Fans of Crime Fiction discussion

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British Crime Fiction and American Crime Fiction - their respective strengths.

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message 1: by Bill (last edited Jul 14, 2011 08:55AM) (new)

Bill Rogers (billrogers) | 4 comments Mod
As an avid reader of Crime fiction from around the world I would love to know what you think about the respective merits of American Crime Fiction and British Crime Fiction. I'm not forgetting all those others - Scandinavian, Icelandic, French, Italian, etc... But best to start somewhere.

I'm hoping we'll discover some new writers along the way.

Who want's to kick off?


message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (margaretf) | 1 comments Bill, this is a big question!I'm thinking about it ...


message 3: by Bill (new)

Bill Rogers (billrogers) | 4 comments Mod
I'm not surprised. What makes it tricky for me is the sub genres within American and British Fiction. Some of the more recent Brit' 'tartan noir' for example have a lot more in common with American CF than the relatively quiet, sensitive, and wordy who dunnits and police procedurals that have traditionally characterised our novels.


message 4: by Dick (new)

Dick Peterson (dickpeterson) The American crime landscape is strewn with more guns. The American culture has always been a bit maverick when compared to British culture, and I think that bleeds into the criminal part of the American culture. I know Bond books and films are spy stories, but they generally center around Bond stopping someone from doing criminal things at odds with what's best for society. In those stories, martinis are shaken, not stirred. In American crime stories, people are BOTH shaken and stirred. Here's a tip. Greg Iles is a great American suspense author. Several of his books concern a character named Penn Cage. Three now exist and should be read in this order: The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, The Devil's Punchbowl. The latter one is one of the grittiest stories you'll ever read. Two of the meanest bad guys you'll ever meet walk the pages of that book. Iles has two new volumes coming out in 2012. The number of words in them are to equal three of his normal books.


message 5: by Bill (last edited Jul 30, 2011 04:36AM) (new)

Bill Rogers (billrogers) | 4 comments Mod
As a British writer - not as a citizen I hasten to add - I've sometimes wished gun ownership was a part of our culture too. It would make it so much easier to write fast action super hero based crime thrillers. It's not so easy to pursue a serial killer or a gang boss, armed only with fine words and bare knuckles. This, I think, is why we tend to try to compensate by investing a lot more in characterisation, reflection, back stories,prose and plot. It doesn't make them any better necessarily, only different. It's not just British crime fiction that travels this route though. Some of the best Italian based writers in the genre - Andrea Camilleri, Donna Leon - feature gentle,wise,and world weary protagonists who manage to unravel complex plots against a background of systemic corruption, while barely breaking sweat - except when eating mouthwatering plates of pasta. Thanks for the heads up about Greg Iles by the way. I have heard him mentioned but now I shall definitely get hold of The Quiet Game.


message 6: by Karl (last edited Mar 19, 2014 08:26PM) (new)

Karl I have started reading Australian crime fiction. I would like to point out an author named Garry Disher. His stories about Wyatt, the cool, ever-evasive thief are similar in flavor to the dearly departed Donald Westlake's Stark books.

For me it is not so much about the Crime Fiction Genre itself as it is the talents of the author.

And what about R. D. Wingfield and his "Frost" books. I loved his books. a feather in the cap for the UK.

SO I guess perhaps I need a better definition of Crime Fiction.


message 7: by Bill (last edited Mar 20, 2014 07:08AM) (new)

Bill Rogers (billrogers) | 4 comments Mod
The range is so rich and diverse that proposing a definition is always a risky business. However, here is the best that I've come across so far. See what you think:

"...crime fiction is fiction in which the unravelling and detection of the truth about a crime, usually but not exclusively murder,plays the central role in the plot."

100 Must Read CRIME NOVELS - Richard Shephard and Nick Rennison ISBN 0713675845


message 8: by Karl (new)

Karl Bill wrote: "The range is so rich and diverse that proposing a definition is always a risky business. However, here is the best that I've come across so far. See what you think:

"...crime fiction is fiction ..."


In your mind then, is there a difference between Detective fiction and a Police Procedural ?


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