Skip to Content

Comment from the book world in July 2023

July 2023

Crime is 'now the world's most popular genre'

31 July 2023

‘Some readers love to stay local, and there's nothing wrong with that. But for me, the real beauty of fiction is that you can travel to anywhere in the world, you can travel to different periods in history, and you can be immersed in these amazing environments, all from the safety of your armchair. Publishers have finally cottoned on to the fact that readers are very intelligent consumers - you can present them with different types of crime fiction, instead of second-guessing that they only want to read more of the same. There's a whole range of people who have written different types of crime fiction that the industry didn't realise there was a market for, but publishers have now realised that readers are buying these books, and there's profit to be made. It all boils down to: is there a business case for this? And readers have demonstrated that there is...

The statistics show us that it's now the world's most popular genre, and not just in print, but if you turn on the TV or streaming services, it's crime shows that seem to be the most popular. Although crime fiction was always popular, it's reached new heights in the last few years.
It is very democratised around the world. Before it was purely a Western thing, but now if you turn on Netflix India there's a whole range of crime shows that were previously unheard of in India - it was all Bollywood and soap operas, but now crime thrillers are doing really well in these kinds of countries. Korea is another big market for crime fiction. It has become a global enterprise.'

Vaseem Khan, Crime Writers Association chair and author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series and the Malabar House books in Bookbrunch



'A real sense of jeopardy'

17 July 2023

‘I not only know the beginning, middle and end of the book, but I know the beginning, middle and end of each chapter...

I think it's important for my readers that there is a real sense of jeopardy for the characters. Sometimes when you read a particular genre, you get to know where things are going. But I feel it's really important that when readers meet the characters on the first page, they feel that "we can't take anything for granted here". Anything must feel possible, it's only when they get to the end of the book that they will know exactly where the story was going, and why...

Quite often I'll get emails and messages from people who have literally just that minute finished the book and are desperate to tell me how they feel about the emotions it has brought out in them. It is really lovely to have that immediacy.'

Mike Gayle, author of 17 books, including his first novel My Legendary Girlfriend, Wish You Were Here and just-published All the Lonely People, in the Bookseller

'The characters stand tall'

3 July 2023

‘After finishing 1st draft of a novel, I have the characters, dialogue, scenes, and a plotline. I used to think this meant I knew where the story was going, and what the book was about.

I have learned over the years, this ain't so.

As I work through its 2nd draft, characters start to nudge each other. The story itself takes its first soft and shallow breath, and one could imagine he hears a little bit of a heartbeat. Passions deepen, and emotional threads start to weave through what had earlier just been little more than a sequence of events.

On the 3rd run through, the characters stand tall. Some break free of my earlier concepts of what they were all about, what they wanted, how they related to each other, and where they were going.

From then on, THEY set the pace, and I do my best to honor them in becoming what THEY choose to be.

From then on, my friends; we have a story!'

Edward Fahey, author of The Morning After, The Gardens of Ailana and The Soul Hides in Shadows