Crime Fiction Genre Sub-categories

The first one is where I want to be involved, although the second is very, very interesting and I might cut some showing graphic violence in the hard-boiled detective and go with a slight mix with cozy mystery.

  1. In the hard-boiled private investigator genre, the detective works in a city, and the violence is explicit. The detective follows clues in the dark underbelly of the city. Example: Mickey Spillane’s ‘Mike Hammer’
  2. In the cosy mystery genre, the detective is usually an amateur, the violence is never described in detail, and the setting is often a small town. The detective uses his or her powers of observation and deduction, as well as an excellent general knowledge to solve the crime. Example: Agatha Christie’s ‘Miss Marple’ and on TV or movies I prefer the Miss Marple played by Margaret Rutherford.
  3. The legal thriller requires research into the rules and procedures of a legal world. A lot of readers want to know what happens after a crime is committed and an arrest is made. You can use crises of legal conscience to make your characters more rounded. Examples: John Grisham and Richard North Patterson write in this genre
  4. The police procedural is realistic and should be as accurate as the author can make it. The reader is taken to a squad room, morgue, court, and crime scenes. This genre is complicated and the detective is often under a lot of pressure. For example, he or she could be dealing with many cases, he generally has personal problems with relationships, and his superiors want the case solved. There are secondary characters, including suspects, police officers, lawyers, and criminals. Examples: Ian Rankin’s ‘Rebus’, Michael Connelly’s ‘Harry Bosch’, and James Patterson’s ‘Alex Cross’
  5. The medical thriller is a suspense novel that takes place in a hospital. The protagonists are usually doctors or nurses. The plot is based on situations unique to medicine and medical research. Examples: Robin Cook, Michael Crichton and Tess Gerritsen write in this genre.
  6. The forensic thriller is a fairly new genre. The lead character is usually a woman who is a scientist or pathologist. Research is needed. Accuracy is essential. Most of the action takes place in crime scenes and morgues, and in the lead character’s home. Examples: Jeffery Deaver’s ‘Lincoln Rhyme’, Patricia Cornwell’s ‘Kay Scarpetta’, and Kathy Reichs’s ‘Temperance Brennan’
  7. The general suspense thriller features a protagonist who is generally thrown into the action in the aftermath of a crime. This hero is often an ordinary person who is called on to solve a problem. Sometimes, this person must prove his or her innocence, often to the police and other characters in the novel. Examples: Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’; Gillian Flynn and Dennis Lehane also write in this genre.
  8. The Military Thriller has a protagonist who is often a member of the military, MI5, the CIA or the FBI, or a consultant to a military agency. Readers of this genre love the details and a lot of research is necessary. Often the criminals are crooked politicians or terrorists. The action often spans continents. Example: Tom Clancy’s ‘Jack Ryan’ which has been a favourite of mine for many years.


Different Tense in Novel Writing

Simple Past Tense

Simple past tense is used to narrate an action of the past. The verb in the past tense ends with an ‘-ed’ and hence, there are seven ways of marking the irregular verbs in the past tense. The most common being the change of the vowel as in ‘drink’ – ‘drank’.


Subject + Verb + Object


  • Brian worked in that office for almost eight years.
  • She passed away in 1999.
  • We went for the movie yesterday.
  • Two years ago, I studied at the Leeds University.

Past Continuous Tense

This from of tense indicates activities that have already happened in the past and have been completed before the time of mention. These sentences are formed with the help of an auxiliary verb and giving the main verb an ‘ing’ ending.


Subject + Was/Were + Verb in its -ing form + Object


  • She was washing the dishes, while he was cooking dinner.
  • was working at 1p.m yesterday afternoon.
  • We were playing football when it started to rain.
  • He was reading a thriller novel when I called him.
  • What were you doing when Tom arrived?
  • was walking down the street yesterday when the police car was patrolling the town.

Past Perfect Tense

This tense refers to a non-continuous action that was already completed in the past. Such sentences are formed by using the Simple Past form of the auxiliary verb ‘to have’, followed by the past participle form of the verb.


Subject + Had + Past Participle form of Verb + Object


  • had never seen such a beautiful  horse before.
  • He understood the movie only because he had read the book.
  • Cara had never been to a pub before last night.
  • We didn’t get a room in the hotel because we had not booked in advance.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

A continuous action that was completed sometime in the past falls under Past Perfect Continuous tense. Such sentences are framed by using the modal, ‘had’ + ‘been’ + the present participle of the verb (-ing).


Subject + Had + Been + Verb (ing) + Object


  • had been playing the piano all morning.
  • had been sleeping all the way from the beginning of the lecture.
  • He had been trying to call her.
  • Until this year, Lucy had been going to a village school.
  • The baby had been crying out loud for minutes when her mother fed her.