Tag Archives: crime fiction

Roller Canary (Hard Sentences)

hardsentencesHard Sentences, an anthology consisting of crime fiction inspired by Alcatraz, is now available from Broken River Books. Edited by David James Keaton and Joe Clifford, this anthology includes short stories by folks like Nick Mamatas, Jedidiah Ayres, Matthew McBride, Nik Korpon, Gabino Iglesias, and many others. It also includes my story “Roller Canary”, which is about the infamous Birdman of Alcatraz.

Read Keaton’s hilarious introduction to the anthology over at LitReactor, then go pick yourself up a copy on Amazon.

Talking Crime with Jonathan Maberry

WHY DO CRIMINALS FASCINATE US SO MUCH?

I’ve asked a number of authors I admire to answer the same question–why do criminals fascinate us so much?–and I will be posting each response here on my blog. It’s a question all writers–especially crime writers–should consider every once in a while. In my debut novel, Toxicity, I’ve dug deep into the minds of criminals. I have written about the bad guys. The ones we love but hate at the same time. If you haven’t pre-ordered a copy yet, I highly recommend you doing so for purely selfish reasons.

And now that you’ve done that, we will pass the time hearing what other writers in the industry have to say about the posed question.

Today I am honored to have Mr. Jonathan Maberry himself stop by with his thoughts on the subject. For those who aren’t aware of Maberry’s work, shame on you. Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author of too many books to name here. Just go over to his Amazon page and buy everything.

All right, Jonathan. Take it away.

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Why do criminals fascinate us so much?

We are not naturally moral beings. Morality is something we’ve acquired in order to live together in meaningful and productive groups. Society and civilization are byproducts of our desire to overcome our natural predatory and inherently selfish emotions. Laws were created to enforce these ‘agreements’. Over the centuries we’ve come to value those rules and laws, and we view adherence to ethical codes as proof of an evolved and civilized mind.

That said, many people wonder what it would be like to live outside of those laws. We imagine it as being something liberating and empowering. Those fantasies often omit the elements of guilt, shame, compassion for victims, and so on.

Other folks are fascinated by those things they don’t understand. If they are staunchly moral people they may view lawbreakers and villains as totally alien. It’s as interesting as reading about life on an distant world or in another age of our own world. When folks like this read fiction, often they are disturbed by what these criminals do (even while being fascinated) but instead of secretly wanting to be a criminal, they want to see those criminals get their comeuppance.

People who have been victimized, or who have felt deep emotional connections to victims, often want to see harsh justice in popular fiction. The real world doesn’t often provide satisfying conclusions. Fiction does.