Crime spree!

Over the past couple of years I’ve become more and more interested in crime fiction. Not really mysteries, necessarily, but stories about crime and perpetration thereof. Not really mob fiction, either – I appreciate material like The Godfather and The Sopranos as much as anyone else, but they don’t interest me as much as small-time criminals. I’m not really sure why that is. Maybe I’m more interested in why and how relatively normal people would commit crimes, out of desperation or passion or psychosis or whatever. I also have a weakness for stories about detectives, both private and official.

Stories about corrupt cops? Oh boy, look out.

It’s a bit at odds with my general philosophy concerning heroes vs villains. Usually I find heroes more compelling, because villainy is so easy and natural. I’ll have to think about it some more.

Really, though, this is just an excuse to post this nifty link I found a week or two ago. It’s a website set up by the Los Angeles Times, charting all the homocides that have happened this year. There’s a map with all the locations marked, and the story to each crime, along with tons of statistics. They even allow (moderated!) comments, so you get to see messages left by friends and family and other members of the community. It’s pretty interesting, and may prove to be a valuable tool for those of us looking to write about crimes, especially in a large urban area like LA.


3 thoughts on “Crime spree!”

  1. Have you read any James Ellroy, or seen the movies based off his books? (LA Confidential, Black Dahlia, Dark Blue) He does exceptional crime fiction, especially the corrupt-cop angle.
    There’s also “The Wire”, too, which deals with street crime and the cops that fight it, but not in a mystery format. The cops know who the bad guys are, and the show ostensibly focuses on how they gather evidence and build a case. But its merit is in the microscopic focus it puts on the foot soldiers of the drug war, the individual lives wrecked by the trade. (Best show ever. Seriously.)

  2. I’ve seen and loved the film version of LA Confidential, but haven’t gotten around to reading any of Ellroy’s books. He’s definitely on my to do list, though.

    I haven’t watched The Wire, but I do watch The Shield, which is similar and also fantastic.

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