Sunday, October 07, 2018

detectovation - 3 writers trying their hand

I recently read the latest "Robert Galbraith" Cormoran Strike (#4) novel (Lethal White)
and the latest Stephen King's Mr Mercedes linked novel (#4, The Outsider) and am looking forward to getting Kate Atkinson's latest novel, but have read the 4 Jackson Brodie Detective novels.

What's common? well aside from these being detective novels, by very well known writers, they are also all writing outside their main (or at least previously known-for) genre, which are respectively Fantasy (JK Rowling/Harry Potter), Horror (Stephen King's Shining, It, Carrie, you name it) and Kate Atkinson's non-genre (e.g. Behind the Scenes) but also Sci-Fi tinged tales (Life-after-life could be seen as in the same genre as Slaughterhouse Five or Tale for the Time Being).

It's interesting because all three are fantastic writers- imagination? in gallons. plot? incredible (but believable). readable? don't be silly!

What's interesting is how they fare in what is often a tightly stylized convention-bound genre.

They all do well on plot.
They are all very readable.

However, your mileage varies on characterisation, and for me, what I found most surprising was that this is where Stephen King, for me, was most successful. Both Hodges and Gibney are amazingly drawn, in all the books. Whereas Strike is great, but other characters are a little thin. Similarly, while Brodie is a wonderful creation, I wasn't grabbed by other people walking on and off the scene.

This is not to knock the books - they are all great reads, and by writers on top of their game, style and so on. They are all page turners. Buy or borrow them all. Unless you hate detective fiction! Then buy the writers' other books, which are also fantastic!

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