Thank you to Kerrie for hosting the Alphabet in Crime Fiction
When you read crime fiction, you are bound to come across a spot of blood – or a haemorrhage – quite often. And it seems that those of my friends who never read crime fiction believe blood and death is all there is to it.
But we know better, of course. So much depends on which subgenre you read –if you prefer hard-boiled thrillers set in cities or the cosy village puzzles. But I have hardly met a blogger who is satisfied if there is nothing to the story than violence.
Still, all categories seem to have embarked on an arms race, meaning that one body is no body. Apparently some people – the publishers? – the readers? – the writers? – demand more blood and gore than a decade ago.
Or am I wrong?
NB: you have four days left to join my competition.
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I think many crime fiction novels these days don't hesitate to describe the actual act of violence, whereas in the cozies of a generation or more ago the violence had already been committed and what your "saw" was the aftermath
You know, I haven't thought about the question of more blood in modern books. I love cozies, but the can become a little too cute if the author isn't careful, perhaps a little blood to go with the body keeps things more intense.
Dorte - Oh, interesting question! In my opinion, there really is more gore than there was in books. Or perhaps it would be better to say that there are more acts of violence. It's not that there was no blood in crime fiction novels during, say, the Golden Age, but I think there was, in general, a lot less focus on it.
Hmm, now you have asked the question - yes, I agree there is probably more blood, guts and gore in books today. With so many crime novels being made into films and tv series and the average viewer demanding more blood etc I think this has a lot to do with it.
I have a fairly low tolerance for gore, and when it gets too intense I skip over those parts. (I often close my eyes during movies for the same reason.) I think there's a way to depict violence without getting too graphic, and I think it usually makes for better quality writing.
You pose a great question -- are readers demanding more gore? I would love to know the answer and I can't help but wonder if it's a chicken and egg thing -- more gore is what's being offered and if the story is good readers tolerate the gore. Are writers trying to compete with films that have gotten more graphic? I'm asking more questions and not answering yours at all!
I read one of Jim Thompson's novels, The Killer Inside Me. It was published in 1952. I loved the book, but it was too graphic in parts. So maybe the "market" for graphic violence isn't new, it's just expanded?
No, you're right. Even cosy writers need a few dead bodies to fill their pages. I put in at least three in my novels and yes, I do add a bit of gore for my readers even though it scares me to write it. Great alphabet post.
I'm new to crime reading so I can't really compare to a decade ago. I don't like the gory, violent bits, but usually the writer is a great writer. In a way it compensates. Mostly, I skip those graphic scenes; if it's too much I'll toss the book and seek out a cosy. :D
I don't read crime fiction exclusively, so I guess that's why I haven't seen the increase. I don't mind some blood and gore, but I leaned years ago when reading too many graphic serial-killer novels that I had to intersperse "other" stuff in with them to keep from getting bogged down with "dark" feelings. The method still works for me.
Thank you for all your input and interesting comments.
And I agree with Clarissa; even in a cosy you´ll have to kill off more than one person, or some readers will think it is too quiet.
Speaking of blood and gore (in some parts only) - Here's my crime book review and giveaway: Delirious
You do have a point. There is too much of Blood and Gore nowadays.
Here is my Crime Fiction Alphabet: B post!
Interesting. I do think crime novels these days are bloodier and more gory compare to the old days at least compare to Agatha Christie's and Conan Doyle's perhaps its because of the society? I don't think readers during Christie's time felt comfortable reading her books if there were too graphic, unlike we are today.
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