Carol Anne Davis on Crime Fiction
is a crime
fiction novelist and author
of dark books.
Visit her site
cosy crime novels had little to do with criminals or their murderous acts.
Instead violent death was reduced to a genteel middle class puzzle. Such
novels were more interested in how a man in a locked room could be murdered
than in why someone became a spree-killing sociopath.
there are writers around who have walked down meaner streets and who want
to explore genuine criminal psychology. The better true crime books also
take an encouraging tell-it-like-it-is approach.
of those true crime writers have offender profiling experience. I met
former FBI agent/profiler John Douglas at a book signing in Glasgow, Scotland,
on the afternoon of the Dunblane Massacre. The first news reports of the
carnage had just broken, so we knew that several children had been shot
dead by a man in their own school. Asked to speculate, John Douglas said
that the man would most likely be single, a loner, and have had a strong
past connection with this particular building. Time proved him absolutely
few writers get domestic violence scenes absolutely right. I've written
about this in the crime magazine Shots, about how often such cruelty is
downplayed and prettified. In fiction, abused women recover with indecent
in a support organisation for such women and they were often in shock
for many weeks after leaving the abusive man. They had swapped a marriage
and a home for a shared room in a refuge. They were physically safe at
last but their confidence was shattered from years of being told that
they were unlovable, ugly, stupid, too thin or too fat.
who batter their wives don't do so in silence. Each blow is usually accompanied
by an insult. Those insults also precede and follow the punches, and in
some cases are repeated many times every day. Those of us who were abused
as children also have every malicious putdown indelibly stamped on our
not suggesting that crime novels have to be unrelentingly bleak - no man
can bear too much reality. My own fiction covers dark subjects like necrophilia
and extreme sadism but also includes humour and non-aberant psychology.
Real life, after all, includes people who have knowledge, insight, compassion
and artistic gifts.
resonates with the intelligent reader much more than hollow hype, so we
crime writers must look beyond the flawed impressions of crime and criminal
institutions that are perpetrated by the popular media. These suggest,
for example, that prisons are veritable palaces with endless university
studying and twenty four hour access to leisure facilities. The reality
is that some prisoners are locked up for twenty three hours of the day,
with up to three in a cell designed for one.
a police station holding cell as part of some crime research and had to
insist that they left the door open. (In case they found out about my
overdue community charge bill.) Cell Block H wasn't an inviting place.
I'm not saying that prisons should be different, that's outwith the scope
of this article. I'm simply suggesting that some of the more naive crime
writers should take the time to find out
has a lot to answer for as it always depicts the men and women who carry
out autopsies as being hyper intelligent with incredible investigative
and interpersonal skills. But a judicious
reading of true crime books will show you how much evidence certain coroner's
miss - including ingested narcotics that have been slipped into the drinks
of the unsuspecting victims. Numerous corpses have been autopsied and
labelled as natural deaths, only to be exhumed later and relabelled as
reports also have to be read with a canister of salt. The editor sometimes
decides on a slant and tells the journalist to find out facts to back
this perspective. Information that doesn't fit the
mould is discarded and a polemic is then presented as the honest truth.
This happens with some crime profiles where the paper decides to always
present a certain prisoner as `evil' and will ignore any good things that
he or she has done.
I'm never going to stand outside a jail holding a candle and bleating
that some multiple murderer should be let out because he's smiled nicely
at some barking mad prison visitors. But we should acknowledge good acts
by people who've previously done bad deeds. If we pretend that people
who commit crimes always act badly, then we simply won't recognise them
when they hover dangerously on the brink of our own fragile lives.
Turn in America's Most Wanted and claim your reward. Hell, you didn't
think you were going to make money from writing, did you? This site also
has details of the Bureau's other crime work.
A first class American-run zine
that offers masses of crime fiction and crime fact. Their columnists
include a former policeman and they have interviews with law enforcement
Britain's best loved crime
magazine is in paperback book form. This is the frequently-updated
online version. Crime Time brings you realistic crime fiction, articles,
incisive book reviews and author interviews.
Killer Info Site
An intelligent site which looks at offender profiling, forensic science
and victim awareness. It's a search for knowledge and understanding which
avoids the cheap glamorisation of many other serial killers sites.
The web presence of the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty
To Children, a registered charity. Children are the most frequent crime
victims but also the forgotten ones as they are abused privately in the
family home and often grow up thinking that such beatings happen to everyone.
Broke writers may not be able to give money to such a deserving cause
- but we can ask other readers to help using our heartfelt words. Picture
what it's like to be trapped for five years behind closed doors with a
hate-filled violent adult and you'll have an inkling of what some pre-school
children go through.
Includes numerous dark links, reviews, and a nude photograph of the author.
Oh okay, I lied about that last bit, but please visit anyway.
Carol Anne Davis
is a crime fiction novelist and author of dark books.
Visit her site
to Articles Contents Page
Myths & Legends
News & Info
Web Makers Tools
. Your free email