Crime Fiction Genre Subcategories

1. The cosy mystery genre, the detective, usually is an amateur, a detailed description of the violence or a sex scene is never given, and this is why it’s called cozy. The setting is often a small town. The detective uses their powers of observation and deduction, as well as excellent general knowledge to solve the crime. Example: Agatha Christie’s ‘Miss Marple’
2. In the hard-boiled private investigator genre, the detective works in a large city, and the violence is explicit. The detective follows clues in the dark underbelly of the city. Example: Mickey Spillane’s ‘Mike Hammer’
3. The legal thriller needs research into the rules and methods of the legal world. Readers usually want to know what happens after a crime is committed with an arrest. 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. Modern PIs are sometimes women, often former policemen, and wisecracking loners who usually carry a weapon. But, in the U.K. there are no guns. (They can also be bounty hunters.) They are usually hired by private people to solve mysteries or crimes and to find people. Examples: Lawrence Block’s ‘Matt Scudder’, Janet Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’, and Sue Grafton’s ‘Kinsey Millhone’
5. The police procedural story is realistic and should be as accurate as the author can create it. The reader is taken to some squad rooms, morgues, courts, and crime scenes. This genre is quite complicated, and the investigator is often under a lot of stress. For example, the detective could be dealing with many cases, he 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’
6. The medical thriller is a suspense story that takes place in hospitals. The protagonist is usually a doctor or nurse. The plot is based on conditions unique to medicine and medical research. Examples: Robin Cooke, Michael Crichton and Tess Gerritsen, write in this genre.
7. The forensic thriller is a reasonably new genre. The lead character or protagonist is usually a woman who is a scientist or pathologist. Research is needed for these jobs as 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’
8. The general suspense thriller features a protagonist who is driven into the action in the result of a crime. This hero is often just an ordinary character who is called on to resolve a problem. Sometimes, this character 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.
9. The military thriller has a lead character who is often part of the military, MI5 or MI6, 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 usually spans continents.

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