A semblance of reality

(Or life, Jim, but not quite as we know it.)

There’s already enough crime, violence, horror and despair in the world. Do you want me to add to it by writing grim, depressing or violent crime fiction?

People are murdered and killers have to be caught, but it doesn’t have to be graphic, twisted or morbid. That doesn’t mean it’s a cosy village mystery where old ladies sleuth between baking cakes and tending their gardens.

That’s enough generalising and stereotyping. I’ve nothing against either of these types of crime fiction – it’s simply not what I write or enjoy reading.

My characters and series were created to entertain readers with baffling, complex murder mysteries that would be suitable for viewing on TV at eight o’clock on a Sunday evening.

In other words, we’re talking something like Inspector Morse, Miss Marple or Columbo. No excess violence or profanities. No sexual detail. People can get punched. People can curse. People can feel physically attracted.

But no grisly murders or detailed descriptions. No crimes where children or animals suffered.

Yes, these things happen in the real world. They still happen in the world occupied by my novels  – I simply don’t dwell on them.

The murders happen off screen, not in graphic detail. The people committing the murders are not psychopaths or people who enjoy inflicting pain or death. They are people who feel they’ve been treated unfairly or unjustly. They’re people driven to murder by bad choices, the actions of others, by greed or intense emotions.

I want readers to escape into stories filled with interesting characters, dealing with everyday conflicts and challenges.

I want the worlds in my books to be as real as possible, not sanitised. Murder is murder, however you describe it. But it’s the detective and the pursuit of the killer that’s important. It’s the hero, defying the odds, fighting stronger and smarter enemies, suffering loss and unfairness in the pursuit of justice.

There are hints of romance, love, environmental and animal welfare themes, and humour. Irreverent humour and social comment, which pokes gentle fun at the idiosyncrasies, bureaucracy and craziness in society.

The characters are real, flawed and unpredictable at times, but determined to catch the bad guys. The situations and investigations are fresh and a little different from police procedurals and private investigator novels because the sleuth is an environmental health officer.

In all other respects, the novels pay homage to the traditional murder mystery and classic whodunit, but in a contemporary way. The books inhabit the cosy end of the market, but they’re not cosy. They’re as real as I can make them without the crime, horror, violence and despair that already fill our news feeds and TV screens.

When you pick up a Kent Fisher novel, you should be hooked, surprised, baffled and entertained. You should care for the characters as you escape the unpleasantness of this world for the one in the novels. You should enjoy, laugh, and occasionally cry.

Most of all you can escape for a few hours and enjoy a world with a semblance of reality.

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