Monday, February 25, 2013

My Gruesome Homework

by Kate Collins

My bookclub passed on my suggestion for this month's read. I figured I'd throw it out there, since I'm reading it anyway. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no one thought it was a good idea. Not that I blame them. If it wasn't for research, I wouldn't have picked it up.

The name of the book is, "The Science of Cold Case Files," by Katherine Ramsland.  It's full of the actual stories behind the TV series, "Cold Case Files." Gruesome is a good word for the contents, but because the mystery I'm writing now involves a long-buried body, I needed to know what bones would look like after 40 years of interment.

Let me tell you, it ain't pretty. And neither are the stories in the book. The most horrifying part isn't what happens when a body decomposes, it's that these are real cases. Real murders. Real torture. I can't pretend it's all going to be wrapped up neatly after 55 minutes. These stories didn't have happy endings.

 I'm just appalled by what human beings are capable of, what one human, who was born a tiny innocent baby, can do to another. I'll be very glad to be done with this research. We watch these TV shows and grow insensitive to some extent because we know they're not real. Yet right now, in my hometown, there's a murder trial in progress involving a suspect who's a young man and a victim who was a young woman on the verge of going to college. It's all too real.

I write mysteries because I love solving puzzles, and even better, I love creating them. I write traditional, or cozy, mysteries because i hate gore. I would hate writing it even more. In "cozies" the murders happen off the page. We don't have to witness those gruesome scenes.

Why do you read cozies? Do you feel the murders on TV have desensitized us to the real life murders that occur every day?


Lover of Books said...

As gruesome as it sounds, it sounds helpful in the long run. I stay away from True Crime novels just cause they creep me out.

Janet C said...

I think the most important thing for me in picking books is the characters and then the plot. If I'm going to be spending time with the folks in a book, I want to like and be engaged by them. I read books with gore, but only if I'm involved with the characters.

Anonymous said...

I do feel like TV has gone to far with the murder shows. The mystery shows such as Murder She Wrote were just as entertaining as the ones today. I watch mystery and read about mystery to be entertained, not scared to death. I enjoy the mystery, figuring out who the culprit is. Great post today, Blessings, Susan Fryman

Chèli said...

I read cozies mainly because I love the characters and the settings. I don't need the gory details, just a nice little mystery with characters that are like friends.
Sometimes I'll read a more in depth mystery but not often.


Aurian said...

I don't read anything that is true crime, or real life. I experience enough real life in my own, my books are to escape into a fantasy world, where justice prevails and the murderer is caught.
I don't watch much tv either.

I do think that kids who grow up with lots of (violent) tv, and video games, don't think a life has much value. They don't seem to care about others as much as we were taught 20 years ago.

Linda Mc said...

I like the characters and the settings in cozies. I do read some thrillers, but with all the real life violence out there I must admit that reading cozies since they don't have gruesome scenes is very nice.

Rachelle21 said...

I feel that TV may be too much of an influence on some criminals. I wish that perps would not get there pictures or names on TV even after they die. In books you have to guess who did it, you do not have instant access or get to see pictures.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks for your opinions. They're good to know!

Barbara T. said...

Enjoy figuring out who done it. When I guess wrong it is even more fun. I used to read the thrillers and gore, but now I want to be entertained without being repulsed.

Unknown said...

I like to read cozies because they are a "light"read, suspense yet have some humor. I like the murder mystery aspect because the details are not that harsh.