What Readers Want

Agatho at Mysterious Matters, one of the more thoughtful yet acerbic mystery publishing blogs, is concerned of the disconnect between Editor and Reader. So (s)he has asked, much like the Beastie Boys, the eternal question:

So whatcha whatcha want?

Here’s my answer:

“I want well-written, character-driven fiction. I want to be hooked from the first line, and I do not want the flavor of the month, or stories so cemented in the genre that the tropes hold up the plot. If a character is well-defined, the plot will flow from the choices they make.

I prefer stories from the perspective of the victim or the victim’s family, or someone in a moral gray area. A criminal, an outsider, someone interesting. Not another amateur P.I. or even a cop unless there is something interesting and new brought to the table.
Procedurals rarely do it for me, with Tana French being the big exception, because her characters are so compelling.
Crime is everywhere. It is part of life. We overlook it every day- the accountant fudging the numbers for the boss, the violent neighbor with the slow-burning fuse, the girl at the strip club who gets picked up at the end of the night by the mobster who “owns” her.
We walk through a veil of human depravity every day, we blinder ourselves to it. I want stories that remove those blinders and make me angry that we tolerate it.”

What’s yours? I’d recommend you cut & paste your reply and post it at the MM blog as well. Make your voice heard.

And now, git down…