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Happy Birthday Crime Fiction

WooHoo! Look who is 169 years old. Have a great day! (Standard Facebook post on Birthdays.)

Edgar Allan Poe's THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE was published on this date, in 1841. (Hat tip to the Writers Almanac.) I don't have much planned, but today helps clarify what I have been thinking about for the last year or so. And that is Crime Fiction is looking every one of its 169 years. Maybe I'm not reading the right books, maybe I'm being too hard on Crime Fiction? I am sure there are some who see this period as a new Golden Age. God Bless you if you do. But as someone who is entering their third decade as a Crime Fiction reader, I am beginning to be overwhelmed by the level of mediocrity. There have been a handful of books in the recent past that have been praised into the ground, that ultimately I have had the misfortune to read. Even my stable of proven authors has fallen on tough times in the eyes of this reader. Is my taste level this off? Am I too swayed by the hyperbolic dust jacket pull quote? Worse yet, is this blog interfering with my enjoyment?

I'll admit I am my worst enemy. I have three categories; great, good, and garbage. Now very few fall into the 'garbage' category, and even fewer fall into the 'great' category. I can think of only 1 recent read that flirts shamelessly with that category. So that leaves the 'good' category to swallow up a much of what I read. And lately 'good' is not cutting it. Safe, pedestrian reads with predictably emotionally conflicted characters in paint by numbers plotting describe too much of what I have been reading. I like to reward good solid writing even if I don't connect with the book, but with many of these novels nothing resonates, nothing lasts. The only success in most books is the act of completion by the author, and is that really succeeding at anything?

So what is the point of this post? Not much really, but The Hungry Detective is coming to understand on all levels what it means when people say they can't see the forest through the trees.


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