Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Crime Novels Teach Us About Ourselves

William Landay, the Massachusetts attorney turned author, whose much-talked-about new novel--Defending Jacob--I critiqued recently on the Kirkus Reviews site, offers a bit of background on his book in the Shotsmag Confidential blog. He writes, in part:
Bad men do what good men dream.

In Defending Jacob I wanted to explore that idea. I wanted to narrow the gap between my audience and the fantasy world where they imagined crime takes place--between the good men who dream and the bad men who do. No more baddies in the inner city, as in my first book, Mission Flats. No more infamous villains like the Boston Strangler, as in my second. I wanted this criminal to be real, to be ordinary, just like us. And if I could not define precisely what “ordinary” and “us” might mean, because readers come in all shapes and sizes, I could at least define a world that looks like my own. Andy Barber, the narrator and protagonist of Defending Jacob, attended Yale, became a prosecutor in Middlesex County near Boston, and lives in Newton, Massachusetts--all qualities I share. Andy is not me, of course. The story-writing process is not that simple. And thankfully my two little boys are not Jacob Barber, the teenage boy accused of murder in my story. But my family and I are not so very different from the Barbers, and neither, I’d bet, are you.
You’ll find the entirety of Landay’s piece here.

1 comment:

Dorothy James said...

Thanks for putting me on to Landay's thoughtful piece. Well worth reading in its entirety.