A Life Long Romance with Crime Drama

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

When you give me a book that is essentially an episode of Law and Order in 417 page format, you have almost guaranteed I will stay up insanely late trying to finish it. After all, no one watches an episode of a crime drama in 20 different small chunks spread over a few days. You watch it all at once because you have to know the conclusion. For me a crime drama book is not so different, you read it as quickly as you can so you can find out who the bad guy is.

In the case of the book my dad bought at an airport and handed off to me – Left for Dead by J.A. Janice, I figured out who the responsible party was before I got quite to the end but that didn’t stop me from reading until the wee hours to finish up the book..

Crime dramas are something I consume with great enthusiasm. I have seen nearly episode of Law and Order. (the original series, SVU and CI)   I tried to watch the UK Law and Order but couldn’t because the recycle plots from the American show. The drama loses its excitement if you know what’s coming. The act of predicting who did it- of guessing along with the detectives is what makes a crime drama so exciting.

Bones, Grimm, Warehouse 13, Alphas, Arrow: fact is a huge chunk of the television I watch regularly is in a format that reflects that crime drama/ detective set up.

In other formats, I recently got very excited by a comic series called Chew. One that is essentially a crime drama story starring a detective with bizarre physic abilities. In fact, my hands down favorite comic ever, Identity Crisis, is a who-dunnit story starring the Justice League.

I love reading about detective work so much that not one but two of the modern series I read avidly are about characters who solve crimes (and other more bizarre puzzles). The Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are both supernatural crime dramas. While the Antia Blake books mix some romance into that formula and they both mix in a heavy dose of the weird, in the end both Blake and Dresden are trying to solve the mystery and catch (or sometimes kill) the bad guy. There is something neatly packaged and nice about that goal that makes for addictive reading.

This romance with books where I follow the main character as he or she solves a mystery dates back to my childhood. Nancy Drew was one of my very first literary loves. I wanted to be her, to figure it out. Twenty years later, I am still reading (and watching) along with detectives hoping to figure out the answer before they do.