Gratuitous Violence and Sexual Deviancy
Then, as for violence, I'm not sure what is being referred to with the word "gratuitous". My books are generally violent, there can be no doubt about that. This is NOT a cozy. The violence here happens mostly on the page. But, compared to my first novel, for instance, there isn't all that much violence, and I don't see how any of it is gratuitous. I mean it isn't like I put in extra shootouts and fistfights just to fill pages. There is a scene of police brutality. There is a scene (first few pages) where a girl is murdered. An officer gets punched in the jaw, and a little boy gets pushed around by his older sister. I think this just about covers the violence. In chapter ten of my first novel, bodies drop like a swarm of flies drawn to a zapper. All of the violence in this book is there for a reason and, I think, pretty good reasons. PW begs to differ, I won't argue this one as much.
I think the problem may be that I write abot a small town in a tropical setting. Maybe the reviewer at PW was expecting a cozy. I tell people that I do "hardboiled cozies". Small town, closed community, everyone knows everyone, but when there's violence it is out for the reader to see. I don't believe in keeping that stuff off the page - realism to me means that a punch in the nose hurts. When a man gets sent to prison, his life is ruined. Violence is NEVER gratuitous. Even when a psychopath uses hedgeclippers to sheer the toes off a live victim - that might be gratuitous to the psycho, but I guarantee you it isn't to the victim. (btw, there are no hedgeclippers in my novel).
So far, Library Journal and Kirkus have liked the book which makes me happy.