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Crime fiction today from a Waterstones buyer and crime writer

19 February 2018

‘It's in rude health. I would never try to predict a trend, I think it's a false game. The public appetite leads you one way then another, and recently we've rocked from the Scandinavian craze to psychological thrillers. Some people say the crime novel is not a social novel - that it's just entertainment. I would totally dispute that: it's exactly where society is at the moment. Psychological thrillers are usually written by women, with a female protagonist and male villain, often in a domestic setting. For many men, the experience of women is being illuminated for the first time via #MeToo, and that it's not a problem that exists just at the top of Hollywood but everywhere. Crime fiction is reflecting that...

On the new Staunch Prize, a new literary award for thrillers that don't feature violence against women. ‘My inclination is if Val McDermid says something listen to her. In response to this prize, she said that in pretending that the problems of sexual violence don't exist, are we really helping, or is it better to expose it? At the same time, I think there's room for different prizes. Undoubtedly someone has and will write a great crime novel where a woman isn't killed. I know my books wouldn't be welcome, but there's space for everyone.'

Joseph Knobbs, crime fiction buyer at Waterstones, whose crime novels Sirens and The Smiling Man (published in March) have been published under the name Joseph Knox, in Bookbrunch