RARA-AVIS: Serial Killer Books-The New Cozies

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 08:25:03 -0400

Marvelous Mark (not the one getting married) wrote:

>For all of the graphic violence and high body counts in serial killer
>books, though, I think the sensibility is actually closer to cozies than
>hardboiled and/or noir.

Yes, yes, yes. Although they exist in real life, all too often serial killers and their motives are about as believable as those oh-so-genteel killers in cozies. And the use of endless young women as victims has echoes of a million old gothic potboilers. Italian counts, anyone? There is an additional layer of detachment from the daily grind in most serial killer books that, in my humble opinion, further distances it from hardboiled/noir.

Having said that, I think the classic serial killer film M was noir (or pre-noir, I guess). But the real monster wasn't the killer. After all, it was you and me.

And judging from the clips I've seen, Spike Lee's upcoming SUMMER OF SAM might just take the same approach.

Kevin Burton Smith

"You have the right to free speech, Providing of course, you're not stupid enough to actually say anything."
(from Know Your Rights, by The Clash)

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