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Paolo

Why are American crime writers better than their UK counterparts?

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Oh dear oh dear - so very sorry to hear that.

 

A quirky and entertaining poster who I suspect would have rather enjoyed me calling him oddball... (hope so anyway... :o )

 

Having read 2 of the series, Stephen Booth is now high up on my list of English crime writers and I would have liked fireball to have known that his recommendation had been so well received.

 

RIP fireball.

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I don't think he would have been offended, he was a very good-natured individual - even though life had dealt him enough blows that he should have been quite angry about it all.

 

He'd recommended Stephen Booth to me, as well. But he suggested that the books should be read in the order in which they had been written. Not being made of money at the moment, I've been trying to track the books down in thrift stores, and used book stores. I've found #3-6, but have not managed to find #1 or 2 yet.

 

He was probably the biggest contributor to Stephen's message board, using the moniker of steelclaw32 (it's the online ID he used most).

 

I met him on the message board for author Michael Slade.

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He may not be posting, but he has been back..."last activity 5th May 2008". I wonder if someone PM'd him, prompting the login?

That could have been down to one of our PM spammers, who seem to target old members who haven't posted in a long time - presumably with the thought that regulars will be more likely to report them.

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Hello! This is my first day on Book Group but so far I love it as Paolo's question about US and UK crime writers is one I am obsessed with! What a great start. :D

 

For me, US crime and thriller writers hit the pace on the head. I've just finished 'Exposure' by Alex Kava and couldn't put it down. This was mainly because of the pace. It didn't stop once! I recently started 'The Point of Rescue' by Sophie Hannah book and am still reading it as, for me, the pace of the story just isn't there and my interest began to waver. I need to save it for a holiday read I think as I've heard such great stuff about it but my attention span is too short :)

 

I love crime books because I love to become instantly absorbed with the story and in solving the crime. I hate to admit it, but I don't want to have to work hard so as a whole I find US writers an easier read. Having said that, if the book is really different or slightly quirky then for me words rule and UK authors often give us pieces of genius. Am just starting 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn and so far it is all it has been said to be.

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As readers, our tastes vary but nearly everyone who reads a lot of Crime and Mystery Fiction will have both Brit and Yank favourites - and writers whose books, however highly rated by others, turn us off.

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.
I guess part of it is the danger/violence element (guns etc.), plus Americans are much better than we Brits at paranoia, an essential element of good crime fiction - just look at the world around you for proof.
Plenty of examples support both these views - perhaps reflecting the more violent nature of American society - but they are certainly not true of all American crime/mystery writers.

 

My main gripe about American crime and mystery fiction is that far too many of these gritty tales of corruption and crime go totally over the top and refuse to recognize that there is any decency or kindness in the world. In this sort of American crime and mystery fiction certain character types are almost always thorougly corrupt and evil. There are few decent and well-meaning millionaires or politicians in such books. And [protestant] ministers of religion are almost invariably portrayed as corrupt, hypocritical sleazeballs.

 

Okay, one doesn't read crime and mystery fiction for an uplifting experience, but need so many American books belonging to this genre be so overwhelmingly noire?

 

In this area I do feel that many Brit crime and mystery writers offer the reader a more sanely balanced - and hence more believable - view of the world.

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I don't think the US has Better crime writers than the UK and i wouldn't say the UK has better either. Im usuallu dissapointed and amazed in equal measure by both sides of the puddle.

 

It comes down to who's writing it, not from where they come from.

 

I started reading Chelsea Cain's 'Heart sick' and after 100 pages i threw it in the bag ready for a charity shop, i thought it was total pants. But i read a British author, Tim Willocks and his books blew me away. I dislike Stuart Macbride novels but love Pelecanos ect. ect. Both sides of the pond have their good and bad. None are better than the other, it's all down to the individual writing the book.

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But i read a British author, Tim Willocks and his books blew me away.
Which book did you read Buddy? Green River Rising?

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Haha, yeah, i read that and Blood stained kings... got me hooked instantly :). I seen a thread about GRR and was suprised to finally find someone who has read the book. Apologies for my previous comment if your a Chelsea Cain fan haha.

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Is it just me or do US writers carry a bit more heft than British writers? I know there’s dross produced in the States (Patterson springs to mind as a culprit) and I’m sure they produce authors as anodyne as our very own snore merchant, Robert Goddard, but there really are much more interesting crime novelists emanating from America at the moment. Maybe it’s the hugeness of the country or the fact they have more guns. Anyone have any ideas why this is so?

 

Anyway, my top three crime/thriller authors are:

1) George Pelecanos – writes rich, savage books about Washington DC. Start with the Big Blowdown or the Sweet Forever.

Great - if you like depth and brilliant dialogue.

Not so good - for those who like endless twists.

 

2) Carl Hiaasen – incredibly funny satirist who writes brilliant revenge comedies about the despoliation of Florida.

Great – if you like funny, smart writing.

 

 

Not so good – if you’re the chief executive of an oil company.

 

3) James Lee Burke – lyrical, evocative writer who can also tell a great story. Bases his books in New Orleans and Montana. Doesn’t like oil companies either.

Great – if you like your writing rich and chewy but need a great tale too.

Not so good – If polysyllables make your teeth hurt.

 

And I thought you had them nailed in one ! I think Americans are generally more open with their language and dirt and grit I have to agree with you about Pelecanos and Hiaasen one of the funniest novels I ever read by him was Lucky You ! if you like Hiaasen and James Lee Burke you ought to love SLIDE by Saira Viola also savagely satirical with a crime theme one of the characters has "BNP" connections and halitosis and of course the amazingly cool James Ellroy can't get enough of his staccato prose jumping at ya I thought The Big Nowhere White Jazz and so many others superb . Knife crime is rampant in the inner cities with gun crime on the increase I thnk it does matter where you draw your experiences from but there were some great crime stories based in England before post modern fiction . Still agree though the Americans have it sussed.

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

 

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.

 

Gosh, well this is a very old post but to answer the question you probably forgot you asked...the senator is David Norris and yes he's a full on James Joyce fan and leads Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin every year.

 

:)

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Gosh, well this is a very old post but to answer the question you probably forgot you asked...the senator is David Norris and yes he's a full on James Joyce fan and leads Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin every year.

I'm sad to say fireball died suddenly several years ago, so I'm afraid he won't be able to reply.

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I'm sad to say fireball died suddenly several years ago, so I'm afraid he won't be able to reply.

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. RIP fireball.

 

On another forum I use regularly we have had a few of our moderators and members die over the years, the youngest user I know of being a 19 year old who died of leukaemia and the youngest mod being a fantastic, chirpy 21 year old woman who died of food poisoning while teaching English abroad :( I never met her but had two ties to her outside of the forums; she went to the same Uni as I did and she shared the same ancient (and no longer common) Irish first name as my daughter.

 

With regards to the topic at hand. I think that the addition of Tom Thorne (Mark Billingham) to the British crime thriller really livened up a genre that was beginning to get very, very similar in Britain. I think latterly Billingham also succumbed to the 'British' style however. The slower pace of British crime novels makes them feel less 'action-packed' than their American counterparts but I think that rather than saying AMerican writers are 'better' we should recognise British authors as being 'different' to the American authors.

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I've really enjoyed reading this old thread. My American crime reading has been little limited, I do prefer British and Scandinavian writers. Another Stephen Booth fan here, I'm looking forward to doing some walking in The Peak District when I get the chance but it now seems a far darker and more worrying place! Two of my favourite British writers not mentioned are Val McDermid, I loved her Tony Hill books, not at all a fan of the TV series though. And RJ Ellory's A Quite Belief in Angels was excellent. I'm very slowly reading my way through his backlist, I love his writing style, haven't read one for awhile, this thread has prompted me to check what's next on my list.

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There are American writers I enjoy such as Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burk, Lawrence Block, Bill Evans who also wrote as Ed McBain. But, there are British writers I enjoy, too, such as Ian Rankin and Charles Todd--and his mother. If I am presented with two books by authors who are new to me, if one is American and one is British I would select the British author.

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Hello patrickt and welcome:  I live in Canada and read a lot of US thrillers but I also enjoy the British thriller and detective authors, I lived in the UK until I was eighteen so have strong ties to anything Brit.  Haven't run across anything by Charles Todd, but will look for him.  I hope you enjoy the forum, lots of threads of interest.  You might be interested in the Book of the Month discussions.  The latest one is on humour, don't know what the final choice is yet but am sure it will be announced at some point.  You can see the nominations on the Vote for the Book of the Month thread.

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I've read all of Charles Todd's books (they are written by a mother and son duo) and like them a lot.  I think I've said this before, but I don't really think one is better than the other. 

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Hello patrickt and welcome:  I live in Canada and read a lot of US thrillers but I also enjoy the British thriller and detective authors, I lived in the UK until I was eighteen so have strong ties to anything Brit.  Haven't run across anything by Charles Todd, but will look for him.  I hope you enjoy the forum, lots of threads of interest.  You might be interested in the Book of the Month discussions.  The latest one is on humour, don't know what the final choice is yet but am sure it will be announced at some point.  You can see the nominations on the Vote for the Book of the Month thread.

 

Um  that would be The Group Read, Momac

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Um  that would be The Group Read, Momac

Sorry, that's the name for a group read on another forum. My apologies for misleading information.

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Love Peter Robinson and how about Peter James?

 

 

Read both of these authors and enjoy their books.  Welcom blueflow, hope you enjoy the forum, maybe tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to read besides the authors you have mentioned.

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"Is it just me or do US writers carry a bit more heft than British writers?"

 

I'm not sure what that sentence means but I tend to prefer the writing in books by British authors. I like some American writers but if I had a choice to select one book and knew none of the authors I'd lean towards a British author.

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