The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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General Chat > What do you as a reader, feel like you get out of reading a mystery , crime, or thriller book?

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Pgile5 (Pgile15) | 4 comments I love plot twists where you re reading along thinking one way and suddenly you are slammed into something you just couldnt imagine


Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 1083 comments I like it when a really good writer takes me away into his imaginary world for a few hours and engages my curiosity and love for solving a puzzle.


Cantadora Press (cantadorapress) | 2 comments I am really getting into British mysteries. I never liked Agatha Christie or any of those others, but I have a client who just got a book published that is a British mystery and I really liked it. I always have liked Ralph McInerny and semi-mystery authors like Margaret Truman and John Grisham. But after having edited and then marketed this British mystery, it just really clicked with me how much the British mindset and culture lends itself to a really good mystery. So I'm trying to find something more that might be to my liking. I saw the Tinker, Tailor,Soldier, Spy movie and actually fell asleep because it was so boring - the storyline, that is. I guess I need something a little more edgy, like a good Sherlock Holmes, but I've read all of those, too. Any ideas?

Russell D. James
James Literary Services
Cantadora Press


message 4: by Almeta (last edited Apr 14, 2012 04:09AM) (new)

Almeta (MenFromMarrs) | 176 comments Good Mysteries are like Logic Problems; all of the clues are there, I just have to use my brain to solve them.

If I pick a good one, I also inadvertently learn something. Dick Francis taught me about the horse world, Robin Cook the medical field, Margaret Truman about Washington DC, John Grisham about law, Tony Hillerman insight to tribal thoughts of the Native American, Agatha Christie of human nature, Aaron Elkins on Anthropology, Loren Estleman Detroit history, Kathy Reichs forensics, Colin Cottrell Laos culture. Gosh I just can't list them all!

From my profile:
"I don’t read mysteries to dwell on the awful things people do to one another, I enjoy the cleverness of the detective and wish that I was that clever too. So, in my reading, I tend more toward forensic and the seemingly impossible deductive thinking. But I find that even detective cats and dogs and sheep and dinosaurs and teddy bears and nursery rhyme characters are cleverer than I!

I also like books with a backdrop of something that teaches me as I go along. I don’t generally want my learning delivered in textbook form; I need to be tricked into it."


Mike Meyer | 21 comments I like to be out-thought. I read along, I guess at what is coming next, by all the clues provided, and then wham! It's back to square one again.


Beth | 331 comments Entertainment! And the brain exercise of trying to solve an interesting puzzle.


Wes (Wes50) Ditto what Beth said!


Richard (Ricoh) | 64 comments All of the above - Plus you usually get an ending, a solution that closes the book. It is a plus when the author brings back their characters and then you have a dynasty of Poirot, Morse or Rebus.


Mike Gabor (mikeyppl) Cantadora wrote: "I am really getting into British mysteries. I never liked Agatha Christie or any of those others, but I have a client who just got a book published that is a British mystery and I really liked it...."

I would recommend the following authors:
Lynda LaPlante - Anna Travis series
Peter Robinson - Alan Banks series
Val McDermid - Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series
Mark Billingham - Tom Thorne series
Elizabeth George - Inspector Lynley series

Hope you enjoy.


Wes (Wes50) Cantadora, I also recommend Elly Griffiths. I recently finished "The Crossing Places", the first book by her which I have read. I do plan to read others.


Richard (Ricoh) | 64 comments Wes wrote: "Cantadora, I also recommend Elly Griffiths. I recently finished "The Crossing Places", the first book by her which I have read. I do plan to read others."

Spot on - I've read them all - highly recommended


Katherine (madlibn) | 15 comments I like the adventure of solving the mystery - but I'm starting to think I have read too many. If I see obvious plot device or figure it out too soon, it puts me off.

I also like the background information. I read a lot of mysteries set in specific places.


Ken Consaul | 197 comments Almeta wrote: "I enjoy the cleverness of the detective and wish that I was that clever too. So, in my reading, I tend more toward forensic and the seemingly impossible deductive thinking."

There is such a thing as being too clever or, equally as distracting is being too informative. For a mystery, crime, or detective story to work, the writer has to walk a knife edge between credibility and passion for the story or character.

It's a rare mystery that keeps the bulk of readers in the dark until the very end. Even rarer is the one that doesn't leave gaping holes in deductive reasoning that confound the conclusion. When you mention writers that educate like Robin Cook or Tony Hillerman, the education is often used as sleight of hand or distraction. A mental 'ignore the man behind the curtain if you will. Many writers will spend inordinate amounts of time explaining procedures or details. I can take some of this but the usual result is the story becomes clinical and the reader is led astray from the story. I'll use Patricia Cornwell's Scapetta books as examples. In order to get from point A to point B, she seems to rely on explanations of forensic procedure or even worse technology (it gets dated quickly) to advance the resolution of the story. The characters, as a result, become less interesting and the passion takes a backseat to covering all the procedural back and forth to uncover a clue that often isn't needed.

I would much prefer to empathize with the character and can overlook some holes in the resolution of the mystery if the character is interesting enough. As an example, I'll pick Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch or Jack McEvoy. There is often a lot of 'who didn't see that coming' but the reader's interest in the characters saves the story from some gaping holes in the 'detective' parts.

Arthur Conan Doyle certainly walked the knife edge of credibility and character with Holmes. He had some good mysteries but they would have been nothing without the eccentricities of the detective.

Executive summary: I'll take character over faultless logic and airtight detection.


Brian January (brianjanuary) | 39 comments I like to read adventure thrillers strictly for entertainment--they take me away from my ordinary world and let me experience places and events far beyond my capabilities!

Brian January


Merrill Heath | 61 comments When I read trhillers I'm simply looking for entertainment and escapism. When I read mysteries I'm looking for an entertaining plot and interesting characters. When I read crime novels I'm looking for bizarre or unusual events and a sharp detective who figures it all out. But the underlying current is entertainment. It doesn't have to be too deep, just fun.

Merrill Heath


L.C. Hayden (LCHayden) | 3 comments I love to read thrillers/mysteries because I can escape into a world completely different than mine. There, I can be a dare devil, the mysterious dame, the undercover sleuth and yes, even the villain. It just feels good to be able to escape!


Shaun Ryan | 10 comments Well, I'm more of a crime guy than mystery or thrillers, though I've read a ton of both. To me, crime explores the dark side of humanity while often also revealing the light; the genre showcases the paradox of being human in a gritty, realistic, and undeniable way. My favorite authors (in any genre) go above and beyond the issue of crime and the solving (or not) of it.

And character is king, being the window through which I experience the author's invented world. As an example, I enjoy Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar books more than his other thrillers, because of the characters.


Christine US (ChristineUS) | 10 comments Almeta wrote: "Good Mysteries are like Logic Problems; all of the clues are there, I just have to use my brain to solve them.
I absolutely agree. Mysteries offer me a chance to use my brain and stretch my mind/imagination while reading.

There's a time for light fluff reading, but there is also a time when actually leaving your brain turned on is a good thing.



E.M. Powell | 101 comments For me, character is king: Bosch, Isles/Rizzoli, Dexter, Brennan. Without these leads to hang the stories on, it would all be just formulaic and completely uninteresting. Yes, of course there's a formula, but it's how these folks inhabit that formula. And as other posters have commented, we perhaps forgive some of the gaps because we like our characters.


Ken Consaul | 197 comments Elaine wrote: "For me, character is king: Bosch, Isles/Rizzoli, Dexter, Brennan. Without these leads to hang the stories on, it would all be just formulaic and completely uninteresting. Yes, of course there's a f..."

A succinct executive summary of my diatribe above.
+1


Anne (annalese) | 606 comments I love the thrill, I love the journey of the crime and the characters involved , and I love all the threads tied up at the end. I remember reading a book a long time ago and one thread was left unresolved I can,t remember the name of the book but that really annoyed me .


Ken Consaul | 197 comments Anne wrote: "one thread was left unresolved I can,t remember the name of the book but that really annoyed me."

Betting you didn't like the ending of 'The Sopranos' then, either?


Donna J (DonnaJ22) Mike wrote: "Cantadora wrote: "I am really getting into British mysteries. I never liked Agatha Christie or any of those others, but I have a client who just got a book published that is a British mystery and ..."

I totally agree with you Mike in regardsVal McDermidTony Hill series, fantastic reading.


Caroline | 16 comments I love mystery and crime thrillers because of the plot twists. Good mysterys and crime thrillers also make me think of the book after I take a break from reading. It also sharpens my mind and the puzzles that the author writes.


Jeff Shelby As several folks have already mentioned, character is the most important thing to me. I love seeing seeing characters pushed into doing something that they normally wouldn't otherwise do and then having to deal with the consequences of their actions.


Barbara (Cinnabar) | 1783 comments I like to see the bad guys/villains get theirs - for example, the crooks get caught and the hoity toitly snobs are brought down. It makes it seem like there's some justice in the world (at least in books).


Ken Lang (KenLang) This has been really informative--especially as a true crime author getting ready to start writing his first crime novel. I've been wondering if readers are more focused on adventures, plot twists, characters, etc... and your answers have really shed some light for me.

Thank you all!

Ken Lang


Theresa (tbearcookie) | 505 comments Ken wrote: "Almeta wrote: "I enjoy the cleverness of the detective and wish that I was that clever too. So, in my reading, I tend more toward forensic and the seemingly impossible deductive thinking."

There i..."


I agree! I really enjoy reading anything with Harry Bosch in it!


Susan Oleksiw | 65 comments I just dropped in on this discussion--I'm new to this--but I found the comments very interesting and the list of writers even better. I used to read almost exclusively British mysteries, and found a lot of variety in them. I read now a real mix of genres, but still enjoy British mysteries. Cantadera's original comment about learning "how much the British mindset and culture lends itself to a really good mystery" really intrigued me. I'd love to hear more of his thinking on that.


David Robinson (dwrob) | 3 comments I wondered about that too, but as a Brit, I have to admit we are quirky lot. Everything revolves round tea and cakes, croquet on the lawn and little old ladies shoving their nose into crimes without getting beaten to death.

Our police are not armed, but that’s not a problem because when they come up against armed villains, the gunmen invariably turn out to be rotten shots, and when confronted with incontrovertible evidence, the suspect breaks down and admits everything.

I don’t mind this because when I read a mystery I enjoy the intellectual challenge, and for me the great pleasure is second guessing the perpetrator and having all the threads neatly closed at the end.


Susan Oleksiw | 65 comments David, very droll (so, very British).


Izzy Holmes | 21 comments Cantadora wrote: "I am really getting into British mysteries. I never liked Agatha Christie or any of those others, but I have a client who just got a book published that is a British mystery and I really liked it...."

You've got me thinking about the best British thrillers. I daren't try John Le Carre as I went to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy twice and fell asleep both times. Graham Greene was very enjoyable and I read a book called Uncle Silas recently which was sinister.


message 33: by M. (new)

M. Myers (MRuth) | 92 comments One of the things I love about well-done mysteries & thrillers is the sense of good triumphing over evil. The triumph isn't always complete, but it's always a welcome uplift. (Maybe because in the real world we're not always sure the good guys win?)


Ethan | 229 comments I love when a mystery or thriller surpasses what I expect to get out of it on an emotional level. To me, the best mysteries are the ones that have intricately drawn characters who must face the mystery. Recent authors who have done this for me include Michael Robotham, Tana French, Dennis Lehane.


Joanne  (JoanneGanley) | 5 comments Everything above. Most of all the 'social commentary'.


Susan Oleksiw | 65 comments The interesting thing about mysteries for me is the way the story explores what people believe is right or wrong, and how crimes are resolved. The story has to tap into my feelings about justice for me to be satisfied.


Marni T. (MarniT) | 9 comments Pgile5 wrote: "I love plot twists where you re reading along thinking one way and suddenly you are slammed into something you just couldnt imagine"

DITTO!!!


Marni T. (MarniT) | 9 comments Almeta wrote: "Good Mysteries are like Logic Problems; all of the clues are there, I just have to use my brain to solve them.

If I pick a good one, I also inadvertently learn something. Dick Francis taught me a..."


WHAT A GREAT COMMENT, AND YOU ARE SO CORRECT!!


Marni T. (MarniT) | 9 comments I receive the "whodunnit?" challenge with relish. I love clues that drop just a hint, but don't give too much away. As someone else commented last month, I think it was, a good mystery writer teaches you something as well as entertaining you. I use tons of the information I pick up in my own writing. I read mysteries voraciously, because I like to write them, so I'm reading AND studying the author's style of writing: interesting narrative, catchy dialogue, well-described scenes with good detail, but leaving enough out for the reader's imagination to kick in the rest; that's true of characters, as well. What I concentrate on the most is the author's development of the main character: how unique is he, what quirks does he have, what language does he use, what revealing personality traits does he have, and is he trite. It's fascinating to me. I can tell immediately now if I'm going to like the book or not, if it "grabs" me. If not, I now put it aside. I used to feel compelled to finish it. Why? Thank God I'm free of that!!!


Marni T. (MarniT) | 9 comments Theresa wrote: "Ken wrote: "Almeta wrote: "I enjoy the cleverness of the detective and wish that I was that clever too. So, in my reading, I tend more toward forensic and the seemingly impossible deductive thinkin..."

Oh my gosh, I LOVE Hieronymous Bosch!!!!Sorry, I get excited about Harry. What a wonderful main character. The question has been asked: Harry Bosch is getting old now. Where is his future headed? I really want to know the answer to that, Mr. Connelly.


Marni T. (MarniT) | 9 comments Harry Bosch: For anyone who loves Hieronymous Bosch as much as I do, there are tons of links under his name. Wikipedia has his biography, background, defining traits, experiences, career history, Internal Affairs Investigations against him, and so much more. There are also links to Micky Haller and Jack McEvoy, Connelly's other main characters. It's fascinating information for a true Harry Bosch fan. Bosch is an amazing main character for the twenty-plus years of his lifespan in novels so far. You are my hero as an author, Mr. Connelly.


J.A. Schneider (JASchneider) | 15 comments I am so loving this discussion. Falling asleep now, it's late, but I'll comment tomorrow.

CanNOT fall asleep without reading & *re-reading* my favorite mysteries & thrillers.

Till soon, new wonderful friends...


Daniel K Munroe (DanielKMunroe) | 6 comments M. wrote: "One of the things I love about well-done mysteries & thrillers is the sense of good triumphing over evil. The triumph isn't always complete, but it's always a welcome uplift. (Maybe because in th..."


Daniel K Munroe (DanielKMunroe) | 6 comments I couldn't have said it better myself! DKM


Lori Baldi I'm surprised that PD James is not mentioned here up to now. Ms James has a way of making her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries very dense and uses the more minor characters in surprising ways. I enjoy her stories because they go in such unexpected places. I pick up other writers because of the different settings that are used.


Charles A detective story is about the search for and deployment of knowledge -- learning about the world, what to do with that which you have learned: the use of power, but also a moral quest. Recent stories have dealt with modern worries such as relative truth, moral ambiguity, the failure of closure (a tough one for a detective story). Detective stories stand with the best of literature -- perhaps not as subtle as Conrad or Faulkner, or as nuanced as James, but certainly the equal of Dickens or the great myth cycles. They are also unequaled as introductions to these topics: practically my first reading on my own was a series called Freddy the Pig, and I have never forgotten it.


Susan from MD | 58 comments For me, it depends upon whether it is a "one off" or a series or a detective whose stories I've read before. If it is sort of a stand-alone book, then I'm all about the puzzle, the case, trying to solve the crime, trying to guess what happens next.

When it's a series I've read (like the Poirot or Dalgliesh books), I sort of feel like I'm part of the team. Since I've gotten to know the characters over a few books, I like to "help" them think things through! Yes, I'm still trying to solve the case, but I want to be part of it. For books in which the characters are a bit more social, like Lippman's Tess or Grafton's Millhone), I sort of feel like a pal who they bring along to help work it out.


message 48: by Janet (last edited May 18, 2012 06:06PM) (new)

Janet (Janet949) | 8 comments Ken wrote: "This has been really informative--especially as a true crime author getting ready to start writing his first crime novel. I've been wondering if readers are more focused on adventures, plot twists,..."

Ken, a newly discovered favorite of mine is Miles Corwin, a former crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. His first work of fiction was last year's "Kind of Blue." One of the things I liked best about it was the descriptions of real police detective methodology, i.e. the crime being solved through good, solid police work. That and a really interesting main character, of course. His second novel just came out a couple of months ago (which I haven't read yet). Good luck with your book. I hope you'll keep all of us here on Goodreads updated with your progress. - Janet


Marilyn Maya (Mayaswords) That is a good question. I am 61 and always have been drawn to this genre. When I was younger I read Christie and the Perry Mason series (all of them) and graduated to the female detectives like Grafton or a good male one like Dagliesh. I now like pychological thrillers like Ruth Rendell, Frances Fyfield, and Kellerman. I don't like to figure out who "done it" I like to soak in the excitement and be surpised at the ending. What I get out of it feels like a vacation without having to leave my house. Reading mysteries makes me happy


Susan Oleksiw | 65 comments I didn't start reading crime fiction until I was an adult, in graduate school (must be something about graduate school), and then I read voraciously. I look for a good story well told, with a genuine understanding of what happens to people under stress, faced with difficult or impossible challenges. Most of us live fairly quiet, predictable lives, and in crime fiction we explore parts of ourselves we wouldn't otherwise experience, because a good book really is an experience of life.


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The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group

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Books mentioned in this topic

A Dark-Adapted Eye (other topics)
A Death in Vienna (other topics)
Vienna Blood (other topics)
Fatal Lies (other topics)
Murder in the Sentier (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Val McDermid (other topics)
Ken Lang (other topics)
Michael Robotham (other topics)
Tana French (other topics)
Dennis Lehane (other topics)