RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Moratorium on serial murderer mysteries?

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 19 Aug 2010

  • Next message: davezeltserman: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Moratorium on serial murderer mysteries?"

    To me, the difference is relatively clear. If the fictious perpetrator does the killing in the performance of his professional duties -- thief, hitman, spy, et al -- then I do not consider it a serial killer novel. If instead the perpetrator does his/her killing for reasons that are instead more personal and intimate -- psychotic/sociopathic deviancy (Thomas Harris' books, Joyce Carol Oates' ZOMBIE, etc.), methodical elimination of obstructionist rivals (THE AX), self-righteous delusions (BLACKBURN), and so on -- then it is a serial killer novel. Obviously, this is a subjective differentiation on my part, but that seems like an appropriate distinction. Since Westlake's protagonist was committing his acts for intimate, personal gain and not because the acts were part and parcel of his occupation, in my mind that makes THE AX a serial killer novel.

    Ron C.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > --- In, "davezeltserman" <Dave.Zeltserman@...>
    > wrote:
    > >
    > > How about a Parker novel, like The Hunter, where Parker has to kill a
    bunch of
    > > people to get what he wants? Or really any hit man novel? I think of a
    serial killer
    > >novel as something where the killer is killing some other purpose than to
    do a job,
    > >and really the protagonist in The Axe is killing for the same sort of
    purpose as a hit
    > >man, except in the Ax the killer has more remorse than they typical hit
    > >especially since he finds himself liking the people he needs to kill.
    > >

    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of jacquesdebierue
    > Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 6:55 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Moratorium on serial murderer mysteries?
    > Good point. I wonder how many people Parker kills in the entire series. It
    has got to
    > be a very high number. Somehow the presentation of Parker as a
    > doing a job makes him look more like some type of soldier than a

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