January 27th, 2012
Once again P.D. James has stabbed me in the back. I’d forgiven her long ago for branching off with the futuristic novel Children of Men, but only because Doctor Who comes a close second to PBS Mystery in my television hierarchy. But after waiting THREE YEARS for the next Dalgliesh mystery, I get another Jane Austen knockoff instead. Haven’t Elizabeth and Darcy been sliced and diced enough already without Wickham’s corpse now fowling up the estate grounds?
James should have taken pointers from Nora Roberts. Long ago, Roberts created her J.D. Robb mystery writing pseudonym as a clear pointer for her romance fans to stay away or risk disappointment. Loyal, happy fans ensued and Roberts was able to scratch a creative itch.
But, whether out of boredom or the need to expand their coffers, authors continue to boldly write outside their norm, banking on name recognition alone. Writing for a young adult or juvenile audience has almost become a must for any big name author. Literary authors are dabbling with genre writing and many mystery, romance and thriller writers are striving to get more literary. Titles from authors trying out new digs include:
Shelter by Harlan Coben
Long running adult character Myron Bolitar has an estranged teenage nephew who investigates the disappearance of his new girlfriend – Coben sticks to his mystery/thriller roots, but gears this book towards teens.
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Sci-fi, alternate history and historical fiction combine in this tale of a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of JFK – a big change from King’s usual.
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
After writing successful realistic romances for young adults, Scott shocked readers with this chilling tale of a girl abducted and held hostage by a sexual predator.
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Famous for satirical fiction like Election (made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick) Perrotta’s latest novel explores what life would be like in an apocalyptic, post-Rapture age.
Just as Patterson seemed to push the envelope too far with his “nonfiction thriller” on the murder of King Tut, will James’ new Death Comes to Pemberley prove too much for those of us enthralled by her poet turned detective Adam Dalgliesh? I haven’t succumbed yet, but then the cover is pretty enticing…
Are you disappointed or thrilled when authors try new genres?