PJAS 13-11

Elena Avanzas Álvarez
Form and Diversity in American Crime Fiction:The Southern Forensic Thriller
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 13 (Autumn 2019), pp. 309-319

Abstract: The forensic thriller has traditionally been constructed as a mainstream American narrative focused on the stereotypical representation of the country as a metropolis with an incredible amount of resources, and the American capitalist dream. The author Patricia Cornwell (Postmortem, first novel in the Kay Scarpetta series, published in 1990) is considered the founding mother of this crime fiction subgenre native to the US, closely followed by Kathy Reichs (Deja Dead, first novel in the Temperance Brennan series, published in 1997) whose series have been successfully adapted to television in the show Bones (2005-2017). But the 21st century has seen the inclusion of more diverse settings for these stories, the South being the most economically successful and dominated by women authors too.

Georgian Karin Slaughter is the author of the “Grant County” series, set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, in rural Georgia, and responsible for the inscription of the South in American forensic thrillers thanks to her own experience as a native. Blindsighted (2001) includes elements from both the grotesque southern gothic and the hard boiled tradition. My analysis of the first novel in the series will examine how the southern environment becomes quintessential to the development of the crimes and the characters from a literary, philosophical and feminist point of view. The issues examined will include, but not be limited to crime, morals, religion, professional ambition, infidelity, divorce, sexual desire, infertility, and family relationships.

Keywords: Literature, crime fiction, southern, forensics, thriller

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