A continuation of my crime obsession ramble, it has come to my realization – and honestly, I don’t know how I didn’t notice before – that I have an abundance of crime novels in both my paperback and kindle library and now gravitate towards them when I am out shopping for books. I don’t necessarily pick books that follow the same formula. I tend to pick out books that I think sound intriguing and that also I believe won’t be stories that I’ll quickly figure out.
My obsession with crime, I think, goes deeper than I originally talked about. When I was in junior school, I used to get into the ‘creative writing’ sessions, almost to an obsessive degree. However, I’d get so lost in the story I was creating that when the teacher called time, I’d be in the middle of a complex plot. The easiest way to end it – in my junior mind – was to kill the characters off. They always died in incredibly gruesome ways and often were left unidentified at the end. My teacher, if I remember correctly, was understandably concerned and I remember that my parents were called into school for a ‘chat’.
Flash forward many years, I was twenty-two when I decided to give writing another go. I had tried previously but when I had taken my proud work to my parents, they’d laughed in my face at the name of my characters and I didn’t show them any of my original content until years later.
The first novel I penned was entitled ‘Mercy’ and it was about a vampire trying to overthrow a totalitarian government in the world of vampires. There was quite a bit of death, but it wasn’t exaggerated or unpleasant. (I have not been back and edited Mercy yet, it is quite a beast of a story, but I will get around to it at some point.)
The gruesome deaths came after when I started to write my four-book series involving a Homicide Detective and a Forensic Detective. The original drafts I wrote were gruesome as hell, but I have toned it down since.
It wasn’t a need to scare or traumatize that made me write about death, more that I found it interesting and the endless possibilities that were afforded by choosing to kill someone off were too good to refuse.
I took a break from reading Detective novels in between writing my own content, as I wanted to make as much of what I wrote come from my own imagination and not be influenced by what I was reading or what I was watching.
Since I have now moved past the original drafts and onto editing and rewriting, I have since reconnected to my love of crime. Looking at my Kindle library, I can see my obsession is spreading. There is not one book in my Kindle library that isn’t crime related. My paperback tbr pile has more diversity in it.
Within the sub-genre’s of crime, I mainly read:
- Detective Thrillers
- Psychological Thrillers
- Paranormal Thrillers
- Suspense Thrillers
9 times out of 10, the thriller aspect is tied into the Detective aspect regardless of whether the book has advertised a Detective investigating or not. I LOVE detective thrillers, they have become my happy place but have earned me variation titles of the word ‘weirdo’ with the people I work with.
I’ve always enjoyed psychological thrillers because I think the ways the brain works are fascinating, and I find reading these books is as much fun as it is a chance to learn.
Paranormal thrillers were my gateway into the last of thrillers and the path that led me towards crime. The spookier the better – even if it gives nightmares – because you know you’ve got a good one then.
I’ve only recently got into suspense thrillers but books like ‘What You Did’ by Claire McGowan encouraged me to broaden my horizons and push myself to read more suspense books and to discover more hidden gems.
I’m currently reading the series ‘Scarlet and Ivy’ by Sophie Cleverly which is already shaping up to be full of mystery, secrets, and detective nature. It is a Children’s series aimed at 9-12-year-olds but what I’ve read of the first book so far, has made me very excited for the rest of the series.
Amazon seems to have cottoned onto what I like and continues to recommend 99p Kindle books to me. I mean really, I don’t stand a chance at all. I have tried to limit the number of books I buy, I’m successfully sticking to my ban of not buying anymore paper books until I have at least cleared a shelf of tbr books but sticking to a Kindle ban is much harder!
What I look for in a crime book:
- A strong lead who is open to growth.
- A lead who has a detailed background or struggles that don’t seem forced and unrealistic but raw and relatable.
- A good cast of background characters who grow and struggle just as much as the main character (books that explore the background characters and expand them to supporting characters are a big bonus.)
- A complex killer who is unpredictable.
- Police interaction which makes sense and reads as real – rather than sounding like an episode of CSI.
- A multitude of suspects that keep the reader guessing throughout the book.
- Crimes that span decades and involve a large pool of characters.
- Cold cases.
- A wolf among sheep.
- A sequence of events that appear so different and yet come together to reveal all in the end.
- A paranormal oddity that pulses alongside the plot but manages to stay hidden till the reveal.
- Spikes of adrenaline, anxiety and suspense as I read.
- History that should be buried or that holds an unpleasant secret.
- A plot that messes with my mind.
- A plot that makes you wonder about the people in your own life.
- A book that makes me think.
- Ordinary people becoming killers.
Honestly, I could go on and on with this list and write page after page. However, that would become boring to read, so I’ve limited myself with this list. A lot of what I buy comes from how interesting I find the book cover and I also find a lot of good books from peoples Instagram pages. I always read the blurb before I buy, in fact, if I’m buying online, I’ll read a couple of versions of the blurb to make sure that the book is something I’ll enjoy (I.e. I search Amazon, Waterstones, Kindle etc. to see the different way the book blurb is written.)
I’ve been lucky enough to have a streak of luck when it comes to crime fiction this year and have only suffered a few duds out of the masses of crime books I’ve read or stocked up on. However, we all know that there are more books out there than we could ever read!
If anyone has any crime recommendations, please let me know. I’m always looking to read something new and broaden my horizons a bit more and who better to recommend a book than a fellow bookworm?