Why We Love Crime Novels, a Guest Post by Kate Moretti, author of The Vanishing Year

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I’m really excited to be part of the launch celebrations for The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti. The Vanishing Year was published on 27th September in e-book and paperback by Titan Books and is available for purchase on your local Amazon site, through Titan and all good booksellers.

To celebrate publication of The Vanishing Year, Kate Moretti has written a guest post all about why we love crime novels.

The Vanishing Year

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Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life: wife to a handsome Wall Street trader, with the perfect penthouse and summer home, she is the newest member of Manhattan’s social elite. What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all.

Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she – whoever she is – vanishes completely.

Why We Love Crime Novels

A Guest Post by Kate Moretti

I wrote much of my first novel in a Panera Bread (a US bakery chain), with reliable Wi-Fi, good coffee, and artisan sandwiches. In the mornings, the senior citizens would come in alone, carrying a thick hardcover, the cover flapping off, and take a small coffee to a booth where they’d hunker down for hours. I’d watch these people – mostly women, seventy-five, eighty – and they all had one thing in common. They adored Lee Childs. Every single book I saw was a Jack Reacher book.

I puzzled about this. All these grandmothers, you’d think they’d read love stories, or literary fiction, an examination of life, or even women’s fiction, stories they could relate to: husbands and kids and friendships. But no, it was the rogue military man making the world a better place one bad guy at a time.  Why?

I have a theory. First of all, crime novels move quick. Suspense, by very definition, gives you a shot of adrenaline.  You hold your breath. You gasp. I’ve already said “holy s*&t” to a completely empty room at a particular genius and well-hidden plot twist. But mostly, I think people read and love crime because by nature, these stories feel accessible to us.

We are inundated daily with news reports about real life horrible things that happen to good people. If you spend any length of time perusing the internet, children are kidnapped, people are murdered by the police, by their neighbor, by their spouses. Crime novels are a way to get inside that crime, to examine it from the inside out and understand all the nuances and details that made it come to life. In that way, we can sit back, relax and say, “okay, this can’t happen to us.” It’s almost a pressure relief valve.

I’ve often admired a good antagonist. I’ve admired their cunning, their intelligence, their undeniable understanding of the human condition. After all, if they didn’t understand what makes people tick, they surely wouldn’t be able to undermine them, to manipulate them. For me, I love the look into what makes us work from the point of view of a psychopath. A psychopath is looking, specifically, for weak spots. These weak spots hold fascinating stories.

I can’t tell if my love of a literary villain means I, myself, have some psychopathic tendencies. If so, then I expect I’m in the majority. After all, everyone loves Hannibal Lector.

Mostly, I think my love of crime comes from the rate at which I get absorbed into the story. Many crime stories, although not all, involve regular people doing regular things: their jobs, raising their families, visiting with neighbors and friends, when suddenly their world is upended by a crime. Their reactions, the resulting investigation, and what the plot does to relationships and friendships – the ripple wave of that crime – is to me the closest examination of society I can find. It’s better than any prolonged navel-gazer, which is why even some of the most impactful literary fiction novels revolve around a violent or criminal act.

Crime stories have endless potential. As long as we evolve and change, crime stories will change with us and I’ll have plenty of books waiting to be read on my bookshelf.

About Kate Moretti

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Kate Moretti is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Thought I Knew You, Binds That Tie, and While You Were Gone. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, but now writes full time. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

You can follow Kate on Twitter, find her on Facebook aand visit her website. There’s more about and from Kate with these other bloggers.

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