I don’t know what kind of writer you are, but I am a writer who enjoys mystery, crime, drama, and just a touch of magic. I like stories that are literary in nature, contain weaving motifs and conflicted characters. I want to search for the meaning and if there is no meaning intended I want the creative ability to create a meaning that is meaningful to me. That’s all I ask.
I’m about 3/4 of the way through a book of short stories called Santa Cruz Noir, noir meaning stories full of crime and moral ambiguity. I’m all for it.
Considering I live in Santa Cruz and it was at one point considered the murder capital of the world, I dove right in.
And still the stories shocked me.
The very first story, entitled Buck Low is about a seemingly comfortable and developed serial killer (I inferred that) who has killed a woman, killed her friend looking for her, and took off up into the Bay. He gave me serial killer vibes because of his nonchalance and easy of killing and travel, as if he’s done that before. It felt like the author intentionally created that vibe.
There are odd stories too, like Mischa and the Seal, about a woman marine biologist graduate student. Seals are her muse, they speak to her (quite literally) and she enjoys staying in hotels, particularly a hotel which overlooks the beach. She meets a fellow ocean lover, James, and while they date, a particular seal she communicates with warns her there’s something strange about James and she needs to “dig into it.”
Longer short story short, James is a seal and otter serial killer.
Mischa kills James with his own arrow contraction that he kills the animals with.
She takes a shower, I think, and then seemingly kills herself by also disappearing into the ocean.
I say these stories shocked me because it’s not often I get to read good published crime stories or novels. A lot of them feel contrived to me, although there’s one story I’m hoping is good that I’d like to read about a serial killer who broke out of prison and is searching for his daughter. Unfortunately, I forgot the name. I used to work at a library and saw tons of books I wanted to read. If anyone knows the book I’m talking about, please put it in the comments below.
If you have any crime book recommendations that aren’t detective mysteries, please put those in the comments below too.
I feel like there’s a community of crime writers that are often rejected from the mainstream publishing scene considering murder and darkness scares people. I personally love writing and reading stories that push the boundaries of what we think is acceptable.
I just wrote a story entitled To Jane. My protagonist murdered another woman because she accused my protagonist of stealing some cheap costume jewelry. I sent it off to a couple small magazines, but I’m anticipating rejection; good writers always anticipate rejection. It makes getting published more surprising and fun.
It’s also a grave mistake to pair mental illness and crime together. The two are not synonymous, in fact they’re very opposite of each other. I aim give evidence to that point with my book.
My main work in progress is centered on crime as well; besides the stalking, there is murder, and I’ve learned that murder is acceptable as long as the actual murder isn’t described; people just need the idea of it to conjure their own sick visions. People also like a little mystery.
What is your favorite genre? What do you write? What do you read? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time.
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