So, I'm currently reading Sharp Objects, the debut novel of Gillian Flynn, who wrote the smash hit Gone Girl. I've been thinking quite a lot recently about crime novels, since I'm attempting to write one, because I actually don't read very many of them. I'm not a huge fan of them, although I watch quite a lot of crime dramas on the TV. I've been trying to nail down exactly what it is about crime novels that I don't really like, and I think I've finally done it.
You see, I like to guess who the murderer is. I don't really think about it, my brain just suddenly taps me on the shoulder and goes "it's that character." I know who I think the murderer is in Sharp Objects, I'm utterly convinced of his/her guilt, even though I'm not even halfway through yet.
If I'm right, I'll be annoyed because the writer made it too obvious.
If I'm wrong, I'll be annoyed because it was so obviously someone else all along that the whole thing is very unsatisfying and the reveal ends up ruining the book.
Regardless of what happens, the writer can't win. I'll never be completely happy about a crime novel, because I'll never be happy with the revelation of the villain. Now, I'm sure you can point me towards hundreds of books where you know who the villain is all along and it's not a whodunnit so it doesn't matter, but quite frankly, those books sound kind of dull to me. The intrigue is in the mystery. I am intrigued by Sharp Objects and dying to find out who the murderer is. Even though I know I won't be happy about it.