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It’s funny how there seems to be so much snobbery about crime fiction especially in the UK. I don’t know whether people think they are still like the Victorian ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ or crime fiction is only about someone bumping off Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room with a dagger.

Let’s face it, if your only brush with crime fiction in the past has been Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and ‘Rosemary and Thyme’ then maybe you might well have rather a warped perspective of the contemporary crime novel, but let me reassure you crime fiction is changing!

As a genre, crime fiction is actually enjoying a revival and book sales are up. You could name a whole raft of crime fiction writers who have added another layer; people such as Henning Mankell, Michael Connelly, Sophie Hannah (https://jameswmckenna.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/james-mckennas-crime-fiction-tip-this-week-is-the-carrier-by-sophie-hannah/) and of course, Ian Rankin. What really seems to have changed (and I did mention this is an earlier blog) is how the place and its impact on the narrative is so important. Added to this I really feel that contemporary crime writing is tackling some interesting contemporary issues that cross moral and philosophical boundaries.

I know when I write I want to explore contemporary issues like human trafficking or subliminal psychotic induction and it was interesting to watch the debate unfold on the media about contemporary slave trading when the new report came out last Monday (see last week’s blog https://jameswmckenna.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/james-mckenna-knows-the-uncounted-should-be-government-reading-stop-treating-people-as-potential-illegal-immigrants-they-are-victims-of-crime/). I actually wrote The Uncounted a couple of years back and people were dismissive about the notion of human trafficking, but now I am wondering whether I should actually settle down and write a sequel!

But I digress; books are now being written about the genre itself and I was please and amazed, if not a little envious, that you can now study crime fiction at university. This can only be a good thing as it will prompt everyone to view crime fiction novels in a much better light as having something valid to say in sociological contexts too. I will get back to my proofreading and re-drafting of my latest book and leave you with a couple of recommendations.

James McKenna’s interesting reads for this week are:

Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
• This is a new thriller from the Alex Cross stable and has such pace and a wonderfully twisted killer or too.

The Striker Clive Cussler Justin Scott
• Love this as it is set at the very beginning of the twentieth century and Isaac Bell is a newbie in the detective stakes. His case is an interesting one as he looks for saboteurs in the local coal mines. It was something different and just a great read.

Calculated in Death J D Robb
• This is an excellent book in the long running series. A female body is found, anything of value removed and it could just be a botched mugging but the body yields up complicated secrets. The characters of Eve and Roarke are really developing. No wonder other people also rate it highly.

Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue A Reader’s Guide by Gill Plain
• This is a great guide to one of Rankin’s early books and also carried information about the author’s biography alongside interesting interviews too. It’s actually one of a series which aims to give any reader the opportunity to learn a little more about certain contemporary novel titles and I really liked this one.

Anyway if you have a moment please check out my modern day slavery video: