(aka a chance to have a rant!)
- Coppers throwing up at crime scenes. I see this more on TV than in books to be honest. It’s annoying and unrealistic, guaranteed to have me reaching for the remote or closing a book. In reality, these detectives wouldn’t get very far. My partner spent thirty years in the police, much of it in the CID, latterly as a murder detective. In all that time, she never saw it happen. It may be a way of showing an audience or readership the level of stress an officer is under when attending a crime scene, but it’s lazy writing.
- Women portrayed as mush. The psychological thriller is a very popular genre these days but books where women are continually terrorized, manipulated by men, and frightened of their own shadow depress me. Physical and psychological abuse is the reality for so many women, but why would I want to read about it? Treated sensitively, there are some excellent examples within this genre where women are empowered in the course of a book. Give me more of those please. Give me strong women, clever women, women with the intelligence to overcome adversity, those who resist bullying wherever they encounter it. Give me women who fight back.
- Authors using the term kiddie fiddling. This one makes my blood boil. The subject of child abuse in fiction is fraught with danger, a sensitive area for any author to tackle. If you choose to deal with such a serious issue, you need to face it head-on: say it like it is or don’t say it. I have worked with both abused and abusers, encountering the full spectrum of offences against children, the worst being the buggery of a toddler by his male babysitter. Gross. Tragic. Heartbreaking. Nauseating. Next time you are tempted to use this awful term, look up the definition of fiddling. It means trifling, insignificant, unimportant, inconsequential, negligible, small, slight and incidental. Need I go on? No police officer, social worker or any other criminal justice ‘professional’ would use such a derogatory term. It trivializes child abuse and exploitation. And never EVER use kiddie fiddler to describe a perpetrator. Instead, use child molester or sex offender. That’s what they are.
Mari Hannah is a probation officer turned crime writer, creator of the critically acclaimed Kate Daniels series. Her debut, THE MURDER WALL, won the Polari First Book Prize. Her second, SETTLED BLOOD, won the Northern Writers’ Award. The paperback edition of her latest book KILLING FOR KEEPS will be published on Creative Thursday, 16th July 2015. Her series, now five books in, has been optioned by Sprout Pictures, a company owned by Stephen Fry.