Sometimes Life and Fiction Are Equally Strange

(reprinted from my post at

Crime fiction seems to be the topic of the week, what with the flurry of blog commentary and newspaper response to Jessica Mann’s announcement of her intention to abandon the genre over misogyny.  Then there’s my friend, John Hart, taking the Silver Dagger at the CWA Awards.

And now this from CNN, crime-fiction star, Michael Connelly’s research trip to  Hong Kong overlaps a real life case with grim parallels –

…I prepared to publish and promote my latest detective novel, “Nine Dragons,” I learned of a true mystery with eerie similarities and connections to my story and my research. It has been a heart-tugging reminder that while crime novels may be entertaining thrill rides and puzzles, they also skirt the shores of reality for many.

For myself, I do not think we (and that ‘we’ is of the healthy, non-violent collective) feast on literary tragedy and look up from our books, our faces smeared in the grease and gore of a vulture’s banquet, even if the offerings were bloody and terrible.

When the cover closes at our train stop, or for the night, or at having achieved The End, we know ourselves a little better.  We’ve met a few new people and sorted them, and their troubles, into their proper slots — or not, if it’s complicated.  Either way, we have afforded ourselves an opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes and also from their triumphs.

But it’s good to be reminded that there is nothing glamorous about real murder or terror or heartbreaking loss.  Pat the wall between your empathy and your mind’s storehouse, with its shelves cluttered or ordered with what intrigues you, and thank God for the luxury of its protection.


Author: jamiemason

Wrote THE HIDDEN THINGS, MONDAY'S LIE, and also THREE GRAVES FULL (Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books.) Might write something else if I'm not careful.

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