Tess Gerritsen is one of my all-time favorite writers. I “discovered” her with THE SURGEON, then read her single-title backlist. GRAVITY has to be one of the best books written in the last twenty years.
Anyway, she blogged the other day about a subject I’ve been thinking alot about lately . . . whether men read suspense novels written by women. I’ll pontificate on this subject down the road, because I’m still mulling things over in my mind (which can be a crowded place at times!)
One thing she said really hit home:
How many of us women readers are willing to read countless mysteries starring male detectives who drink to excess, watch TV sports, describe their cars in loving detail, and do “guy” things? How often does a reviewer write, “his books are too man-ish to interest women?” Women readers, it’s automatically assumed, are willing to cross gender boundaries and read about Dirk Pitt and Jack Ryan and Jack Reacher. And we do, with gusto.
But if a woman sleuth dares to act like a woman, then they’re radioactive to Patrick Anderson. Who said, in his review of VANISH, that only women would care about the struggles of a “lactating detective.” Because men sure don’t give a damn.
VANISH is a fabulous book that should resonate with ALL readers, male or female, regardless if one of the characters is a “lactating detective.” I mean, don’t these men have wives? Don’t they care about the struggles of working women? Or are they simply giving us lip-service that they are marginally sensitive to our lives?
I love thrillers. Probably 80% of the books on my shelves are suspense novels of some sort. The rest are romances and a few science fiction. I think it’s grossly unfair that suspense novels by women aren’t taken as seriously by male reviewers as suspense novels by men. I love both. I don’t discriminate based on the gender of the person who wrote the book.
So check out Tess Gerritsen’s blog on the subject, then stay around there awhile. She has incredible insights about the publishing and writing business, and I’ve re-read several of her posts because they always hit home with me.