I have said that The Pure And The Hated is a cross between crime fiction and horror fiction.
That is because the events in it involve an intersection of styles. While it is more crime than horror, the reason there is an overlap is what I am exploring in these articles. I believe crime fiction, especially Noir fiction lends itself to hybrid genres.
In these articles I have explored the themes of horror fiction and how it has evolved. I now want to look at the relationship between crime and horror. Many people do not see that the genres are connected. Yet a writer like Thomas Harris is hard to classify since he merges them. I believe in extreme crime there is real horror, horror of a human kind. That is something I explore in my novels. Reviewers often say I mix the two genres.
My first novel Apostle Rising is about a serial killer crucifying politicians as he recreates the original murder scenes of an old unsolved case. Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press, and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case. He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising.
There is a huge shock waiting for Castle and Steele when they find out the identity of the killer.
One of the things I wanted to look at was the effect that dealing with evil has on a cop. For this reason and because of the extreme pathology of the killer Apostle Rising moves towards horror at times. But the newspapers are full of examples of horror. I think crime fiction can be also if it is realistic.
My novel, Mr. Glamour is about a group of beautiful women and wealthy men, who can buy anything, except their safety from the killer in their midst. The killer in Mr. Glamour commits acts that push his behaviour towards the terrain of horror fiction. Yet these are acts which killers in the real world commit and as such form part of a realistic portrait. Many reviewers believe there is such a thing as pure genre. There isn’t.
Savage Highway is a crime novel that portrays real crime as horror. My next post will be about The Pure And The Hated, a novel that explores identity, and shows an extremely real and human horror that comes knocking on the door of a peaceful and wounded family which is hiding secrets that threaten to tear it apart and alter its relationships.