In an uncertain world there is one stark certainty. Crime. It is the reality we cannot escape, the salt of life that both fascinates and terrifies. Here in America we have had criminals at the highest levels of our government and our corporations, not to mention the predatory criminals that ravage our mean urban streets. Our police departments are inundated with crime and corruption and our more than 2 million prisoners, state, local and Federal, wile away their weary hours by augmenting and refining their criminal techniques. This is the setting for All Things Crime, spearheaded by Los Angeles Private Investigator and crime writer Patrick H. Moore (PHM).
In this blog, we will discuss True Crime, both as it exists in reality and as depicted in works such as Capote’s In Cold Blood and Ed Sanders’ exhaustive Manson family saga, The Family, as well as the literature of Crime as it appears in illustrious works of fiction. The literature of crime begins with European giants such as Francois Villon, Dostoevsky, Dickens, and Conrad, and crosses the Atlantic to manifest in the strange mind of Edgar Allen Poe. Crime then seeps into the best work of some true American heavyweights – Faulkner, Algren and Flannery O’Connor come to mind. Crime writing emerges as a full-fledged obsession (and marketable genre) with the great noir writers: Hammett, Chandler, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, James M. Cain and Chester Himes. The genre then expands to include such diverse talents as Norman Mailer, Robert Stone, Walter Mosely, Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men), Truman Capote, Ed Sanders, the brilliant and problematical James Ellroy, and that eminent practitioner of gritty crime writing (and PHM’s personal inspiration), Dennis Lehane. We now also have a whole slew of transgressive work from folks such as Jerry Stahl and Tony O’Neill. The list is long and getting longer.
It’s illuminating to see how international writers have taken the best elements of American crime writing and adapted them to suit their own needs. We enjoy stellar books from the likes of Jean-Patrick Manchette, Roberto Bolano, Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, to name just a handful.
The field is a rich landscape of endless possibility and in All Things Crime we will wrestle with this field. Fellow crime aficianados, we invite your thoughts and ideas and with your permission, we look forward to posting your contributions in the form of short articles and reflections on this important and fascinating topic.