How To Write a Damn Good Mystery

by James N. Frey

St. Martin's Press, February 2004.
Hardcover, 371 pages.
ISBN: 0312304463

How To Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N. Frey James Frey, author of numerous popular writing books, such as How to Write a Damn Good Novel, as well as the Edgar nominated mystery The Long Way to Die, brings his no-nonsense approach to writing to aspiring mystery writers. Building on Joseph Campbell's theories of story, Frey dismisses the writing books which focus on the minutiae of tips and tricks and focuses instead on creating fascinating characters which audiences will believe in and want to read more about. Frey takes readers through the process of writing a mystery novel: picking an outstanding hero or heroine (the discussion of the types of heroes in crime fiction is worth the price of the book by itself), finding a worthwhile plot, how to keep the action moving and so forth. He also focuses on why people read mysteries in the first place, and how that knowledge can help you write a commercially viable book. Frey is an expert and this is one advice book that is a fast and enjoyable read. This is a must-have for any aspiring mystery writer.

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This review was published in the January-February, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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