Committing a Criminal Shift

I’m in the process of re-framing my writing. While most of my writing has an element of criminality about it, I have yet to come to a solid realization of crime writing. Most of my stories could be framed as crime novels, though not necessarily pulp or noir. There are the historical exceptions, but even they have elements of the underworld.

I have long enjoyed crime novels. More than just a detective or sleuth, a real story of criminals. Elmore Leonard. Ed McBain. Andrew Vachss. Joe Abercrombie. Raymond Chandler. And crime comics. Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Greg Rucka.

Crime, as a genre, appeals to me. And I, in large measure, write crime. I’ve spent the last several years trying to categorize my writing as thriller or historical fiction. I’ve tried to understand the best way to describe it, to find the best marketing methods, to understand a brand. I have failed to come up with an overarching description for what I write. But the answer, with minor caveat, is crime.

Noy and Her Ungrateful Husband Khamsouk, while a family and political drama inspired by Milan Kundera, is also a story of corruption and ambition, greed and criminal aspirations.

Bloody Sunday, while a thriller, is also the basis for what may well be a very long and intense series of crime novels based around one of the major characters. A police officer in 1980s Haiti who must deal with the corruption, the betrayals, and the power grabs of an endlessly amoral government.

Nobody’s Heroes, a war drama but also a story of a corrupt politician seeking redemption through the race relations of World War I Harlem. Corrupt politicians. Race relations. Harlem. What could be more crime?

And many of the other books that I’ve written in first draft and either discarded, or haven’t gotten around to editing yet, are based in crime. The criminal mind, the anti-hero, the broken soul. These things fascinate me more than any thriller hero, detective, or cozy seamstress.

I want to write crime. It’s what intrigues me. Not the mystery. Not the wise cracking private investigator, but the criminal. The murderer. The corrupt politician. The white collar criminal who turns to more violent things. Hell. Even the musical I wrote is a crime thriller.

And what’s more, I’m in the process of editing a novel that will introduce a half-Latino character operating as a gang leader in Orange County, California. A story of vengeance and family. It’s a straight up crime thriller. The unifying element with my other writing? Crime.

So I write crime. That’s what I do. I’ve finally hit on the element that brings everything together and puts a shining spotlight on the feature focus of my craft. A crime writer. I may take a bit to add some tropes and to shift into a more mainstream crime style, but that’s where I’m headed.

That’s also what I’m going to focus this blog on. In addition to literary citizenship: reviews of books, movies, comics, etc., I’m going to discuss research. History. Characters. The elements of my writing that relate to crime and might interest readers of crime fiction. It’s the new mission of my blog, and my writing, to write crime.

So welcome to the new direction, the paradigm shift that will lead me through the future, take me to a new place and a new level of production. I look forward to sharing my insights with you and to share the things I learn as I research and write various stories, books, and other items.

I may be a lawyer, but I’m also a writer, and one with crime on the brain.

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