Sunday, August 9, 2009

Haere mai

Welcome to my crime, mystery and thriller fiction blog. Thanks for taking a peek. Over the coming weeks and months I'll be looking to highlight what is happening in the world of crime and thriller fiction, both here in New Zealand and overseas. There are already some good websites and blogs for crime fiction fans on the Internet (e.g. some listings on the sidebar to the right), so I will be looking to provide something different (and hopefully valuable) by having a strong focus on New Zealand authors and books, while also providing regular musings on international crime, mystery and thriller fiction authors, book releases, and news.

So why a blog on Kiwi crime fiction? Well, because I think we have some fantastic authors here in Aotearoa, but we don't talk about them enough. While literary fiction is highlighted at events like the Montana Book Awards and the Auckland Writers Festival, it could be said that the wider public doesn't hear as much in the mainstream media about 'popular' fiction, whether it is crime, thriller, romance, fantasy or the like. Perhaps because some people see popular writing as inherently inferior, 'genre writers' can be overlooked when it comes to awards, festivals, and media coverage. This is despite the fact that readers love such books - and that many of the books from the past that are now considered literary classics would have at the time been considered populist rather literary (e.g. Dickens, Shakespeare, Verne, Poe etc). It is something of an issue overseas, but seems to me to be massively exacerbated here in New Zealand, perhaps because of our smaller market.

In my opinion, as well as being exciting and enjoyable to read, popular fiction can also produce writing as good if not better than most literary fiction. There should be no inferiority complex for those who chose to tell their stories in what others consider a 'popular fiction' genre. Good writing is good writing, no matter where it is to be found on booksellers' shelves. I will do my best over the coming weeks and months to point out not only good New Zealand crime, mystery and thriller fiction, but also international offerings which I believe deserve more attention.

In terms of this blog, I will be concentrating on crime, mystery, and thriller fiction - because that is what I most know and love when it comes to reading popular fiction. I became hooked on mysteries as a child, first with the Hardy Boys series, and then moving on to Agatha Christie (the Poirot stories in particular). I do read outside of this range (e.g. biography and other non-fiction), but as I mainly review crime fiction for a number of publications in New Zealand and overseas, that is what I'll concentrate on here (and because 99% of the dozens of books in my increasingly large 'to be read' pile are crime, mystery or thriller fiction).

In my role as a crime fiction reviewer and feature writer, I am lucky enough to be exposed to a lot of books from lesser-known or new authors that can otherwise can get lost in the flood - so I look forward to sharing the best of those with any readers of this blog. I am also fortunate in that I regularly have the opportunity to interview a number of great crime writers, from New Zealand and overseas. So I will be looking to also share some of their thoughts, comments, and revelations where I can. I'll also point you in the direction of any interesting articles and reviews - including those I have written myself for a variety of New Zealand and international magazines, newspapers, and websites

I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions on how the blog is going, what you would like to read about, or anything else related to my coverage of crime fiction. Hopefully together we will have a fun journey over the coming weeks and months.

More soon...

[NB For those readers not from New Zealand, 'Haere mai' is Maori for welcome]