Holiday Gift Ideas for the Crime Fiction Writers in Your Life

Author Greg Levin is here to hook you up with a list of awesome gifts you can give to any of the crime fiction writers in your life. And since you're reading this, it'd be safe to say Greg is in your life. Just saying...

Every holiday season, I get bombarded with messages from friends and fans telling me they’re dying to buy me a crime-fiction-related present but aren’t sure what to get such an accomplished author…

…Okay, fine, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes down. Maybe it’s more like every holiday season I bombard my only friend and my six fans with messages telling them I’m dying for them to buy me a crime-related holiday gift.

In my defense, the holidays should be more about giving than receiving. Which is why I’m going to give you a list of ideas for awesome gifts you can give to me and any other crime writers in your life. Some of the items on the list are just for fun. Some of them are quite thoughtful and practical. All of them should be sent to my home address soon to ensure they arrive by Christmas Day or the last day of Hanukkah—whichever comes first.

You’re welcome!


1) Bourbon of the Month Club Membership

Alcohol has long helped writers by opening up creative channels and loosening the flow of prose. Without it, the world would likely be without crime fiction masterpieces by the likes of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. And the world would definitely be without this article. Alcohol not only serves as a muse, but it also dulls the pain authors experience whenever their manuscript is rejected, their book doesn’t sell, or their tweet doesn’t get re-tweeted.

Some of you may be thinking, “But Greg, what if my writer friend doesn’t drink?” My response is, “Don’t buy gifts for people who are better than you and I.” Others might be thinking, “Why Bourbon of the Month Club?” My response to that is, “I couldn’t find a Bourbon of the Day Club.”


2) Remote Cabin Getaway

Whether a rustic Airbnb rental or an abandoned shack where an unsolved murder occurred decades ago, this gift will provide the peace and quiet your crime-writing comrade needs to clearly hear the illicit voices in their head.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a place that doesn’t have wifi, TV, heating, air conditioning or anything else that might risk making the writer too happy and comfortable to produce anything of true literary merit. Just keep in mind that, while suffering is good for a writer, dying is not (despite the boost in sales of existing books that death can provide). So be sure to stock the cabin with enough food to keep them alive during their retreat, and to remove all sharp objects and rope for the same reason.


3) Noise-Canceling Headphones

Not every crime fiction author has the luxury of being able to go away and suffer for days in a quiet cabin. Many have to stay home to do their telemarketing job and take care of their six cats. Fortunately, you can bring the quiet cabin directly to these writers with a pair of noise-canceling headphones. There’s simply no better way for a domesticated scribe to drown out the cacophony of familial chatter and meowing that daily disrupts their crime-novel-in-progress.

For those of you on a budget or who are too cheap to spring for noise-canceling headphones, viable alternatives that help writers shut out the real world to focus on fake crimes include: silicone earplugs; fluffy earmuffs; or slipping everyone they live with an Ambien.

More from Greg Levin: Ideal Day Jobs for Crime Novelists

4) Treadmill Desk

Crime fiction writers often spend days on end sitting in front of their computer—lost in their own twisted imagination and googling the best murder methods. While this is great for creating new worlds and realistic homicides, it’s unfortunately even better for creating major heart attacks. Studies indicate that the sedentary nature of novel writing is the fourth leading contributor to death among crime fiction authors, trailing only substance abuse, accidents resulting from setting manuscripts on fire, and accidents resulting from getting too close to actual crimes as part of the research.

Giving a writer a treadmill desk not only shows you care about them and their health, it helps to ensure they won’t die before they finish Book Three of the gritty series they have you hooked on.


5) Helmet

“Safety first” is something chemistry and industrial arts teachers continuously preach in class. Why English teachers don’t do the same is beyond me. If more of them took time to educate students on the dangers of writing, then emergency rooms would likely handle a million fewer self-inflicted head injuries each year.

But rather than blame the educational system, do your crime-writing loved one a favor and gift them a helmet for the holidays. Sure, you could instead try convincing them to stop slamming their head against their desk every time they get writer’s block or want to un-see a horrific crime scene they wrote, but we all know they’re never going to stop doing those things.

Please note that if you end up getting a writer the Bourbon of the Month Club membership and the treadmill desk I listed earlier, you are legally OBLIGATED to throw in a helmet.


6) Personal Hygiene App

It’s very easy to forget to bathe when totally focused on creating plot twists, getting drunk and setting fires. This is not to suggest that all writers struggle to maintain personal hygiene. Surely Gillian Flynn and James Patterson have staff on hand to wipe them down at regular intervals. For the rest of the crime-writing populace, there’s an app for that.

A hygiene app will remind hardworking authors to hop in the shower after every few chapters and to brush their teeth before passing out each morning, afternoon and night. These apps make for very affordable gifts and practically guarantee that the only foul odor coming from your writer friends will be their decaying dreams of earning a living wage.

The holidays aren’t just about giving; they’re also about outdoing others. So feel free to share your much better gift ideas for crime fiction writers in the comments section below.

 Thanks! Oh, and…


(Here’s hoping 2020 isn’t even remotely like 2019.)