I have often found crime novels to be listed among book bloggers’ «guilty pleasures» and more often than not I have wondered why would someone who generally loves books feel guilty reading a good suspense novel. It’s true, crime, mystery or detective are often poorly written, superfluous and/or shallow. But on the other hand, there are some really good detective novels out there! And they would require a whole other blog post to talk about them.
The thing is detective, mystery, crime novels and thrillers are just so many and many authors have even admitted of hiring ghostwriters for their books. But which literary genre does not have such examples of badly written, shallow prose which makes you cringe? All of them do, I am positive on that. So why feel guilty for reading -and loving- crime novels?
I really don’t and here are some reasons I read them with pleasure:
- They are definitely better than bad television.
- They have plots, plot twists, flash backs, interesting characters (usually) and (always, guaranteed) a lot of passion.
- They do not focus much on romantic relationships which can cause anxiety to an already depressed person (such as love stories, tales of long lost lovers and despair) and deal instead with facts. In fact I think they are the perfect genre to read when recovering from emotional trauma or when going through a rough patch in your private or business life. Because:
- They demand your attention in a cold, scientific way: find the killer, the motive, save the intended victim and so on and so forth. No drama for you, only for the heroes.
- They can keep you hooked and don’t dwell much on pointless descriptions of scenery and the heroes’ inner thoughts and feelings – they somehow acknowledge that this is not why we read them and it should be left to the grand masters of storytelling and the classics.
- They are often exotic in a refreshing kind of way: they take you to places you might or might not have been as every other good fiction novel does. (I have come to know all about Stockholm archipelago with all these scandi thrillers I’ve read lately)
So where I’m going with this is: there are badly written and beautifully written books in all literary genres.
Just choose your poison wisely :)
Do you agree or do you consider crime fiction a lesser kind of literature?