Saturday, November 10, 2018

Article at Michigan Murder and Mayhem: @StephenKing: Crime Writer: @GiveMeYourTeeth @CrimeReads


Stephen King's Crime Influences and Crime-Laced Novels

When news of Stephen King’s latest novel, The Outsider, first broke, the horror community found themselves divided into two camps: those willing to welcome this new title with the same enthusiasm as his previous publications, and those disappointed that King had once again decided to release something under the crime umbrella. Maybe this latter group figured he’d gotten the genre all out of his system now that he’d concluded his Bill Hodges trilogy about an ex-cop tracking down a serial killer (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch) and he would finally return to his horror roots. Which is odd, because while, yes, The Outsider is a crime novel, it also clearly falls under horror. Nearly every book can be classified under multiple genres. It’s what makes them interesting. And horror and crime? I can’t think of a more exciting tag team.
Stephen King knows crime. He grew up mainlining pulp legends like Richard Stark and John D. MacDonald. He was a goddamn noir geek, if you want to know the truth. When MacDonald agreed to write the introduction for King’s debut collection, Night Shift, he nearly pissed himself. Read any interview or essay where King discusses his early inspirations, and you’re bound to find numerous hardboiled writers’ names machine-gunned out as a response. His books are littered with references to his writing heroes. Without crime fiction, there is no Stephen King. It has inspired his rage against the system, his attitude toward certain political states of mind. One has to wonder what King’s approach to writing would be like if he hadn’t grown up devouring pulp fiction. At the very least, I suspect his output wouldn’t have exhibited such an exuberant frequency. 

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