Bateman, a longtime writer of comic crime novels himself, notes the sly humor of British Golden Age writers and the one-liners of their hard-boiled American counterparts. These degenerated into formula and parody, he says, and "crime fiction was forced to reinvent itself. ... Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs and Patricia Cornwell's Postmortem became super sellers 20 years ago – laughs were out, torture porn was in."
The way back out, he suggests, is humor. Robert Lewis, Charlie Williams, Malcolm Pryce, Chris Ewan, Len Tyler and the non-British Burke "are at the vanguard of a new wave of young writers kicking against the clichés and producing ambitious, challenging, genre-bending works."
Now, humor in crime fiction is a frequent topic here at Detectives Beyond Borders, but I'd never thought of the stuff as a wedge for the avant garde.
What do you think of Bateman's thesis, particularly that graphic violence forced humor out? Is humor really the future of crime fiction? And who else belongs on Bateman's list?
Again, what do you think?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010