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Crime Novel Heroes Are Like Old Friends

When we read crime novels that have the same recurring characters in them like many of them do, it’s much like visiting an old friend. When we first meet them they are introduced to us and we follow their exploits throughout the novel getting to know their likes, dislikes, faults and attributes. Their personality becomes so clear to us that we know how they are going to act or react given a certain situation. They make us laugh and cry as we pull for them to succeed in catching the bad guy or escaping with their lives. Even in highly implausible scenarios, we know our super heroes will pull through, somehow, someway. We are perfectly willing to take the ride with them on their latest journey and come as close as they can to failure, before saving the day. Sometimes the entire novel is full of failures in battles that seem to come one after the other, only to have them win the war in the end.
 
 
Throughout the ages, little boys have been mesmerized by Sherlock Holmes and girls wanted to be Nancy Drew. Even the crime stories turned into movies roles are adored by eager fans ready to put a face on a character like Jack Ryan or Jason Bourne and their parents the same with Sam Spade and Mike Hammer.
 

One of my favorites crime heroes is Dave Robcheaux from the James Lee Burke Series. Set in New Iberia, Louisiana, Dave is, depending on which book you read, either a homicide detective for the Iberia Parish Police Department or an ex homicide detective for the N.O.P.D. He and his sidekick Clete Purcell kick up dust all over Louisiana chasing the worst of recidivists and bring them to justice. Dave has his vices, being an alcoholic who is sometimes haunted by flashbacks and sordid memories from the Vietnam War. While Clete is a happy go lucky bull in a china shop from the Irish Channel. But we grow with them seeing them battle their own demons and wish them the best along the way. The way Burke describes the land in south Louisiana in his series and the sights and smells of the Atchafalaya Basin is magical in itself, but it’s the visit I have, when I read one of his novels, with Dave Robicheaux that I love. It really is like checking in on an old friend that I haven’t seen in a year or two.

 I only have two completed crime novels under my belt so far in my series of crime novels and I’m working on the third. It’s called the “Jon Archer Series” and it is set in my home state Georgia. He is a southern boy from the country that is a security expert. As his character develops with each installment as well as Brody, his right hand man and Jimmy his Boxer Terrier, I too, will learn more about my new friends and hope that others one day will feel the need to visit with them the same enthusiasm as I do with Burke’s series. Let’s face it, we all love to visit with old friends and some of the best friends I’ve had live in the confines of crime novels.
 
Crime Novels Should Be A Comfortable Read
 
How many times have you put down a novel because you grew weary of reading or because you eyes were tired? I have plenty of times. I was sick of reading mass market published books with a thousand words on each page. I felt like I needed a magnifying glass just to read it. I suppose this was the reason for the current surge is electronic reading devices like Kindle. Additionally, I think most crime novels are to long. I noticed this when I would travel. Every time I would buy a novel in an airport book store or newsstand I would inevitably be left with a fourth of a novel left to read when my trip was over. They just seemed a little too long to finish on a coast to coast flight or a short roundtrip domestic. My idea was to create a series of novels that you could read in 3 ½ to 4 hours and one that didn’t strain your eyes while trying to read the tiny print.

Print on demand was a blessing for this issue, because unlike mass market fiction. You didn’t have to cram as many words as humanly possible on every page. P.O.D allowed me to use larger fonts and double spacing between dialogues and paragraphs to make it much easier to read and it also allowed a shorter novel instead of the standard 60 to 90 thousand words. I found that with the preferred fonts and spacing resulted in a much more comfortable read, especially one that could be finished in a few hours. It certainly would cure the problem of being left with several unfinished novels.

I created the “Jon Archer Series” that are somewhere around 40 to 50 thousand words. I also left out the never ending back stories and descriptions that neither mattered to the story nor moved it forward. Too many time readers will thumb past the drawn out descriptions and details to get back to the action. In the “Jon Archer Series” I left out all of the non pertinent material and made sure that every age moved the story along and made it unnecessary to thumb past any superfluous pages. These are suspenseful, action packed novels with recurring characters that are sure to grab the reader from page one and keep them engaged until the end. Visit http://www.jdbowen.net and get the first book in the series that introduces Jon Archer and company called “Hostile Takeover” and decide for yourself. The sequel is called “National Hate Crime”. These books are both very comfortable reads that have been entertaining readers with this fresh approach to the genre and with a little luck, there will be many more to come.