The nice folks over at Mulholland Books—one of today’s best crime fiction publishers, from my view (you know, outside my imprint)–invited me to do a guest blog post for them. So I wrote about the top 10 cliches in crime fiction.
Here are the top three:
1. The deep and intense relationship with alcohol.
Has there ever been a private investigator or a hard-boiled protagonist who didn’t drown his or her feelings in a bottle? Bonus points if that alcohol is amber and smoky. Vices are fun, but too often, they’re overused as a defining characteristic.
2. The deep and intense relationship with music.
A lot of authors name-check musicians. In crime fiction it’s almost always jazz or the blues. Again, amber and smoky. Where’s the polka? The Norwegian death metal? It would be great to see some characters with a little range.
3. The uptight female character as potential sex toy.
If a prudish but pretty woman meets the male protagonist in the first 50 pages of a story, you know they’ll end up having sex. It’ll be liberating for her, a moment of vulnerability for him—and the author will get to work out some deep-seated sexual fantasy. Everyone wins!