Category Archives: Thomas Harris

I Can’t Do What Ten People Tell Me to Do*

An interesting comment exchange with crime writer and fellow blogger E. Michael Helms has got me thinking about the sorts of stories authors write. On the one hand, authors have ideas for stories they want to tell, and ways in which they’d like to tell them. On the other, there’s the reality of what publishers, editors, and readers want.

For understandable reasons, many publishers concentrate on themes and sub-genres that are selling well. And that can mean that there’s pressure on authors to write books in those sub-genres and with those themes. For instance, after the success of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, the serial killer novel became very popular, and a number of writers created books that featured serial killers. And there are plenty of readers who enjoy serial killer novels. There’d been novels featuring serial killers since long before the publication of Harris’ novel. But after that novel became a best-seller, it’s no surprise that publishers saw what the market was buying, and that most likely had an impact on what authors wrote.

At the beginning of the Golden Age of crime fiction, there were established ‘rules’ (S.S. Van Dine, anyone?) for writing a whodunit. Some of those rules (such as the ones related to ‘playing fair’ with the reader) still make sense. But those rules arguably made for the expectation of a certain sort of plot, certain sorts of suspects, and the like. And books like that were (at least at the time) successful. Some of Agatha Christie’s first work, for instance, followed the expectations publishers and readers had for whodunits. Of course, as Christie fans can tell you, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd flouted those rules. And so did several other novels she wrote. What’s interesting is that she got a lot of criticism at the time for not writing the sort of novel everyone expected her to write.

There’ve been many highly talented Scandinavian writers whose work’s been out there for a while and been well-regarded. But with the success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, Scandinavian crime fiction became more and more popular worldwide. This arguably meant that a lot of Scandinavian authors who hadn’t gotten as much notice were now getting more attention, and in that sense, the push for more Scandinavian crime fiction was a positive thing for the sub-genre. It also meant more pressure for translation, and that’s had an impact, too.

With the success of novels such as Julia Crouch’s (e.g. Cuckoo and The Long Fall), publishers began to see that people wanted to read what we now call domestic noir.  There was an eager market for novels that explored the dysfunction that can take place in families. This meant that people who wrote domestic noir had more opportunities for sales and visibility. And it wouldn’t be surprising to me if it also meant that there was more pressure to create that sort of a plot. After all, lots of people do enjoy reading domestic noir.

We might say a similar thing about some of the other trends that we’ve seen in crime fiction. For instance, once publishers saw that dysfunctional main characters (I’m thinking, for instance, of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor) were selling well, there might easily have been pressure on authors to create characters like that. And many people do enjoy reading about them.

And that’s the thing. When publishers offer books that people want to read, we could argue that’s a very positive outcome of paying attention to what sells. And, of course, it’s good for business. So, on several levels, certain kinds of pressure on authors isn’t at all surprising.

I wonder, though, what sort of impact that has on people who don’t write books that follow best-sellers’ models? If an author is already very successful, it may not have as much impact. But for ‘no-names,’ it may very well mean that there’s a lot of pressure to do a certain sort of character, or novel.

It’s important to note that, no matter what sub-genre, main character, or plot line an author chooses, the key is to write an engaging story that readers want. That’s arguably the secret behind the success of authors like Christie, who created well-enough written stories that people stopped caring whether they followed the ‘official’ rules. I’m sure you could list dozens more authors, both classic/Golden-Age and more modern, who’ve done the same thing. A well-written story is a well-written story.

That said, though, I do think about the impact of best-seller topics and lists on writers. After all, if you want to sell a lot of books, you need to write books that publishers want to market. And you want to write what people want to read. Does that influence what you write?

If you’re a writer, how do you balance writing what you really want to write with the reality of what publishers say and the market says? If you’re a publisher, how do you leave the proverbial door open for writers who do something different, but still respect your need to make smart business decisions?

Thanks, Michael, for the inspiration. Now, folks, speaking of good writing, may I suggest you check out Michael’s blog. And do try his ‘Mac’ McClellan novels. You won’t regret it.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, E. Michael Helms, Julia Crouch, Ken Bruen, S.S. Van Dine, Stieg Larsson, Thomas Harris

Many a Thing She Ought to Understand*

Many people begin their careers as trainees. They’re supposed to watch and learn, and they’re supposed to do as they’re asked. Of course, each situation is a little different; but, for instance, student teachers are limited in the amount of autonomy they have for much of their student teaching experience. Medical students are supposed to work only under the close eye of their supervising doctor. There are, of course, lots of other examples.

It’s not easy to be a trainee, if you think about it. You may have brilliant ideas, but you still have to learn how things are done, you still have to work with others, and you still have to be open to doing an awful lot of learning. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and even disheartening at times, especially when you make a big mistake. But it’s a really important time in professional development. And it’s interesting how often this context shows up in crime fiction.

For instance, Robin Cook’s first major novel, Coma, is the story of a third-year medical student, Susan Wheeler, who is in training at Boson Memorial Hospital. When she discovers some patients went into comas during their surgeries, she begins to ask questions. She soon learns that this was the result of tampering with the patients’ oxygen lines and looks into the matter further. As she does, she finds herself in grave danger, as there are some ugly truths she uncovers. This is a thriller, but it also depicts the lives of medical students and their supervisors. Admittedly, the book was published in 1977, and there have been many changes in medicine in the last 40 years or so. But the essential roles the characters play, and the uncertainties and challenges of being a trainee, haven’t changed that much.

In Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, we are introduced to FBI trainee Clarice Starling. The FBI is looking for a serial killer they’ve dubbed ‘Buffalo Bill,’ and they think they have a way to find him. He is a former patient of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a noted, gifted psychiatrist. But Lecter is currently imprisoned in Baltimore’s State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. So, anyone who interacts with him may be at risk. Starling is chosen for the job, which does not exactly thrill some people who think that a trainee is not the right choice for this assignment. Still, she takes up her duties, and goes to visit Lecter. The two begin a dialogue, and Lecter agrees to help the FBI with the search for ‘Buffalo Bill.’ But he imposes a condition. For everything he tells Starling, she will have to share a personal secret. It’s a risky psychological game as the two pursue their agendas, and it doesn’t help matters that there’s still a killer on the loose.

Pablo De Santis’ Enigma of Paris introduces us to Sigmundo Salvatrio, son of a Buenos Aires shoemaker. He wants more than anything to be a detective, so he is thrilled to learn that he’s been accepted at the Academy for Detectives, run by world-famous detective Renato Craig. Craig is the co-founder of an international group of detectives known as The Twelve, and this group is scheduled to make a presentation at the upcoming Paris World’s Fair of 1889. Illness forces Craig to cancel his plans to attend the event, so he sends Salvatrio in his place. Salvatrio meets the other members of The Twelve, including the group’s other founder, Viktor Arkazy. Then, another member, Louis Dargon, is murdered, and Salvatrio works with Arkazy to find the killer. Throughout the novel, we see the roles that Salvatrio and the other detectives’ apprentices play, and how those roles are impacted by their trainee status.

We first meet Tony Hillerman’s Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Manuelito in The Fallen Man. In that novel, she is a rookie trainee in the Navajo Tribal Police’s Special Investigations Unit. In one plot thread of this story, the unit is tasked with getting to the truth about a series of cattle thefts. On the one hand, Manuelito knows very well that she is ‘the new kid,’ and has a lot to learn. On other, she learns some important things about the case, and decides to take some initiative. And, in the end, the unit learns who is responsible for the thefts. Manuelito’s need to balance her role as a trainee with her desire to solve the case reflects the dilemmas that many trainees may have. On the one hand, they’re supposed to watch, learn, take advice, and so on. On the other, they also need to learn to take initiative and make choices.

Katherine Howell’s Violent Exposure begins as paramedic Carly Martens and her teammate for the day, Aidan Simpson, are called to the scene of what looks like a domestic dispute between Connor Crawford and his wife, Suzanne. They reassure the paramedics that all is well, although Suzanne has an injury. She insists that it’s minor, and that she’ll be fine, so the paramedics have little choice but to leave. The next day, Suzanne is brutally murdered, and Connor goes missing. New South Wales Police detectives Ella Marconi and Dennis Orchard investigate, and they find what the paramedics have to say is very useful. In one plot thread of this novel, we learn more about Aidan Simpson. He is a trainee, so he’s been assigned to work with different partners on a rotating basis to complete his training. But it’s not working out well. He is smug, arrogant, and unwilling to listen to what anyone says. What’s worse, he is inept. Both Martens and her regular partner, Mick Schultz, have tried to help Simpson fit in and learn his job. But he isn’t willing to try to learn. And that forms a thread in this novel.

And then there’s Y.A. Erskine’s The Brotherhood. Lucy Howard is a probationer with the Tasmania Police. She’s smart, and willing to do the work that it takes to learn the job. She’s lucky, too. Her boss is Sergeant John White, who wants her to do well. In fact, one afternoon, the police get called to the scene of a home invasion, and White taps Howard to go with him. For her, the prospect is nerve-wracking, but she is also flattered, and she wants very much to do the job well. Tragically, White is murdered at the crime scene, while he is at the back of the home, and Howard at the front. As the police deal with this death, and with the investigation, Lucy has to face her own feelings of guilt at not being able to save her boss.

It’s never easy to be a trainee. There’s so much to learn, there’s the social fitting-in, and there’s anxiety about doing the job well. That context can be challenging in real life, but it makes for a solid context for a crime novel.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Maria.

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Filed under Katherine Howell, Pablo De Santis, Robin Cook, Thomas Harris, Tony Hillerman, Y.A. Erskine

I’m Shackled and Sentenced to the Ball and Chain*

There’s a good reason most people don’t want to go to prison. A prison record damages one’s job prospects (as well as other life prospects). And prison is not a pleasant place, even if it’s got decent living conditions, food, and so on. In fact, some prisons can be downright eerie.

Whatever you think of prisons and prison systems in real life, fictional prisons can be effective settings for novels, or for scenes in novels. For one thing, it’s realistic that a crime novel would have prison scenes. After all, crime and prison go together, if I may put it that way. For another, prison scenes allow for tension and suspense, as well as interesting interactions among characters.

Prison scenes play a major role in John Grisham’s The Chamber. The State of Mississippi is about to execute Sam Cayhall for the 1968 murder of Marvin Kramer. His case is taken pro bono by a Chicago law firm that sends one of their attorneys, Adam Hall, to handle the matter. Hall is actually Cayhall’s grandson, and he works as hard as he can to get a stay of execution. For him, Cayhall is a living link to the family history that Hall doesn’t know. As Hall visits his grandfather in prison, we get a look at what life on death row is like. And we also learn, bit by bit, the Cayhall family history.

There are some very eerie prison scenes in Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a noted, gifted psychiatrist who is also a dangerous serial killer. He’s imprisoned in Baltimore’s State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, which is a prison in its own way. When another killer, whom the FBI has dubbed ‘Buffalo Bill,’ starts claiming victims, trainee agent Clarice Starling is sent to the hospital to interview Lecter. It turns out that ‘Buffalo Bill’ was once a patient of Lecter’s so it’s believed that he might be able to shed some light on this killer. There are some very eerie scenes as Starling goes into the prison and starts to talk to Lecter. He agrees to help in the search for this murderer, but he imposes a condition. For everything he tells Starling, she will have to share a personal secret. It becomes a dangerous psychological game, and adds to the stress of hunting for ‘Buffalo Bill.’

In Angela Makholwa’s Red Ink, we are introduced to Lucy Khambule, a Johannesburg publicist. She’s at a sort of crossroads in her job, and is trying to decide what her next steps will be when she gets a call from Napoleon Dingiswayo. He’s in a maximum-security prison after being convicted of a series of horrific murders. At first, Lucy is surprised to get this call. But then, she is reminded that she had written to Napoleon when he was first imprisoned (at the time, she was in journalism and wanted a story). Now, Napoleon wants to meet her, and asks her to consider writing a book about him. The opportunity to do a book proves irresistible, and Lucy agrees to the meeting. Things don’t go as planned, though, First, it’s soon clear that Napoleon is falling for her, which makes Lucy extremely uncomfortable, although she can see how he would be attractive to women. Then, soon after they start working together, some horrible, violent things start to happen. Napoleon is behind bars in a maximum-security facility, so there’s no way he could be responsible for what’s happening. But if he’s not, then who is? And what might he know that he’s not telling? There are several prison scenes as Lucy slowly starts to get to the truth. And some of them are eerie.

In Alison Joseph’s Line of Sight, Sister Agnes Bourdillon has been seconded to Silworth, a London women’s prison, where she’ll work in its Roman Catholic chaplaincy. She’s gotten settled in, and is getting to know several of the inmates and work with them. Then, one of her charges, Cally Fisher, gets the news that her father, Cliff, has been shot. The most likely suspect is her boyfriend, Mel, and there’s evidence against him. But Cally believes that he’s innocent, and asks Sister Agnes to help her clear his name. Sister Agnes agrees, and starts to ask some questions. She soon learns that there are several people who might have had a good reason to want to kill the victim. Throughout the novel, readers get a look at what a modern UK women’s prison is like. There’s the inevitable paperwork and bureaucracy, including the process for gaining access to the prison as a visitor. There are alliances and conflicts (some of them serious) among the women, and so on. It’s not a nice place to be, and Joseph makes that clear.

There’s also John Burdett’s Bangkok 8, the first of his Sonchai Jitpleecheep novels. Sonchai is a member of the Royal Thai Police, and a devout Buddhist. In the main plot thread of the novel, he and FBI agent Kimberly Jones search for the killer of a former US Marine named William Bradley. It all starts when Sonchai and his police partner, Pichai Apiradee, tail a Mercedes. When they catch up to it, Bradley is already dead, most likely from the bite of poisonous snakes locked in the car with him. When one of the snakes also kills Pinchai, Sonchai is determined to find Bradley’s (and his friend’s) killer. At one point, Sonchai goes to visit the man who comes closest to a father figure to him. This man, Fritz von Staffen, is in Bang Kwan prison, which is,
 

‘A fortress with a watchtower and guards armed with machine guns, surrounded by double perimeter walls, the stench of rotten sewage as we passed through the first gate, and the spiritual stench of violence, sadism, and rotten souls as we passed into the inhabited part of the prison.’
 

And the prisoners, including Fritz, are deeply impacted by the environment.

David Whish-Wilson has experience teaching in prisons, and that comes through in Line of Sight. In that novel, Perth Superintendent Frank Swann searches for the murderer of an old friend, Ruby Devine. He finds the job difficult, though, because he’s called a Royal Commission hearing into corruption on the police force. So, he’s a ‘dead man walking’ as far as the police are concerned. And plenty of civilians don’t want to help, either. Still, bit by bit, Swann gets answers. At one point, he pays a visit to a prisoner named Ray Hergenhan, who he hopes will give him some ‘inside information. The prison Ray’s in is a very grim, hopeless sort of place. But Ray’s survived so far. He provides some useful information to Swann, too.

Prisons can be eerie and grim, but they are a part of the justice system. So, it makes sense that they would be a part of crime fiction, too. These are only a few examples. Over to you.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Dropkick Murphys’ Prisoner’s Song.

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Filed under Alison Joseph, Angela Makholwa, David Whish-Wilson, John Burdett, John Grisham, Thomas Harris

Is My Timing Right?*

TimingAn interesting post from FictionFan, at FictionFan’s Book Reviews, and the comments we exchanged, have got me thinking about timing. Many different sorts of things can affect what we think of a book we’re reading. There’s the obvious things such as plot, characters and so on. There’s also the matter of personal taste. We’re all different in the sorts of stories we enjoy.

But another, subtler, factor in how we feel about a book is arguably the timing of when we read that book. For the reader, timing can have an impact in several ways. For instance (and this is the sort of thing FictionFan and I were ‘talking’ about), if you read a book when it first comes out, it may feel fresh and new. That can add to your enjoyment of a novel. That’s especially true if the novel adds an innovation to the genre, or in some other way digresses from it. But if you read it later, after other, similar books have been released, you may feel quite different about it.

One example that comes to my mind is Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. At the time the novel came out (1988), the psychotic-serial-killer motif wasn’t a major factor in mainstream crime fiction. That novel arguably made room in the genre for that sort of story. Since then, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, there’ve been many, many novels with crazed serial killers. Some are better than others. But it’s not a new and innovative theme any more. I wonder how that’s impacted readers who hadn’t previously read The Silence of the Lambs. Would they regard that novel as the trend-setter that it arguably is? Would they see it in a different way?

There’s also the sub-genre that’s recently (in the last few years) been called domestic noir. Of course, there’ve been many novels in which marriages fell apart, and people weren’t what they seemed. But novels such as Julia Crouch’s Cuckoo, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, and Elizabeth Haynes’ Into the Darkest Corner have brought the domestic noir novel to the forefront of current crime fiction. And that raises (at least for me) the question of what today’s readers might think of books such as Margaret Yorke’s Speak For the Dead, which was published in 1988. In that novel, Gordon Matthews marries Carrie Foster, and on the surface, all starts well. But each one has a dark past. Matthews was recently released from prison for killing his first wife, Anne. The way he and his lawyers tell the story, it was a case of manslaughter, and Anne was a promiscuous, alcoholic shrew who pushed her husband too far during an argument. But is that the truth? For her part, Carrie is a former prostitute who gets back on the game a few years after they marry. As the story of their marriage, and the tragedy that follows, goes on, we see a real example of domestic noir. Would readers who’ve experienced plenty of domestic noir see this as a taut, fresh look at a marriage? Would they see it as stale?

There are other ways to look at timing, too, of course. If you’ve just finished reading a series of bleak, ‘hardboiled’ crime novels, you might be ready for something lighter. So work such as Carl Hiaasen’s or Chris Grabenstein’s might appeal. Neither author writes ‘sugar coated’ crime fiction, but there is plenty of wit in it. At another time, though, you might think those very same novels too comic, and perhaps too absurd. The same is true for cosy mysteries. If you’ve just been reading a lot of light crime fiction, you might find work like Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef series too light. On the other hand, if you’ve been reading a lot of dark crime fiction, that same series might really appeal.

Timing matters for authors, too. For instance, after the commercial success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, many other novels with a similar domestic noir theme were released. I’m sure you could list more than I could. On the one hand, the success of Gone Girl allowed those other novels more exposure than they otherwise might have had. Publishers were more willing to take a chance on them, and people were more interested in the themes. On the other hand, do readers think of those other novels as ‘me, too?’ Do they look at them with fresh eyes? This raises questions for the author. Is it a good idea to pick up on a theme that’s had some success, so as to hopefully get more exposure?  Is it a matter of ‘me, too,’ or is it a matter of ‘there’s a market for this sort of book?’ Or is it something else?

And then there’s the element of when in one’s life one reads something. Perhaps you started your crime-fictional journey with classic and Golden-Age crime fiction such as Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, or Anthony Berkeley. Since then, let’s say, you’ve branched out and gotten very interested in the modern hardboiled PI novel (Timothy Hallinan, for instance). Would you still see the work of, say, Arthur Conan Doyle in the same way if you re-read it?

There’s a strong argument that timing has an effect on what we think of what we read. Do you see that with your own reading? Do you ever go back and re-read a novel at another time, just to see if your first impression was lasting? If you’re a writer, do you think about timing when you choose your themes, contexts and so on?

Thanks, FictionFan, for the inspiration. Now, may I strongly suggest that the next stop on your blog round be FictionFan’s excellent blog. There, you’ll find fine reviews, interesting observations, and real wit. And Mr. Darcy.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Foreigner’s Hot Blooded.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Carl Hiaasen, Chris Grabenstein, Elizabeth Haynes, Gillian Flynn, Julia Crouch, Julie Hyzy, Margaret Yorke, Ngaio Marsh, S.J. Watson, Thomas Harris, Timothy Hallinan

It Could Make a Million For You Overnight*

BestSellersI’m sure you’ve seen them. There are plenty of mentions of them in bookshops, online and in other places too. That’s right; I’m talking about ‘blockbuster’ best-sellers. You know, those books that seem to catch on instantly and become really successful (and lucrative for the publisher and the author).

In a way, those best-sellers are very much a mixed blessing, as the saying goes. On the one hand, it can be very frustrating to be bombarded with hype about a best-seller that’s really only mediocre in quality. I know you don’t need any input from me to come up with a list of novels like that. I’ve got friends who refuse to buy anything billed as a ‘best-seller’ for just that reason.

Matters are not made any better by the fact that publishers want to cash in on best-sellers’ popularity, so they link other novels with the best-seller. You know the kind of thing: ‘If you loved __________, you’ll love______;’ or ‘_______ meets_________.’ Sometimes there are similarities between novels, but more often than not, it’s just hype. And that means it doesn’t really tell the reader much about the book.

Publishers cash in on best-sellers in another way too. Once a novel becomes extremely popular, there’s a lot of pressure for other authors to use the same formula. For example, I wonder how many authors were (or at least felt) pressured to write about serial killers after the incredible success of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs? What this can mean is that it’s harder for an author to write something different – something that’s not like the books at the top of best-seller lists.

It’s also harder for authors who aren’t – ahem – household words to get their names ‘out there.’ Publishers know they can bank on a best-seller, so for very logical reasons, they look for manuscripts from those authors or manuscripts that are similar to the work of those authors. In other words, ‘blockbuster’ best-sellers can ‘drown out’ the work of other authors.

So this means that best-sellers aren’t at all good for the genre, right? Wrong. Best-sellers can offer good things for the genre, too, at least as I see it. For one thing, a best-seller can encourage people who normally wouldn’t read crime fiction to try the genre. Just as one example, the work of Michael Connelly is just about always successful in terms of sales. There are other crime writers too whose work sells very well, and whose novels could potentially get more readers to try other crime fiction. And that’s a good thing for crime writers whose work might not otherwise be read.

There’s another interesting effect of the ‘blockbuster’ best seller too. It can call attention to a certain kind of novel, or novels from a certain country or region. This in turn can help other authors who write that sort of novel, or who are from that area. Here’s one concrete example. As you know, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy caught on worldwide. All debates about the merit of those novels aside, something about them caught people’s attention. The film adaptations of these novels have gotten them even more attention. And that’s arguably meant that people who might not otherwise have tried Scandinavian crime fiction have chosen to do so.

There’ve been, of course, highly talented Scandinavian crime novelists for a long time – since long before the Larsson trilogy. I wonder how many readers might not have discovered the work of those novelists if it hadn’t been for best-seller authors such as Larsson and Jo Nesbø. Whether or not you’re fan of those particular authors’ work, It’s an interesting example of how a few best-sellers can build interest in crime fiction from a particular region.

A best-seller can also increase interest in a certain kind of novel. Just as one example, consider Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. That was published in 2012, and has since gone on to be an international best-seller. A film adaptation of it has come out, and, well, you know the rest. Since the release of that novel, there’s been a lot of interest in S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, published the year before Gone Girl. And a lot of people argue that A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife, published a year later, has also benefited in terms of sales from the popularity of Gone Girl. If that’s true, then it’s possible that the ‘bandwagon’ effect can be positive for crime writers, at least in terms of interest in their work.

So is the ‘blockbuster’ effect a good one or not? It’s definitely frustrating at times. I get as tired as you do of inappropriate comparisons of books and authors. And I get as tired as you do of million-sellers that turn out to be mediocre at best, and sometimes not even that good.

On the other hand, if a major best-seller gets more people to try crime fiction, I say that can be good for the genre. If a major best-seller gets readers trying books from new-to-them countries or about new-to-them themes, that can be good for the genre too.

What do you think? Do you specifically avoid best-sellers? Does it depend on the author? If you’re a writer, do you pay attention to what’s selling well and think of it in terms of your own work?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to prepare for my appearance on all the major television shows to announce that next million-seller release. It could happen… 😉

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from The Beatles’ Paperback Writer.

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Filed under A.S.A. Harrison, Gillian Flynn, Jo Nesbø, Michael Connelly, S.J. Watson, Stieg Larsson, Thomas Harris