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Paolo

Why are American crime writers better than their UK counterparts?

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Hi Dumpling and Gerbam,

 

Well said. Totally agree. I think American crime writers tend to be like American crime shows - somehow chucking in way too much blood and guts, with no appreciation of subtlety. Look at Reg Hill's wonderful Dalziel and Pascoe novels, or Dexter's magnificent Morse. They could only be British.

 

Cheers ...

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bee2Zed hi

I was just re-reading a few posts and when i came across yours i pondered it a bit and compared the crime shows i enjoy to some of the books i enjoy except for 'MYSTERY' i don't know how many of you are familiar with that program.

 

Your point about blood and guts, and the lack of subtly in US crime novels has a long history. Actually i don't want to be pedantic yet put in context one can understand how the American mystery/thriller/suspense novel has been evolving since Poe. And many years passed until Doyle and Collins pick up the gauntlet adn really set teh genre afire. Their novels come from a very different place than novels here.

 

Just a few sentences more if I may. The hardboiled detective stories of the 30s thru the early 50s (known as pulp fiction) grew out of the stories of the west. Stories that were pedestrian and made clear who the 'good guy' is and who the 'bad guy' by the color of their hats. lol lol :D Hammett, Chandler, Spillane and teh others who followed along drew from the rough/tough history of the cowboy and teh sheriff. i think the film HIGH NOON is a perfect example of where Sam Spade, for example, came from

 

'nuff from me i'd like to hear from you

GERBAM

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I think American crime writers tend to be like American crime shows - somehow chucking in way too much blood and guts, with no appreciation of subtlety.

 

That surely cannot be said about American writers like Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Michael Connelly, Erle Stanley Gardener, Patricia Highsmith...

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That surely cannot be said about American writers like Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Michael Connelly, Erle Stanley Gardener, Patricia Highsmith...

HAZEL

I agree w/you 100%

When I talk about writers from other countries being better to read than American writers I am thinking of people like

Carolyn Hart

Robert Parker

Sue Grafton

Jeffrey Deaver

Add in the animal, vegetable, recipe and cake ones.

 

I know I know some of you adore those writers and that's fine ... enjoy ... but IMO they write the same stories over and over again in a very simplistic way.

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I simply don't have a preference either way!

 

From the British side I love, Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson and Mark Billingham.

 

From the American side, I like Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connolly and Carl Hiaasen.

 

I do think that the American writers are better at "bigger" stories. What do I mean by that? I mean that American authors tend to be better at writing stories about crime conspiracies that involve entire corporations or federal agency collusion etc while British authors focus on the (Chief)Inspector who works his way through the case mostly on his/her own and usually agains a local low-life, town councillor, stranger that arrived on a bus. Less of the little guy versus the big guy, maybe it's a reflection of American thinking.

 

On the other hand I think Americans do wry/dry comedy better in their crime novels than British authors. I'd like to see Mark Billingham have a go...after all he's also a stand-up comic!

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I wouldn't say us Brits are better writers per say, anymore than their American counterparts, They both are different and in there own way BOTH are very satisfying, at least to me. True I have some English writers I follow, as too do I American ones, I find that diversity REALLY is the spice for me, and their differences are what make them so. And compelling as well.! :o

 

No matter what genre either countries men/women write about. :)

 

I'll shut up now, don't want to be shot down in the crossfire, like.

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Anyway, all these names being recommended, and I've never heard of most of them. So much to look forward to, and so many shelves to be filled. Love it!

 

Bloody hell man! you mean Royal you NEVER heard of Stephen Booth.!!!!!!!

 

Get thee hence asap to : http://www.stephen-booth.com/ NOW.!

 

And may you never look back, you'll think twice about going to that neck of the woods for yer holidays.!! :scared:

 

EHHH Rhiannon, old thing I think saying:

If you like things a bit softer, what about Stephen Booth
you DO mean THAT Stephen do you,? because "Heart Beat" he definitely is NOT. SOFT!!!??? Stephen????!

 

Mind you, you ARE correct in saying :

his series is excellent - the writing is strong and the characters are genuinely interesting.
what you neglected to say was... he'll also scare c##p out of you and anything else while he's at it too. The Peak District can be the most forlorn and godforsaken place to be lost in...and worse,.. to be murdered in.

 

Cooper and Fry are No SOFTIES, not by a long chalk, and we Boothites know it. :D

 

So Rhiannon, we'll be seeing you, in The Peak District, then.? Bring a compass...you might need it.! :yikes:

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Most of the suggestions appear to be on the contemporary side. I really did enjoy R Austin Freeman's Dr Thorndyke stories. I liked Creasey's Gideon of The Yard too. Mind you, a bit of an English police procedural never goes far amiss, I think.

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I wouldn't say us Brits are better writers per say, anymore than their American counterparts, They both are different and in there own way BOTH are very satisfying, at least to me. True I have some English writers I follow, as too do I American ones, I find that diversity REALLY is the spice for me, and their differences are what make them so. And compelling as well.! :o

 

No matter what genre either countries men/women write about. :)

 

I'll shut up now, don't want to be shot down in the crossfire, like.

 

LOL LOL LOL fireball no shooting you down from this mystery reader. I think questions like this are simply rhetorical and don't make for good conversation. Rather most folks tend to defend their idea of what is 'right' or 'good' or 'better' which is circular and depends upon presonal taste.

 

I respect everyone's right to read what they choose and to shout from the rooftops how wonderful they found their read. it's fun to share and we usually want people to enjoy as we did.

 

For me the larger question is what makes you like/read/be entertained/ addicted to certain writers regardless of where they are from. I had an interesing experience the other night going thru a ton of old mystery teaching materials i still had in my files ... i was amazed at how far (IMHO) i have come in choosing better mystery/thriller/suspense writers over the many years i have been reading them. I left some writers behind very quickly>>boring or too 'cute' or too cat or too recipes for me; I left behind writers whose writing and style just turned me off.

 

[i know I sound like an elitist snob ... and I don't define myself as elitist ... but I am certainly a book snob. AND PROUD OF IT. Whether or not you know by what I see you listing in your chosen reads you too are snobs ... won't settle for hacks or pretension. I think that's a good thing.]

 

fireball you say that the diversity is what does it for you and you spot on!!

Thank goodness all of us have our special writers and are willing to experiment with new ones but most of us are really picky, I think, or you wouldn't be posting on a site like this.

 

IMHO OF COURSE ;)

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:D First off my thanks to you GERBAM ;) be a booksnob or even an elitist snob , nawt wrong with that; you to were spot on with...

Thank goodness all of us have our special writers and are willing to experiment with new ones but most of us are really picky, I think, or you wouldn't be posting on a site like this.
:D nice, an very true too.

 

[i know I sound like an elitist snob ... and I don't define myself as elitist ... but I am certainly a book snob. AND PROUD OF IT. Whether or not you know by what I see you listing in your chosen reads you too are snobs ... won't settle for hacks or pretension. I think that's a good thing.]
So, be sounding elitist Ger old thing, I'm of a certain age where I too am elitist-ish as well again nawt wrong with that either.

 

If my pathetic excuse of a memory (and after two strokes, mercifully not all in one go mind.!) serves, in the grand scheme of things it really is not that long time ago that Agatha C, N.Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers (English scholar and writer whose numerous mystery stories featuring the witty and charming Lord Peter Wimsey combined the attractions of scholarly erudition and cultural small talk with the puzzle of detection.) etc. and her contemporaries were thought by "real elitists" to be utter dross and fit only for the "lower orders" as my late father would've have put it.

Well Gerbam, have look at... :

http://www.crimetime.co.uk/features/womenincrime.php

The thing with these so-called elitists shower is..what there 'into' really so off the wall, if not just downright just incomprehensible in plain bloody English to us "plebes" they 'think' there being cleaver, sadly their dead wrong, but don't tell them that they cry easily, 'sides these elitists shower "think" James Joyce was f'ing brill, excuse me while I barf.!

 

There's nothing wrong at all Ger, about being a bit on the choosy side, shows you've matured and have a smell of a good 'un when you see it, not that too far behind you either meself.! :o :-)

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'sides these elitists shower "think" James Joyce was f'ing brill, excuse me while I barf.!

Huh? :D Well I'm no elitist book snob but I have to say that James Joyce was brilliant! I love his stuff.* I like my trashy crime novels as much as the next person but I like my classics too and of all the classics, some of Joyce's stuff is amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Now if I could only finish that damn Ulysses book I'd be doing well. The fact I'm from Dublin makes me even more ashamed not to have completed it yet. :)

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Only just seen fireball's rather weak recommendation of Stephen Booth. (No, never heard of him, but I promise I'll put him on the Wish List!)

 

My favourite crime writers are almost all American I have to admit. I enjoy British crime for sure, but off the top of my head I haven't found a modern British crime writer to challenge Michael Connelly, Greg Iles, George Pelacanos and James Lee Burke for e.g.

 

Still, there are probably more than a few thousand writers I haven't read yet. Maybe Stephen Booth might come close!

 

I have just started the first of Peter James' detective novels - I do like his writing and although this is his first of the genre I have high hopes...

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Huh? :D Well I'm no elitist book snob but I have to say that James Joyce was brilliant! I love his stuff.* I like my trashy crime novels as much as the next person but I like my classics too and of all the classics, some of Joyce's stuff is amazing!

Huuuuh.!? well we'll agree to disagree on THAT bit eh r3nu4l :):D

 

*Now if I could only finish that damn Ulysses book I'd be doing well. The fact I'm from Dublin makes me even more ashamed not to have completed it yet. :)
Nawt wrong with from coming Dublin old son had been there myself for quiet sometime too, and Dubs were just phished off

JJ as much as any sensible person is with Joyce.!

 

Can't remember that chap in the SENATE's name, (to fellow Brits the Senate in Ireland's Parliament is somewhat similar to the House Of Lords, and their called Senators), well that bloke's absolutely bloody fantastic to listen to, he is without doubt a Joycean egghead, at least without insulting ones intelligence, explains the working's of Joyce that my old masters at school couldn't even compare.

 

Miss "dirty ol' Town " I do.

Thanks again r3nu4l.

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Only just seen fireball's rather weak recommendation of Stephen Booth. (No, never heard of him, but I promise I'll put him on the Wish List!)

 

Weak?!!! recommendation!!!? me???? I beg to differ on THAT bit of info, been with Stephen since the off, and I wouldn't give a rec if he wasn't upto it.

Sorry you've never heard of 'til now, well better late then never, what Royal Rother.? We Booth-ites are a patient lot.

 

Still, there are probably more than a few thousand writers I haven't read yet. Maybe Stephen Booth might come close!
You got THAT bit right, exceptin' of course there's no MIGHTs about it.!

 

I have just started the first of Peter James' detective novels - I do like his writing and although this is his first of the genre I have high hopes...

 

Peter James read some his, classification: tepid to lukewarm. :D

 

Try summat more advanced for you, another "weak recommendation" for you Royal, how about: http://www.michaeljecks.co.uk/ he's not half bad either. ;) If you've got the Ballards.... of course. :scared:

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I quite agree with most of what's being said, especially when it, of sorts, comes to a matter of taste.

 

The Americans write differently as do we Brits, though I think to say the yanks write BETTER then the UK counterparts is stretching it just a bit.

 

Like take this fellamelad, now he's rough and ready...might require an acquired taste though. And he is John Sandford especially his "Prey Series" You'll either :scared: or find him :cool:

see this site for info. : http://www.johnsandford.org/directory.html

 

Are another kind of "cop" partially X.Files-ish bloke he's known as Agent Pendergast written wonderfully by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child..

See this site for info. : http://www.prestonchild.com/

Now He is uber :cool: is are Agent Aloysius Pendergast with his 'sidekick at times his old friend NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta, brill stuff.!

 

Watch out for the Diogenes Trilogy, you could say Cain and Abel up-date, oh crap,! who'd even want a brother like Diogenes.

:

Brimstone - Part One of the Diogenes Trilogy

Dance of Death - Part Two of the Diogenes Trilogy

Book of the Dead - Part Three of the Diogenes Trilogy

Their on sale now.

 

 

Two very different American writers, both quite excellent in their own way.

 

 

 

Then there's Stephen Booth a great British crime writer see this for info.

: http://www.stephen-booth.com/ And another crime writer that is very different is this bloke...Michael Jecks see this place for info. :

http://www.michaeljecks.co.uk/

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I much prefer British crime writing I have to say. I have read a couple of American authors but I just can't get into them. The book by an American author I most enjoyed was 'Broken Angels' by Richard Montanari, simply because I found the plot fascinating.

 

I just ccan't get in to them, probably because I love the UK and prefer 'colours' and 'favourites' to American grammer which I hate having to read and try and understand. I am also familiar with the culture and police set up of Britain which makes me enjoy British novels much more. You could call them home comforts I suppose.

 

Some highly recommended British authors - Mark Billingham, Peter James, Simon Kernick, Stephen Booth, Paul Johnston, Simon Beckett, Denise Mina, Laura Wilson, Alex Gray .. amongst others.

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Why are American crime writers better than their UK counterparts?

Presupposition in the question.

They are not, probably just seem to be as they are writing from a different culture and this helps in the process of reading fiction (we are taken further away from our 'reality')

 

To 'Waters' if you think James lee Burke is writing by numbers try some earlier stuff, his 'Collection' has novels from 1986/70/71 and gives a great flavour of life in the US.

Nobby.

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Having looked over this thread it seems people are influenced more by personal taste rather than the talent of the actual writers. I myself prefer British crime writers as they seem to have more of a grounding in reality, American writers seem to over-do everything and can spoil an otherwise good story. I suppose if your a bit of a fantasist then you will prefer American writers, whereas if you like gritty realism then you will be more drawn to British writers. I also like to have some form of connection with the books im reading and feel i can understand and empathise with British rather than American characters in the books i read, other readers prefer to get as far away from their own reality as possible so foreign writers are more likely to appeal to them. I think its really a case of who is prefered and not who is better. Very interesting thread though as i always assumed that most British readers naturally were drawn to British writers.

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Weak?!!! recommendation!!!? me???? I beg to differ on THAT bit of info, been with Stephen since the off, and I wouldn't give a rec if he wasn't upto it.

Sorry you've never heard of 'til now, well better late then never, what Royal Rother.? We Booth-ites are a patient lot.

 

You got THAT bit right, exceptin' of course there's no MIGHTs about it.!

 

 

 

Peter James read some his, classification: tepid to lukewarm. :D

 

Try summat more advanced for you, another "weak recommendation" for you Royal, how about: http://www.michaeljecks.co.uk/ he's not half bad either. ;) If you've got the Ballards.... of course. :scared:

 

So, oddball, I finally got to Stephen Booth - couldn't get Black Dog so started on the 2nd of the series, Dancing With The Virgins.

 

Very good - particularly interesting relationship between Fry and Cooper that I'm sure smoulders along throughout the series.

 

Rather slow-paced, not a lot of action, almost tepid at times, (poor man's Peter James) but Booth really gives an excellent feel of the Peaks and its inhabitants and ways of life, and, in all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Already started on Blood On The Tongue...

 

Cheers for the (rather weak) recommendation.

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I'm afraid that fireball will not be able to respond to your post.

 

fireball passed away on the day after Christmas from what I suspect was a massive stroke. I had a serious online relationship with him for over 4 years, but his family have not gotten back to me with what took his life for sure.

 

My suspicions are based on the fact that he had had at least two very serious strokes in the past - one of which he was VERY lucky to have survived - and continued to suffer from ill health as a result.

 

He seemed to be fine when he was posting online on Christmas Day, but when his family went to pick him up to take him out on Boxing Day, they found him dead in his apartment.

 

I miss him desperately.

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Just thought I'd post a recommendation that fireball made to me, and that I really enjoyed.

 

The book is called River of Darkness, and the author is Rennie Airth. Airth is originally from South Africa. I haven't read the second book in the series, The Blood-Dimmed Tide yet, but RoD is quite excellent.

 

It's supposedly going to be a trilogy, the third of which will be published later on this year. Its title is The Dead of Winter.

 

It's so sad that fireball will never get to read the third book, as he was so excited when he discovered Airth's work.

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