Death Brackets: The Clichés of Crime, the Final Four

Death BracketsConsidering the worst cliches in crime, the votes have been tallied and it’s final four time. A lot of passionate responses and a mix of tight races and lopsided contests.

Let’s recap from the first round: As protagonists, Hit Men and Serial Killers were (broken) neck and neck, but in the final votes, Serial Killers led the way as the more hated trope. The hit men survive and live to kill another day.

The device of the old “One Last Job” had few fans, but more than exploiting our old friend Sherlock Holmes. So take heart aging criminal, your last shot at glory will be preserved. Gosh, I hope the job goes well.

Bogart as Sam Spade
Enough already with the PI clichés!
Apparently no one has a problem hiring a Drunken Private Eye. Only one vote went to doing away with that classic noir fiction antihero. Our pals in the Mafia though, have worn out their welcome! An overwhelming majority voted to cut to black on Tony Soprano and his crew.

And get used to seeing more Paranormal Crime Solvers on bookshelves. People seem to vastly prefer the supernatural to the nice ladies who solve crime in between baking cookies. Culinary Detectives as a group raised the ire of an easy majority of voters, even despite all the recipes for marmalade and the wine & cheese pairings.

  Our Final Four (vote for the cliché in each bracket you hate most):

Serial Killers vs. The Mafia


The Coattails of Sherlock Holmes vs. Culinary Crime Fighters

Who will make it to the finals to go mano a mano? Will it be the spree killers, the Dexters and Hannibal Lecters of the book world? Or will it be the broken-nosed guys in the pinstripe suits?

Will you forgive authors using the legacy of the world’s greatest detective or will you see past the quaint kitchen decor of the culinary mysteries?

Get your votes in now! Defend your favorites, kick the other heckneyed tropes to the curb. After this, we’ll have our championship to tell authors at large, “No more!”

UPDATE: Thanks for all your votes. We’ve closed this round. Go see who made it to the Death Brackets Cliché Championship and choose your worst!

Eric Beetner is the author of Dig Two Graves, Split Decision (Book #3 in the Fight Card series) and co-author with JB Kohl of One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. His award-winning short fiction has appeared in Pulp Ink, D*cked, Off The Record, Grimm Tales, Discount Noir, Needle, Murder In The Wind and the upcoming Million Writers Award: best new online voices. For more and links to free stories visit


  1. Chris Rhatigan

    Somehow I’m just now catching onto this.

    Anyway, serial killers are the worst. A few authors handle them well, but for the most part they are terrible. Especially on TV.

  2. Laura K. Curtis

    OMG, the Mafia is the WORST. So, so tired of the stereotypes!

    I love foodie crime, but even I, eater that I am, am feeling a bit worn down by the parade of culinary sleuths.

  3. Carmen Pinzon

    I’m all for disposing of the Mafia and the culinary sleuths.

  4. Betty Breier

    No more Mafia and no more “murder and mayhem…with recipes!”

  5. Sol Kane

    Enough with the serial killers. What I’m really sick of are sports mysteries. If I cared about sports, I’d drill a hole in my cranium, drain out my brains, and turn on ESPN.

  6. LauraT

    Serial killers and Sherlock Holmes.

  7. David Spiller

    Eliminate the Mafia and the Culinary Crimefighters.

  8. Deborah Lacy

    I agree with @scifidavid – send the Mafia and the Culinary Crimefighters to sleep with the fishes.

  9. Anne Christensen

    I think the worst are serial killers and the Mafia. I also am getting really tired of cozy mysteries.

  10. Sally

    No more serial killers, and please, write a cookbook, not a culinary crimefighter novel.

  11. Juri Nummelin

    Serial killers and the culinaries.

  12. Donna Cunningham

    Serial Killers & culinary sleuths.

  13. Bookdivashirley

    THE WORST: The Coattails of Sherlock Holmes –no one can do it like the original The Mafia –so old!!!!!

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