Monday, January 30, 2006

What is it?

A woman I went to college with sent me an interesting review of my Dark Fantastic collection that appeared in some kind of French magazine. Beth has lived in Paris for years and e mails me reviews from time to time.

For the most part the review is more than favorable. The problem the reviewer has with my material is that while it is billed here as horror it's not exactly that nor is it exactly crime fiction.

A long time ago I joked that I was a nobody in three genres and that holds true today as well. After a dozen or so mystery novels, I'm pretty much unknown in the field except for those who remember me vaguely from Mystery Scene. My books are rarely stocked in mystery stores. Same for horror. I'd say the same for western stores except there aren't any.

Tempting as self pity is, my obscurity is my own fault. Every book I write, with the exception of the Sam McCains, fails to fit tidily into the genre it's billed as. I don't do this on purpose. It just sort of comes out that way. And this is true of my short stories even more than my novels.

I'm not alone in this. Jack Ketchum, Bentley Little, Tom Piccirrilli, Rich Chizmar, Billie Sue Mosiman and several other writers inhabit this no man's land somewhere between crime fiction and fantasy/horror. This my favorite kind of reading. I like crime fiction tinted with the supernatural. Or crime fiction so strange--Jack Ketchum's great novels and stories, for instance--that in places it seems otherworldly.

The thrust of the review Wendy sent me is that the reviewer really likes my work. He just wishes he knew what to call it. I wish I knew what to call it, too.

1 Comments:

Blogger Richard S. Wheeler said...

You have always had the courage to write what is within you, and write it in searching ways, often reflecting the disorderly nature of real life. Keep on doing what you are doing. It is the formulaic novelists who are the nobodies.

6:31 PM  

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