As an author of crime-thriller fiction, I’ve occasionally been asked about violence in my novels. Typical questions range from, why is so much violence in your books? to another, more personal one: Is violence part of your personality or is it totally contrived for your novels?
I’ve sometimes been asked what it is about crime fiction I love, and why I write about it. I must say though, I read much more than crime fiction, and am now reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. Though it involves crime, it’s not pure crime fiction.
But I do love crime fiction. There’s something elemental about it–something universal and intriguing about a good crime story–either with or without violence, though most depict violence to one or another degree.
About violence: violent–even murderous impulses–reside within us all. You come across them in news items about wars or murder. You certainly see bloodlust when people rubberneck while passing an accident, or go to some sporting events (mixed martial arts, boxing matches, hockey games, football and wrestling contests). Or, when you read some of the world’s greatest literature, or view the foul arc of history.
As a psychiatrist who’s done forensic work, I’m aware that violent impulses are universally present. So to pretend they aren’t part of human nature is disingenuous.
Sex and violence sell, and there’s a reason for that. Despite my years of training in medicine and psychiatry, and no matter how peaceful a life I lead, I’m still intrigued by violence and crime. And so are most people, whether they admit it or not. And that’s partly why the best-seller lists are populated by novels about crime and violence.