I’ve thought about this quite a bit. It’s the one thing I can say all genres share. Every well written book in every genre is actually a mystery book.
What I mean is just about every author aims to leave the reader guessing by not being predictable. Mystery is mostly crime fiction at this point, but that’s an arbitrary classification. Any author who keeps their cards close to their chest throughout the story is actually writing a mystery.
Not every book is a mystery and not every author writes them, but I’d argue that every genre is full of mysteries and mystery writers. Even if these works are classified differently.
What do you think?
Have you ever stopped to think about all the series you’ve read? Especially the ones you’ve finished. Well I just did. And guess how many I came up with? Two.
There’s always a chance I’m missing some, but I think I’m pretty spot on. Merci Rayborn and The Hunger Games. Those are the only book series I’ve read from start to finish. It probably sounds crazy, but it really isn’t.
I’ve written on here before about the length of series you’re willing to read, and I remember several people saying that four or five books is just too many for a series. I thought it was garbage back then and I still think so today.
The majority of the series I read are 10+ books. Spenser. Bosch. Alex Cross. Jesse Stone. Elvis Cole. Alex McKnight. And several I started and never finished. Mystery writers tend to write long series, and I have no issue with that as long as the writing stays top notch.
Do you have any idea how many aeries you’ve completed?
Have you ever been the leader of a revolution or a police detective on the trail of a serial killer or the boy wizard who takes down Voldemort only to realize it was all a dream? I haven’t, unfortunately. Because I’d rather become a part of the books I’ve read just a little bit than not at all.
I’m not sure I have a pick of who I’d actually want to be. Wait, that’s a lie. I’d say Harry Bosch. He’s an LAPD detective who works relentlessly in pursuit of justice. He has a saying. “Everyone counts or nobody counts.” Do you see what he means? If you’re going to investigate one murder in a certain way, then every murder should be investigated in that same manner. And I’d hope the mindset of homicide detectives is no different in the real world. Whether it’s a suburban teen or a drug dealer killed in a gang shootout. One murder should not be any more or less important to the investigating detective.
And I think his mindset is something I’d adopt as my own. It’s bad enough that homicide detectives have a job only because people are killing people. But it’d make things even worse if those killers weren’t brought to justice. It’s real-life people like Bosch who literally take killers off the street. It’s one of the many professions that get no appreciation. But I imagine no decent homicide detective does the job to be recognized or appreciated by the public. They do it because they have to.
So if I had my pick of characters I could be, I’d be Harry Bosch. Who would you be?
I’ve said on here plenty of times that Michael Connelly is one of my favorite authors. He is. But there’s more.
There are plenty of crime writers today, and some good ones, but I don’t think anyone writes the genre better than he does. The stories. The characters. And most importantly, Harry Bosch. They’re all intensely great.
I just finished The Black Box last week and though I’m well accustomed to his work by now, I was still quite impressed as I reached the end of the book. I won’t tell you to start his Harry Bosch series, but man I love it.
Which authors seem to dominate a genre to you? Any genre.
Don’t confuse this with me asking you to tell me which genres you think are “worse” than others. Because I don’t believe that to be the case with any two genres. Think of this as genres that you simply don’t read.
I have many to choose from. Literary fiction. Sci-fi. Fantasy. YA. Horror. And probably a bunch I can’t think of. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of these. I just don’t have any interest in reading them. I mean, I’ve read from all of those at least once. And I’m sure I’ve read good books in each one, but my reading heart and soul will likely always lie in crime fiction. There are so many crime shows on TV that do absolutely no justice to the genre. They always have the right answer. They catch on to things that no one else would. They solve EVERY case. One of my favorite things about crime fiction is that it’s much more realistic even though it is also fiction. The detectives are constantly torn about what to do. They don’t solve every case. They don’t have every answer.
Crime shows are always going to be on the air. And I’m sure they make their networks plenty of money. But crime fiction is simply better, and I don’t think any other genre is going to be taking my top spot any time soon. Probably not ever.
Do you have any genres that you just have no interest in reading?
On this day in 2014 I published Everyone has That one Novel in Them…Or do They?.
That was my response yesterday when Jess asked me this question. My reasoning for it is simple. There are great books released in every genre every year. Which means there are always good books out there to be read, no matter the genre. I’ve stated so many times in the past on this blog that I mostly read crime fiction. I don’t think it’s better than any other genre. I don’t think the authors are inherently more talented. I simply enjoy good detective stories.
This is why I want to write crime fiction. Because of what I’ve read. Because of the authors I’ve come to read so many times. For instance, James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I know he’s always getting criticized for how his books are written and released, but I’ve never not been entertained by one of his Alex Cross novels and I think I’m ten books in. Robert B. Parker has probably influenced every crime writer out there today, and you can definitely see his influence in their work.
See, I don’t have an issue with someone who reads five different genres or dozens of authors all the time. But I think I do have an issue with someone asking this particular question in a manner that suggests one genre isn’t worthy of being read all the time. Because that’s absurd. No one says anything to those readers who only read classics. Or to all those readers who have a never ending YA TBR list. So don’t sit there and ask me how come I only read mysteries. The funny thing is that I’ve read a few different genres and authors in the last two years. JK Rowling. John Green. Anne Frank. Michael Lewis. So even though I might say I mostly read mysteries, I also dabble in other genres along the way.
So tell me, do you ever get tired of reading books within the same genre all the time? You know my answer.
Photo Credit: Bigger Pockets
The title of this post was my attempt to differentiate myself from every other person who has already written about judging books by their covers. I don’t think my title is very catchy. But eh. That’s okay. Let’s get on topic.
No matter what you say or what anyone else says, we’ve all judged books by their covers. Every person who has ever walked into a bookstore without knowing what they’d walk out with has done this. Now I’m not saying that every book you or I purchase has been because of its cover, but I’m sure there are a few on your shelf that you bought simply because you thought it looked pretty. That’s okay. I’m sure I’ve done it. But there have probably been dozens more that you chose not to buy because you thought the cover was a turn off. I have to say that I’ve also done this. But why? Let me tell you what I think.
You walk into the store and move toward your favorite section. You immediately find a few of your favorite authors but soon realize that you have all of the books on the shelves. Then you start walking up and down the aisle. You find a handful of books that you’re considering taking home with you.Then you find a nice place on the floor or one of those big comfy chairs and read all of their blurbs and titles and check out the covers.You’ve never read any of the authors and you don’t want your buying decision to be made based solely on the book blurbs. There’s just not enough there. You don’t know if the books are in a series or anything about the writing styles of any of these authors. You’re going back and forth between every book trying to come up with valid reasons for each. But then, you glance at your watch or phone and realize that you have five minutes before you need to be back in your car to make that doctor’s or lunch appointment. It all comes down to the covers now. You lay them all out and make a pick, and probably take an additional one for good measure. The others are quickly replaced on the shelf and out the door you go.
At least this is what I’ve done whenever I’ve gone to the bookstore to find something new.
But browsing for me is not walking up and down the mystery aisles at the store. Browsing is now randomly searching for the next books in just about every series I’m reading. I don’t look at the covers or the blurbs or anything but the price. I’ll eventually have to buy them all if I intend to continue the series, but usually the cheapest will win. Makes no difference what the book is about because I already know I enjoy the series and the author and the stories I’ve read.
Whenever I do decide to find something new the process is much the same. I’m sure you know that Amazon has Top 100 bestseller lists for everything in books. I’ll usually go to the Mystery, Thriller, Suspense or Private Investigator lists and go to the end of the list. I don’t want to see the super high bestsellers that have just been released, but the books that are selling well even though they’ve likely been out for years. But that’s not very often I have to do this because I have so many series I’m always wanting to continue.
So the point of this post is to acknowledge that I’ve absolutely judged a number of books by their covers, but probably not as much as you have. Tell me how come you do it whenever you do.