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Reconsidering The Case Of The Crime Genre

Law enforcement officials leave the home of accused rapist and killer Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer in Citrus Heights, California. The Golden State Killer provided fodder for true crime aficionados around the world, but in the wake of civil unrest after the police killing of George Floyd, many are wondering whether the crime genre needs a reboot.
Law enforcement officials leave the home of accused rapist and killer Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer in Citrus Heights, California. The Golden State Killer provided fodder for true crime aficionados around the world, but in the wake of civil unrest after the police killing of George Floyd, many are wondering whether the crime genre needs a reboot.

In the years since podcasts have become a mainstay in the media consumption of people all around the world, listenership for the crime and mystery genre has skyrocketed. But before the advent of crime podcasts, there was the crime novel.

A favorite among readers, book sales for pulpy whodunits and procedurals have ranked high in the last few years. And despite the industry being hard hit early on by the pandemic, true crime and fiction has seen a boost in some parts of the world as people remain in lockdown.

Following the civil unrest over systemic racism after the killing of George Floyd, many are calling out the genre for its role in normalizing police violence and the criminalization of Black people. But some critics are saying it’s not the first time they’ve pointed out the problematic nature of the focus on crime in  podcasts and novels alike. While there have been prolific Black crime authors, some say it’s time for the genre to change and for crime writers to rethink how they portray the police.

We talked about how the police are depicted on television. Find that conversation here

We talk to a panel of Black writers about how police and people of color are portrayed in the thrillers, and whether a reckoning is afoot.

And we want to hear from you too. If you enjoy reading crime novels, do you see yourself represented in the stories? Do the books accurately depict policing and the experiences of people of color?

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