Crime Detective Mystery Thriller Group discussion

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message 1: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Why crime thrillers? Mark Rubinstein, author of Mad Dog Justice, answers this question: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-ru...

Are you a writer? Why crime thrillers?

Do you read it? (Well, of course, you're here!) Why?


message 2: by Reacherfan (last edited Mar 03, 2016 11:18PM) (new)

Reacherfan | 17 comments Why do I read crime novels? It varies with the sub-genre. Some I read for the fascinating characters, cultural immersion, and the puzzle of the mystery. Others I read for the excitement, the thrill ride of beating the clock, or getting to the bad guy/gal before they are beyond reach or they commit another crime.

Most of the books Mark Rubinstein cited were pure crime novels, not mystery though mystery might be part of it. He has segregated Crime novels to a small part of a larger whole. Does Alex Rutledge match up with Harry Bosch? No, yet both are crime novels. I think Jack Reacher would, but her more action thriller than mystery.

Crime thriller is so vague, and he cites such diverse novels, from police procedurals to vengeance style, I'm not sure what authors to choose for the category. Joseph Finder? Baldacci - or only some of his? Child? James Lee Burke? Or only Jack Kerley? Robert Crais?

Frankly, I see his point about reality and the sense 'it could happen to me'. Certainly Andrew Gross uses exactly that kind of trope. But getting involved with characters does not require 'real world' sense, because I assure you, my life has no experiences that match up with Harry Bosch. Gross hits closer to home, but he's not the writer Connelly is. In the end, getting drawn in does not require the 'familiar' in setting as much as it does in character. And that's the author's real skill. Creating characters as well as interesting and intense plots that people can connect with. So Middle Earth gets just as real as Harry Bosch's LA or John Maddox Roberts' Rome in his historic SPQR mysteries.


message 3: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments I find the genre definition thing quite difficult and sometimes irritating. Books I would consider as mysteries are described as thrillers, some police procedurals are mysteries to me, and some psychological mysteries are really murder mysteries with little if any of a psychological element in them.

I guess the definition is in the eye of the beholder on the one hand and the eye of the publisher on the other who is looking to maximise sales rather than necessarily accurately defining (in my humble opinion!) the genre.

Needless to say I enjoy all Connelly books, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Burke, John Sandford, Peter Robinson, Peter James., Nicci French.........and so on, so I'll just keep on reading and containing my irritation!!


message 4: by Ginny (new)

Ginny Mahal (goodreadscomginny_mahal) | 6 comments Hey, L.A. - Try Tana French, Ian Rankin and Denise Mina -


message 5: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Hi Ginny, I like Ian Rankin but haven't tried Tana French or Denise Mina - will give them a go! Thanks.


message 6: by Ginny (new)

Ginny Mahal (goodreadscomginny_mahal) | 6 comments Hey - L.A. - also Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series. I'm not terribly fond of her books in which he is not the protagonist.


message 7: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Another one for the list, thanks.


message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 114 comments These 'genres' seem purely arbitrary to me & till recently I simply regarded them all as 'mystery stories'. For me tho a classic mystery involves finding who did it & a thriller features hare breath scapes tho you usually know the identity of the bad hats. Many recent mystery stories have two villains, one known pretty much from the start & one only @ the end. Either villain or both may try murderous attempts on the principal character, which also puts the mystery in the thriller class too.


message 9: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Interesting view of genre definitions Bill and i agree with you. Problem is though, where do Police procedurals fit in? I'd say they could also be mysteries or thrillers (depending on pace and escape levels). Also i like your views about the bad hats - a big part of many mysteries is whether or not they will get caught and if so how and when - and by who - and what will happen to them!


message 10: by Harriet (new)

Harriet (harrietstay) | 39 comments Hi L.A. and Bill -- Eons ago I was the editor/publisher of Mystery News periodical plus a member of MWA. MYSTERY and CRIME are the established terms of the overall genre (as opposed to Science Fiction or Romance, for instance). All the other terms are considered to be a sub-genre, including thriller. By definition, a mystery is one that contains a significant crime, more often murder, but there are some books where there is no murder. Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block have mystery books featuring burglars. It is convenient to have/use sub-genres because everyone has a personal preference.

I suspect publishers caught on to the fact more people were attracted to thrillers so they started naming every mystery a thriller. Another ploy for shelf-stocking was the use of "novel," therefore the book would be placed in the fiction and not mystery section. This is most notable in libraries. In 1993 Nevada Barr's first book had Mystery on the cover; the later ones have Novel.

Some books are difficult to define. My husband prefers historical books. So, where do we mark the line of time? Books set in the 1800s could feature a policeman as the protagonist. Is this a police procedural or a historical mystery? Mystery News, as we inherited it, classified books into sub-genres. I tried to imagine what was more important for our audience. Took my best shot. As for thriller, that was the most difficult to define because I didn't want it to become a catchall. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is what I'd call a thriller; the same for The Innocent by Harlan Coben, just two examples.

Hope this helps. I've been reading mysteries for over fifty years, as many of you may have, and the most important aspect of the book is the quality of the writing. Always will be.


message 11: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Hi Harriet - good to hear from an 'insider' on this. I know you're absolutely right about writing quality - for me (selfishly) the issue is more about finding new authors and books by using the classification systems of on-line book sellers.

I can see how in book shops the classification might help publishers but there the buyers can walk along the different shelves to browse - more easily I think than if you're looking on line.

The other thing (at least for me) is that in book shops it is not unusual to go there for a little R & R, walking round, looking, relaxing, pulling the occasional title off the shelf to see more than the spine. That way, it is easier to end up with what you were looking for I think than trying to 'browse' on line.

This was how I ended up with the Martin Beck series - I came across 4 in my local book shop (in downtown Mevagissey), had never of the Martin Beck character or Sjowell & Wahloo (authors) thought they looked interesting and boy was I right! After galloping through the first 4 I asked the bookshop guys to track down the other 6.


message 12: by Ginny (new)

Ginny Mahal (goodreadscomginny_mahal) | 6 comments Where is Mevagissey?


message 13: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments It's an old small fishing town on the south coast of Cornwall in the UK. (it was the first town in UK to have street lights powered by Pilchard oil!) I live in Gorran Haven - on the coast around 3 miles as the gull flies from Mevagissey.


message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 114 comments Oh how I envy you!


message 15: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments 'Tis not bad at all in these parts!


message 16: by Ginny (new)

Ginny Mahal (goodreadscomginny_mahal) | 6 comments Sounds lovely, L.A.!


message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 114 comments Sounds like a classic mystery story setting. We read John Bude's Cornish Coast Murder in the Kindle English Mystery group awhile ago.


message 18: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Funny you should say that! Couldn't agree more - sorry for the plug, don't normally do this - our Rogue Flamingo Rogue Flamingo by L.A. Kent is set in these parts, and Broken Dove just down the coast. Great place to write about as well as to live in.


message 19: by Bill (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 114 comments Just nominated it for Kindle English Book group read. If I'm not mistaken, tha cover fowl is an American not a European flamingo.


message 20: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 88 comments Wow, thanks for the nomination Bill. As for the bird, I'm not sure whether it is a Lesser or Greater Flamingo - they're both found in Europe, some live and breed here, more migrate from Africa.


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Crime Detective Mystery Thriller Group

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Books mentioned in this topic

Mad Dog Justice (other topics)
Rogue Flamingo (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Mark Rubinstein (other topics)