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Claire 16th February 2006 05:26 PM

 

I'm interested to know how squeamish you are, when you're reading crime novels and thrillers?

 

Do you want a high body count, with the cause of death described in eye-watering detail? A blow by blow account of every moment? Or would you prefer any actual violence to take place in a discreet corner and only be delicately referred to from a safe distance.

 

How important a consideration is the gore-factor, when you're choosing a novel in this genre? Is it the main thing you consider, (either seeking out or avoiding novels that are particularly graphic or genteel), or is it a side-issue and you're not fussed either way, because other things are much more important?

 

And why do you feel the way you do?

 

Hazel 16th February 2006 07:30 PM

 

I am always partial to a bit of blood and gore and violence. I am not terribly squeamish, and enjoy horror films. I think it is because you get to see or live out a darker side without actually experiencing it for real. Plus in an action book it is kind of expected. It's an extreme very few of us have any real conception of therefore our interest will always be piqued. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is probably the closest I have come to being a little freaked.

 

megustaleer 16th February 2006 11:08 PM

 

Not too graphic.

I don't like too much description of the pulped flesh or splintered bone, although I don't mind a high body count as long as they occur singly. Not keen on massacres. There does have to be at least one body, and that to be the focus of the crime. Death incidental to the perpetration of some other crime doesn't interest me.

I guess it's the planning of the murder, the motive and the unravelling of it that I enjoy the most.

 

I don't like graphic descriptions of sex, either!

 

Hazel 17th February 2006 09:04 AM

Originally Posted by megustaleer

I don't like graphic descriptions of sex, either!

 

That is one thing I am squeamish about - it all seems so unnecessary, so cliched, and so unreal!

 

Grammath 17th February 2006 01:22 PM

Originally Posted by megustaleer

I don't like graphic descriptions of sex, either!

 

Sex must be the hardest subject in the whole of literature to write about well - not that I've tried, I have to say!!

 

A great many authors have done it badly, hence the annual "Bad Sex Award" which was, I think, won by Alan Titchmarsh last year, of all people.

 

As regards gore in books, like most things its OK in moderation, I find. To me, forensic crime writers such as Patricia Cornwell have found a way to write gory books whilst disguising them as descriptions of serious medical examination.

 

I would also distinguish gore from violence. Most American crime writers produce far more violent books with high body counts than their European counterparts but with the aforementioned exceptions few of them dwell on describing people's innards being splattered everywhere in excessive detail. Characters get shot, the plot moves on.

Flingo 17th February 2006 01:26 PM

 

Originally Posted by Grammath

As regards gore in books, like most things its OK in moderation, I find. To me, forensic crime writers such as Patricia Cornwell have found a way to write gory books whilst disguising them as descriptions of serious medical examination

 

I think I agree with this. I'm quite squeamish (even hide behind my hands when Casualty is on), but I can cope very easily with it in a book and on TV if it isn't gratuitous. A medical examination has more justification, a look at the psychological reasons why a killer does what s/he does is fine.

 

About a year ago, I would have said I avoided something like this, but as you know, I have since discovered Tess Gerritsen....!

 

Mungus 17th February 2006 02:57 PM

 

I'm not especially squeamish and I don't mind a bit of gore if it's relevant to the plot and not just gratuitious. There are certain things I don't like. One is fingers being squished into eyeballs - no need! Another is impalement. At one time all they seemed to have on the TV was realistic impalement injuries. A meat hook fight in a abbatoir that ended up in ER (well, it would, wouldn't it?) And a chap who'd done himself through on park railings when drunk as featured on Trauma have lived long in the memory. :yikes:

 

I think I probably prefer the forensic take on a situation. The neurology in Ian McEwan's Saturday wasn't gory but I enjoyed it as semi-revision!

 

Lei-Lei Jayenne 27th February 2006 03:42 PM

 

I must admit, I do like a gory film. I'm a big Horror film fan, and don't really get very squeamish at most things. With books though it's something that would come fairly low down the list of requirements.

I don't tend to read many books from the Crime/Thrillers/Mystery drama to be honest. I guess Sherlock Holmes would be my favourite 'crime' reads, hardly a gory read. Though I do vividly remember being quite disturbed by the descriptive gore of both The Black Dahlia and In Cold Blood.

 

LizzyBennet 11th March 2006 10:03 PM

 

Although I love my horror films (with the exception of Saw which freaked me out for MONTHS), I really am a total wuss when it comes to violence. Gore (strangely) doesn't bother me so much but the descriptions of violence do. I agree with what's been said about the uncomfortable sex descriptions in books - but the thing I hate most and am quite angry when I read - is sexual violence in crime/thriller novels. I was reading Terry Goodkind's fantasy series on the recommendation of a good friend, and I found the graphic descriptions and hints about mass and gang rape quite sickening. It was utterly unnecessary and I stopped reading after the first few books as a result. I like Agatha Christie novels because most of the crimes are quite anaemic, and you only ever get to see the aftermath with the investigation rather than the bloody horror of the crime being committed. Maybe it's the CSI effect - when they're dead, it's OK because they're 'just' a body, but when a person is actually being attacked, it's uncomfortable to be the voyeur.

 

Flingo 14th March 2006 07:33 PM

 

Something that just occurred to me is that implied violence is a lot worse than described violence. If they outline and I can clearly picture what has happened it is easier to cope with. If the victim and their (serious) injuries are described, with only minor explanation my mind goes wild! It's the same with films - the off screen stuff is so much worse.

 

LizzyBennet 16th March 2006 06:53 PM

 

That's why films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre creep me out majorly - no blood except for one scene but your mind fills in the blanks and you'd swear it was a gore fest! I've just finished 'The Rosary Girls' which was pretty tough - the writer left you in suspense about what had happened and your brain just went 'yikes' away from the implications. The descriptions of what the police found afterwards were more disturbng because you'd already imagined everything.

 

Mungus 16th March 2006 07:19 PM

 

I agree completely. In fact, I find suspense in a film to be the hardest thing of all. The scene where the woman is edging through the disused warehouse looking for whatever and suddenly a rat appears - kills me every time, I'm such a sucker for that.

 

As for gore, the dentist on '10 years younger' is hard to beat!

 

LizzyBennet 18th March 2006 07:31 PM

 

Ten Years Younger and You are what You Eat - the gross out factor far exceeds anything I've ever read.

 

Worst and most excessive gore (in my opinion unnecessary) Shaun Hutson's Slugs. And the WORST sex scene I have ever read. Including Alan Titchmarsh.

 

Bernadette 18th May 2006 05:24 AM

 

Hi Claire,

 

I prefer very little violence in the mysteries I read and I won't pick one up if it looks to be especially gory. I'm a great fan of the drawing room/English country house cozies. :)

 

About eight years ago I picked up a book by Elizabeth George that still haunts me. A ten year old girl is kidnapped, tortured and killed and the author went into detail about it. It wasn't that there was so much blood and gore involved but the child was a very loving little girl whose mother was a harsh unfeeling woman who had never really wanted her in the first place and it made the fact of her kidnapping and torture all the more painful to read about.

 

I know Elizabeth George is reputed to be an excellent mystery writer but my experience with her books began and ended with that one novel.

 

Bernadette

 

Colinj 22nd May 2006 07:30 PM

 

Gory?

 

Depends on the book but it is not always essential to the plot. Patricia Cornwell is prety graphic but being an ex mortitian herself she will know this anyway.

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AmyLou 1st July 2006, 04:47 AM

 

I love violence and gore! Maybe its a sick part of me, but I prefer to think of it as a mental roller coaster ride. I will no longer get on a roller coaster, because I'm too old to freak my body out like that. But I love to read something that just scares the boogers out of me so that my little brain cells can raise up their hands and scream down the ride.

 

r3nu4l 4th July 2006, 12:47 PM

The level of gore would never influence my decision when buying. The writing and character development is very important to me.

 

That said, I'm not at all squeamish. I love the blood and guts and gore in serial killer type novels and I like the hand-to-hand combat scenes in Lee Child's work. It's definitely not necessary in all novels and indeed in some novels it's not needed at all.

Hazel 4th July 2006, 01:49 PM

Originally Posted by r3nu4l

I love the blood and guts and gore in serial killer type novels and I like the hand-to-hand combat scenes in Lee Child's work.

Oooh you are MOST welcome to this site - you will find a few threads on Lee Child and Jack Reacher - admittedly most of them are me gushing, but I occasionally assemble a decent thought about these books.

 

 

jebbie74 7th August 2006, 11:38 PM

Originally Posted by Flingo

Something that just occurred to me is that implied violence is a lot worse than described violence. If they outline and I can clearly picture what has happened it is easier to cope with. If the victim and their (serious) injuries are described, with only minor explanation my mind goes wild! It's the same with films - the off screen stuff is so much worse.

 

I agree whole-heartedly! While reading through the posts I was just thinking to myself "Isn't it much worse when they just imply that someone died, and that some sort of body was found somewhere?" It seems to me that without some of the details there appears to be something missing. Maybe the realism isn't portrayed quite as well when the details have gone awry.

 

Then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for gore in my readings :D

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  • 4 months later...

I agree that when something is implied, it can be far more disturbing than when something is actually described in graphic detail.

 

I never thought I was particularly squeamish, but I remember that when I read American Psycho, I could not read it in bed at night, because it was really disturbing!

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  • 1 month later...

:quiver: HI

Obviously we read many mystery/thriller/suspense novels or we wouldn't be posting here. I just came from a thread that was discussing David Suskind's PERFUME, which IMHO is one of the most violent and evil character driven books I have ever read. So, yes, I'd say I am squeamish and shy away from hard core gore and detailed descriptions of a kill, or a corpse.

 

For my enjoyment I prefer to understand other aspects of the book ... I know if I am told that a body was eviscerated I know what that means, or if limbs are missing, decapitation etc. I don't need a bloody roadmap of the horrifying details.

 

Different strokes for different folks ;)

GERBAM

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  • 6 months later...
  • 13 years later...

I can't watch/read anything which has people being buried alive.  Sends me into shuddering meltdown.

 

Also I'm deeply suspicious of any so-called psychological thriller that has the female lead (it's always a she) who has a dog or a cat. It always comes to a sticky end and as well as being a lazy plotting cliche I cannot stand cruelty to animals.

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