Rankin: The crime novel is dying (and Trump’s a prime suspect)
REBUS creator Ian Rankin has forecast the death of the crime novel.
The author – whose 21 books have sold millions – said bad news was killing it off.
The rise of Donald Trump, terrorist attacks and mass shootings have left people yearning for ‘kind and gentle’ books, he claimed.
The Scot is on a worldwide tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his creation but he said the bleakness of events worldwide was changing readers’ habits.
Rankin, 57, said: ‘Right now, the world seems so crazy that many novelists have difficulty trying to shape it into a coherent narrative. Fiction must be credible; the real world right now feels to me like the opposite of that.
‘People crave normality and stories of kind people helping each other.’
He added: ‘I think this may happen – a move away from serial killers and bleak dystopian crime fiction towards something with a more comforting message. Maybe good will be seen to triumph and ordinary people will overcome crises in psychological crime novels.’
Rankin’s books have been translated into 22 languages and made into two television series starring John Hannah and Ken Stott.
His 22nd novel about the Edinburgh detective will be published next autumn.
But Rankin, who earns more than £250,000-a-year, said he was too set in his ways to give up on Rebus. He said previously: ‘I am too much of a cynic. Maybe my books will become wilder and more chaotic instead. ‘Every theme... can best be explored with a detective. When I write, I feel like a child, playing games and having adventures with my imaginary friends in a universe where I get to play God.’ The author denied that publishing is too white, male and stale. He said: ‘New voices are always being heard.’
Joseph Knobbs, crime buyer for Waterstones, said Rankin’s claim was a mystery.
He added: ‘Dystopian classics such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 have been surprise runaway best-sellers this year. As for Rankin and Rebus, nothing excites me more than his suggestion that his own work might get wilder.’
REBUS: As played by Ken Stott
RANKIN: Author says bleakness of workd events is changing readers’ habits