Guest Post: Navigate the Mystery Subgenres like a Sleuth by J.C. Gatlin

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, Kate fights to protect her grieving sister just as the hurricane threatens everything she knows and loves — DARKNESS HIDES by J.C. Gatlin

Navigate the Mystery Subgenres like a Sleuth

You know, you’re not just reading a mystery—you’re reading a specific sub-class of a mystery, with its own distinctive subject matter, style, formulas, and rules. The Mystery Subgenre. And subgenres define the amount of gore, the type of sleuth, and especially the level of investigation. If you’re a reader, understanding the subgenre is important for finding the type of mystery novel you like best. If you’re a mystery writer, the subgenre helps you market the story to the right audience and sell it to the right publisher. 

Mystery-Suspense Subgenres

Amateur Sleuth: 
The murder is investigated and solved by a regular person, rather than a PI or police detective. The Miss Marple Series by Agatha Christie and The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich immediately come to mind.

Classic Whodunit:
The murder is investigated and solved by a private eye, generally written in first person from the detective’s point of view. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Dutch Shoe Mystery by Ellery Queen are examples of the Classic Whodunit.

Comic:
The murder investigation generally results in slapstick antics, often featuring a sleuth who is in over his head but manages to solve the crime despite himself. If you like a good laugh with a side of murder, check out Revenge of the Cootie Girls by Sparkle Hayter.

Cozy:
There are no graphic depictions of sex or violence, and the mystery is often set in a small, socially intimate community where an outside, sometimes eccentric sleuth solves the murder.  Let Me Call You Sweetheart and While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark are great examples of cozy mysteries, as well as The Tea Shop Mystery Series by Laura Childs.

Forensic:
The murder solved by a crime lab team who analyze the physical evidence. They reconstruct events to connect the suspect to the crime. Check out The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell and Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs, though really any of their books are worth the read.

Hard Boiled:
A murder investigated by a tough-guy, private investigator for hire, who generally operates outside the law and plays by his own rules. These are generally told from the first-person Private Eye’s Point of View. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler are two must-read, hard-boiled mystery classics.

Historical:
The murder and subsequent investigation that takes place in a distinct, recognizable era of history, with a heavy emphasis on the details of the tools, culture, and setting for that time period. The Fifth Knight Series by E.M. Powell and The Matthew Bartholomew Series by Susanna Gregory are two extremely popular examples of historical mysteries.

Legal:
This mystery ventures into the court room, and often features a defense attorney who adamantly believes his client is innocent (despite overwhelming evidence that says otherwise) and fights to prove it by identifying the real murderer. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow and The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly deliver the court room drama.

Locked Room:
A murder that appears to have been committed under impossible circumstances — such as a room with a door and windows locked from inside the room, and no obvious way for the murderer to have exited. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe are two classic examples, while They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell is a great modern example. 

Noir:
This mystery focuses on the criminal with a detective who can be as morally questionable as the murderer. The Black Dahlia by James Elroy and The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson are both darker, grittier cousins of the hard-boiled detective novel.

Police Procedural:
A murder is investigated from a police detective’s perspective, with an emphasis on detailed, real-life police procedures. Killer Instinct by James Patterson and Walk the Wire by David Baldacci are two extremely popular reads.

Psychological Suspense:
Mysteries focused on as much the Why-dunit as the Who-dunit, not only delving into murderer’s psychological motivations, but often why the sleuth is driven to investigate. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins are a couple of bone-chilling examples.

Romantic Suspense:
A murder mystery which devotes as much time to the basic romance formula (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back) as it does to solving a murder. Low Pressure by Sandra Brown and The Obsession by Nora Roberts are two mysteries with romance at its heart.

Join us for this tour from June 14 to July 2, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title: DARKNESS HIDES by J.C. Gatlin
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 + yrs), 251 pages
Genre:  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher:  Milford House Press
Release date:  April 2021
Format available for review:  print and ebook (Gifted Kindle)
Will send print books out:  USA and Canada
Tour dates: June 14 to July 2
Content Rating:  PG-13: There are a couple of murders and mild language (damn, shit)https://www.youtube.com/embed/L-NPyUzc8QE?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Book Description:

Someone she knows is watching.
Someone she knows is stalking.
And something hides in the darkness.

With a Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall, boat safety instructor Kate Parks is running out of time. Bodies are piling up–and they’re not from the raging storm. An injury may have ended her career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, but nothing can keep her away from the investigation.

And it doesn’t take long for her to see that the clues have one thing in common: a connection to the recent death of her five-year-old nephew.

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, Kate fights to protect her grieving sister just as the hurricane threatens everything she knows and loves. But before her world is completely ravaged, she must uncover one final truth:

Run from the water.
Hide from the wind.
Flee from the shadows where a weeper seeks revenge.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Sun Bury Press
add to Goodreads

Exclusive preview of DARKNESS HIDES 

Meet Kate Parks, a former Fish & Wildlife Officer who is now working as a boat safety inspector for the Sienna Key Police Department. In this chapter, she is hunkered down in her childhood home with her sister, Elise, as Hurricane Sebastian makes landfall.

Meet Elise Tyler, Kate’s younger sister who is still grieving the loss of her son Noah. She refused to evacuate, and Kate had hoped to convince her to leave before it was too late. 

Read the sample chapter before the storm hits and escape routes are blocked.

SAMPLE CHAPTER

Kate found a battery-operated Coleman lantern discarded on the kitchen floor and flipped it on. It lit up the room, and she carried it upstairs, where Elise sat alone in Noah’s bedroom.

“I want to be alone,” Elise said, sitting in the rocker.

Kate didn’t respond, listening to the rain and wind pummel the house. The walls creaked so eerily in the gale-force winds that she wondered if they could collapse around them. Stuffed animals above the bed trembled. Her pet squirrel, Doc, raised up on her shoulder, swishing his bushy tail. The lantern cast a pale glow around the bedroom. With the windows boarded up, any area outside the lantern light was lost in thick, inky blackness. Though she couldn’t see the lightning, she could hear the angry thunder compete with the rain beating the roof.

The bookcase rattled, keeping her on edge. She glanced at Elise, huddled in the rocking chair. Her sister wrapped the afghan tighter over her shoulders and locked her arms around her knees.

The walls trembled with another thunderclap, shaking the bookcase, and knocked the worn copy of Where the Darkness Hides to the floor. Kate jumped at the loud thump. Doc jumped too and leaped to the floor to investigate. She raised the lantern and looked around the room. Many of the stuffed animals had fallen onto the small bed. A model airplane dangled from the ceiling, swaying violently from the turbulence. A toy box sat positioned under the window.

Letting out a breath, she shut her eyes and focused on the rain thumping the roof. It intensified, then quieted. The sound was hypnotic, and she didn’t even hear Doogie enter the bedroom. He shined a flashlight in her direction and paused in the doorway.

“Sebastian made landfall”—his voice rose above another loud boom of thunder—“south of Sarasota.”

Kate couldn’t see him behind the blinding light in his hands, and when he lowered the flashlight, it still took a moment for her eyes to adjust. She sensed him stepping beside her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Doc dash across the floor toward him.

“We’ve just got to make it through the night.” He walked over to the rocking chair and put a hand on Elise’s shoulder.

Doc followed, cautiously investigating the cuff of his right pant leg.

“It’s about to get worse,” Kate said.

A corner of Elise’s mouth turned upward, but her smile was without humor. She turned to Doogie. “Why didn’t you sell her to gypsies or leave her in the woods somewhere?”

The wind howled at the window, and a sudden gust ripped the plywood from the casing. The glass shattered. Wind and rain blew into the room.

Elise screamed. The rocker overturned, spilling her to the floor. Kate and Doogie rushed to the bed, flipped the mattress off it, and forced it to the open window. They fought the incoming wind. The force bent the mattress, folded it like a sheet of paper, and pushed them back. Doogie shoved the mattress against the window and held it there. He yelled at Kate to move the bookcase. She got to one side of it and scooted it across the carpet to the front of the mattress.

The mattress shuddered in front of the broken window. The wind squealed and screamed like a dying thing. Kate and Doogie were silent for a couple of minutes, staring at each other.

“It’s not going to hold,” Kate yelled to him over the wind.

“We need to go downstairs.” He pointed toward the bedroom door. “It’s not safe in here.”

Elise turned the rocker right side up and sat down. “I’m not leaving Noah’s room.”

Doogie stepped to her, knelt beside the rocker. “C’mon, kid. It’s not safe.”

Kate watched her sister look up at him.

“I’m not leaving.” Gripping the edges of the afghan and pulling it taut against her back, she sank deeper into the cradle of the rocking chair. Her voice sounded raspy and tired, and a clap of thunder tapped her willpower.

The wind grew louder. It sounded like a howling wolf for a second and then a train. The roar became deafening. Debris hit the house. The roof rattled and banged.

Kate looked up.

Doogie moved the box spring and bedframe to the window, struggling to position them against the mattress. He looked back at Kate.

Elise picked up the weathered copy of Where the Darkness Hides from the floor. With the soft lantern light illuminating her face, she set the book in her lap and opened the cover.

Doogie looked puzzled. “We don’t have time for this.”

Elise read out loud, raising her voice over the shrieking wind.

“We don’t have time for this,” Doogie yelled. He turned to Kate. “Do something.”

Kate listened to the roar of the wind. Something massive hit the side of the house. The impact was loud and shook the walls. What could she do? If their number was up, she couldn’t possibly do anything to prevent it. And at least they’d be going as a family, together. She dropped to the floor, next to Elise. Doc scurried to her, his tail raised high, and hopped onto her thigh. He stood on his hind legs and pawed at Kate with his single arm.

Thunder rocked the house, and Elise stopped reading. She turned toward the bedroom door. Doc let out a series of warning chirps and clicks. Kate heard it too. A pounding that seemed separate from the rain beating the exterior of the house. BAM! BAM! BAM! Intense. Determined. It sounded different from the wind.

It was coming from downstairs.

The hairs on the back of Kate’s neck rose. Another BAM! BAM! BAM! She definitely didn’t imagine it. She turned to Doogie. His eyes widened.

“That’s the front door,” he said. “Someone’s at the door.”

Meet the Author:

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes mystery novels that include sunny Florida locales and quirky locals as characters. His last novel, H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word, won the coveted Florida Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Mystery in 2019. He is active in the Florida Writer’s Association and is a board member on the Florida Writer’s Foundation, a charity organization that fights illiteracy.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ linkedin ~ goodreads 


Tour Schedule:
 June 14 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
June 14 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
June 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review
June 16 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 16 – GivernyReads – book review / author interview
June 17 – World of My Imagination – book spotlight / guest post
June 17 – Books for Books – book review
June 18 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – A Crane Between the Pages – book review
June 22 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
June 23 – PuzzlePaws Blog – book review / giveaway
June 23 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight
June 24 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 25 – Hall Ways Blog – book review / giveaway
June 28 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway
June 28 – The Eclectic Review – book review / giveaway
June 29 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 30 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 30 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 1 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
July 1 – Leels Loves Books – book review
July 2 – Kam’s Place – book review
July 2 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
July 6 – Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
July 7 – @twilight_reader – book review
July 7 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
July 8 – @books_and_bagels (Instagram) – book review / giveaway
July 8 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
July 9 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway

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