Crime fiction is one of the biggest-selling genres world-wide. For example Jo Nesbo has sold over 25 million books. That’s a LOT of books!
So what is it that people love about reading terrible crimes? I have a theory…
Imagine you are at a fun fair. You go on a rollercoaster, and you feel scared and out of control. Your heart is beating faster and adrenaline is pumping as you are thrown this way and that. What will happen next? What is around the next corner? You plummet, you corkscrew – but you know that in reality you are perfectly safe.
Reading a good crime story is like that. As you read the details, the hairs prickle at the back of your neck, tension builds along with your heart rate. There is a growing sense of unease. As your imagination takes you into the heart of the action, you desperately try to guess what is going to happen next. You grabble with the knife along with the victim, you plot someone’s demise along with the killer, you try to figure out clues alongside the detective. Yet you never leave your armchair. You are perfectly safe.