Small Towns in Recent American Crime Fiction


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About the Book

Small towns have long been a commonplace setting in cozy mysteries, but in recent years writers of realistic crime fiction have discovered fresh possibilities in small town settings. There they can take advantage of distinct facets of small town life—a sense of community, slower pace of life, proximity to nature—and yet deal with social, economic and environmental issues. Because crimes in small communities hit closer to home, the human element can better be emphasized.
This book focuses on the work of ten contemporary authors who have placed small towns like Rocksburg, Pennsylvania (K. C. Constantine), West Table, Missouri (Daniel Woodrell), Niniltna, Alaska (Dana Stabenow), Aurora, Minnesota (William Kent Krueger), Paradise, Michigan (Steve Hamilton), Millersburg, Ohio (P. L. Gaus), Heartsdale, Georgia (Karin Slaughter), Millers Kill, New York (Julia Spencer-Fleming), Durant, Wyoming (Craig Johnson), and a number of national parks (Nevada Barr) on the map of American crime fiction.

About the Author(s)

David Geherin, a professor emeritus of English at Eastern Michigan University, is the author of ten books on crime fiction, three of which were finalists for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Bibliographic Details

David Geherin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9428-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1918-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface   1
Introduction   3
1. K. C. Constantine   11
2. Daniel Woodrell   27
3. Dana Stabenow   46
4. Nevada Barr   62
5. William Kent Krueger   80
6. Steve Hamilton   98
7. P. L. Gaus   114
8. Karin Slaughter   127
9. Julia Spencer-Fleming   142
10. Craig Johnson   160
11. Additional Readings   176
Bibliography   179
Index   185

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Geherin, one of the most prolific academic commentators on mystery fiction, presents a useful guide to ten contemporary Americans who write about a small town or rural region. The prospective reader will get a good idea of what each author’s books are like, their strengths and weaknesses, and which are the best and least of their works”—Mystery Scene