An Apology for a Crime
I live a double life. By day: student/teacher in the hallowed halls of higher education, kingdom of the highbrow literati. By night: hack writer of seedy, violent crime stories. I’m like a double-agent in the perpetual war between champions of literature who think crime novels are shallow and sensationalistic, and noir fiends who think “literary” means dull and pretentious. Luckily, I’ve met plenty of people who recognize that some great novels live in the gray zone between literature and pulp. Let’s face it: some crime novels are flat and hokey tales drawn from the same tired blueprint as a million books before them. Similarly, some literary novels are aimless, annoyingly ironic slices of clichéd suburban ennui. Neither camp has a monopoly on hack jobs. But in the world of contemporary crime fiction, there are superstars like Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, James Ellroy, and Joyce Carol Oates (when she writes in the genre). For years I’ve been admiring their works, and for just as long I’ve been seeking articulate explanations for why these masters rise above their crime and literary contemporaries.
Derek Nikitas. "An Apology for a Crime" 2006