspective, with more time being spent on drawing out the characters of the main players. I can imagine a lot of American readers finding them slow going. THe US crime novel tends to concentrate more on action.

The problem for me particularly with the America style, is the tendency to follow a stock formula.

Main character (usually female) a cop/forensic specialist/etc.
A series of ruthless murders.
A variety of suspects.
Main character has an on-off relationship with a man from her past, usually a cop
At the climax of the book, heroine finds herself at the mercy of the killer.
The killer confesses everything so we know what happened.
In the nick of time the killer is shot, usually by the heroine's on-off lover.
Er ... that's it.

It doesn't stop me reading them, but I always find the last 30 pages or so a disappointment, largely because the author always has to find a way of explaining every last little detail so there are no loose ends. And it's invariably the villain who inexplicably wants to tell all.

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06-10-2006, 07:04 PM
Post: #2
The Crime Novel
I read more American crime novels than than British ones simply because I was put off (probably wrongly) by the 'Whodunnit' murder mystery style most common over here....the total cop out dramatic twist at the end where suddenly cousin Bob appears on the scene...grrr...which you have no chance in hell of figuring out...I like to have a chance of guess and then read on to see if I was right...I am not disappointed when I am am I am chuffed...I have yet to find a really good British modern crime writer...I don't mind the Rebus novels but tend to read those when I have nothing else on the go as they don't grab my twisted psychy...

I agree with some of what you are saying SF re the stock old formula and I certainly don't like allot of the American crime witers because of this...not reall getting on with the Kathy Reich book Bare Bones at the mo...it just isn't going anywhere and the authors habit of leaving the end of each chapter hanging is annoying!

If you havenb't already try Karin Slaughter she grabs on the first page and doesn't let you go til the end!

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06-10-2006, 07:29 PM
Post: #3
The Crime Novel
I've recentlyread her first two books. I agree they are gripping, but they do follow the above formula.

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06-10-2006, 08:37 PM
Post: #4
The Crime Novel
survivorfan Wrote:I've recentlyread her first two books. I agree they are gripping, but they do follow the above formula.

Yes but I feel she does it better than most...

Are there any British writers you have read that match her gripability? I have yet to find one but would like to!

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07-10-2006, 07:26 AM
Post: #5
The Crime Novel
Not in the same style, no, but ones I have enjoyed and wanted to read more of are

Peter Robinson (esp his later books)
Kate Atkinson (Case Histories, her only 'crime' story I think)
Frances Fyfield
Hilary Norman

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07-10-2006, 11:46 PM
Post: #6
The Crime Novel
I saw Linda La Plante on Paul O'Grady's chat show the other day and her new book looks good.
I've not read any of hers before.
Her new book is called 'The black Dahlia'

Did she write Prime Suspect, or was that someone else?

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11-10-2006, 07:09 AM
Post: #7
The Crime Novel
Yes she did Andrea and The Black Daliha has recently been made into a film hence the publicity drive! :thumbsup:

SF...I shall scour the charity shops!

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15-10-2006, 07:16 PM
Post: #8
The Crime Novel
SF-I love the 'transporting' of the British thrillers...the language and locations, I like to see how the things are done differently, etc. My fave British mystery writers are Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, and Val McDermid.

The American thrillers can be formulaic, if you know what I mean...you kinda figure it out early and certain writers really keep the same plot with few variations. I love Michael Connelly and a couple of others that elude me at the second...but I seem to PREFER the British ones, especially since I'm dug in with this 'Inspector Banks' series find.
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I wanted to add this to your thread...I copy and pasted from the 'books I'd recommend' thread. But it is still my stand on the crime novel with the exception of Americans Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, and 3 novels written by Michael Malone..."Time's Witness", "First Lady", and "Uncivil Season", which involve the same town/re-occuring characters and are very good. Michael Malone writes other fiction (mainly Southern fiction) and I haven't found a book of his I've disliked!!(the Malone novels go in an order, so try to read them in that order...I think it's "Uncivil Seasons", "Time's Witness", and "First Lady". Double check the first 2 on Amazon.

I guess I'm Cornish...:unsure:
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19-10-2006, 02:53 AM
Post: #9
The Crime Novel
Has anyone read the new Rankin/Rebus "The Naming of the Dead"??:ohmy: I HAVE to know!!:blink: :yahoo:

I guess I'm Cornish...:unsure:
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