It wasn’t long ago a wonderful Christian crime fiction writer was blasted for “objectionable content” on Amazon by a Christian reader. Then another Christian wanted to know how fellow Christians could recommend a particular noir Christian suspense novel.
I really had to ponder this before committing words to cyber space.
It’s sad but true that some Christian readers think of Christian crime fiction, the more noir variety, as something too nasty to read. The best of it, to my mind, is a journey that faces down evil and calls for justice. A story where flawed characters, all capable of their own wrong doing, seek justice for the crime victim and some sort of resolution for the victim’s loved ones.
In the midst of the hunt for the killer, the detective/hunter is faced by the true, unvarnished nature of evil and encounters his/her own dark capabilities. It’s not easy to look into the eyes of a demon and it’s even harder to look into our own souls and find the proclivity toward what is not holy. Yet this is where modern crime fiction dares to go.
This brings to mind the Scripture, Romans 3: 9-10 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…[American Standard Version].
As this is the Easter season, my mind turns to the concept of redemption and naturally as a writer I think about redemption themes in writing. To be redeemed, one needs something to be redeemed from. If we don’t have the capability of sin, what need have we of the Holy Spirit?
This Easter, is the eve of the release of my debut novel, BURNING HEARTS (arson/murder and romance). This novel is set on Long Island, NY in 1946, at the close of World War II. The era appeals to me as it’s one in which ordinary Ameican citizens had a great deal of class and dignity. But it’s also a time of loss of innocence for Americans. They’d seen the horror of a world war, on the heals of the first world war which had been billed as the war to end all wars. They had to face 405,000 American dead in the war and 671,000 wounded.
I don’t see my writing as noir, but I do see it as crime fiction. BURNING HEARTS has an equal measure of suspense, action, and romance, as well as a good dose of humor thrown into the mix. I have tried not to shy away from the reality of an evil presence on the earth and the capablility of evil lurking somewhere in the corners of the souls of my characters, even my Christian characters.
I hope I walk in the path forged by Robert Liparulo, J. Mark Bertrand, Sibella Giorello, Mike Dellosso, Steven James, Eric Wilson, and others. These authors have asked some of the big questions in their stories. Those are big shoes prints to follow. I might have to call forensics and have a few plaster casts made.