A Guide To Crime Thriller Novels

By Eloise Hewitt

Criminals and the transgression they commit are something that has fascinated societies for centuries. Everything from ancient mythology to the latest cinematic blockbuster has looked at the digressions of criminals and how to punish them. Despite the emergence of television, movies and video games crime thriller novels remain very influential and engaging to a wide array of readers.

Before looking at the genre it is important to think how you would define the genre. There are different types of crime thriller. One version people forget is the true crime genre. This is where a writer talks about real life murders, gangs and so forth but presents them in the manner of a detective story.

However it is not just the physical appearance. People also associate the character with a kind of world weariness. Inevitably the detective is someone who wants to fight the good fight but has become cynical. Usually the next case is the one that gives them a shot at hope and redemption.

There is also the classic noir genre. These detective novels are often about a wider conspiracy as opposed to a simple murder or set of murders. They tend to feature a world weary detective who has fallen on hard times and inevitably this case is their shot at redemption. While this is often associated with classic writers like Raymond Chandler there have been modern variations such as LA Confidential, a novel that seemed to embody a lot of the complexity and moral ambiguity that people love about the classic noir detective stories.

These stories contain a lot of the conventions we associate with the genre. They feature detectives speaking from a first person perspective, often providing witty asides to the reader as they look at the murky and morally dubious world around them. However while the detective may appear world weary there is often enough of a moral code that drives them.

Cynicism tends to be a strong part of this kind of work. However there are also more accessible works. Agatha Christie created engaging detective characters such as Miss Marple and Poirot. Unlike the noir protagonists these characters seemed more engaged with society. Despite investigating horrible murders these characters seemed to be able to maintain their dignity.

Stories about murder and criminals do not necessarily have to be heavy in tone. Writers such as Alexander McCall Smith have a more light hearted approach. Also characters such as Poirot or Miss Marple often have a more comedic approach with a lot of the fun of the story being how they interact with society around them as much as the investigation of the crime itself.

There are a lot of titles available online. Some are written by established authors. However with the rise of electronic book devices there are more opportunities to find works by undiscovered authors that are not signed with recognised publishing houses. It is also worth checking online for feedback from fellow crime fans to find the ideal title to suit your personal tastes.

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