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Sam Wiebe
Showing posts by: Sam Wiebe click to see Sam Wiebe's profile
Tue
Feb 13 2018 1:00pm

Crime Fiction in the Age of Trump: Five Top Writers Weigh in on the Challenge of Writing Crime in 2018

Last fall, I was a juror on a murder trial. The inevitable response from friends and family upon hearing that was, “Must be good research.” It’s a phrase you hear a lot as a crime writer, and it speaks to the inherent paradox of the genre—that if crime and mystery fiction serve as escapism, it’s escapism built on social reality.

No other genre is expected, or even encouraged, to draw upon real-world knowledge of police procedure and criminology, the currents and back channels of the justice system, and the motivations behind criminal behavior—in short, upon real life. It stands to reason, then, that crime fiction is uniquely placed to speak to those realities, to say something about what’s going on in our world.

Representations of violence, of systemic powers and institutions, carry a heavier weight these days. How can anyone write about gleefully corrupt cops in the age of Black Lives Matter? With longstanding issues of sexual harassment and assault finally coming to light, does it trivialize those things to represent them in fiction? And when the country is run by a person whose agenda runs counter to many of our deepest-held beliefs about decency and humanism—and of course I’m talking about my country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau—well, what’s a crime writer to do?

[Read more about the state of crime writing in 2018...]