Hey — isn’t crime fiction by it’s very nature supposed to be edgy? I think so!!! Listen, crime fiction starts right at the get-go, or should, with a murder and a less than pretty crime scene. Murder’s not nice. It’s hard to sanitize murder, and the question begs, should we?
Not so much now as in the past, but I’ve read Christian suspense where the author didn’t even get to the murder until I’d gotten through a quarter of the book. Page after page I was wondering, where’s the body? And then, when I got to the crime scene it was obvious the author hadn’t done enough research. The police procedure was waaaaaay off. More than a few Christian suspense novels of the past have had a non-law enforcement heroine traipsing around the crime scene and happening upon vital clues the cops somehow missed. Duh, like that would really happen!
A lot is changing now. I’m glad to see books out like Back On Murder by J. Mark Bertrand, who knows his police procedure and internal cop politics. He also knows cop culture. He’s got great scenes in cop bars that wouldn’t work as well in a coffee shop or pizzeria. We’re coming to a day when Christian mystery readers no longer have to turn to secular writers to get their crime fiction craving fed. They’re finding satisfying thrillers and detective stories right at home with a Christian world view. They’re finding Christian crime fiction that gets the details right.
Edgy Christian crime fiction is not a cozy mystery with a sermonette added. In fact, crime fiction readers would just assume the author skip the preaching and get on with the chase. For crying out loud, there’s a killer to catch. So, what makes the story Christian? Recurring themes of redemption, forgiveness, restoration, and grace are a few clues that it just might be Christian fiction. Just because a story’s “clean as a whistle” doesn’t make it Christian to my mind.
The edgy Christian crime fiction reader wants to find authenticity in plot, characterization, and scenario. They want to find detectives and beat cops who sound like they actually might be in law enforcement, not lost members of the bridge club in search of a novel to inhabit. The edgy reader won’t be turned off to Christianity if a Christian character stumbles, seriously so. It makes Christianity all the more attractive. God offers us a second chance to get it right.
I’ve heard it said that edgy Christian romance is not afraid to mention body parts. Well, that’s certainly the case in edgy Christian crime fiction, except that the body parts are likely to be strewn all over the crime scene. And talking about body parts, what about a good autopsy scene?
Increasingly we’re seeing good Christian crime fiction out there. James Scott Bell’s Ty Buchanan series is wonderful. [Try Dying, Try Darkness & Try Fear] Ronie Kendig has a couple of action packed crime fiction novels which will knock the sox off most crime fiction readers. [Dead Reckoning & Nightshade (Discarded Heroes series] Of course is you want a rip-roaring ride there’s always Robert Liparulo who will not disappoint. [Germ & Comes A Horsseman].