Of Cops and Robbers: Now, THIS is the way to integrate reality into a crime novel
It can't be easy for an author, especially in popular genres such as crime and thriller writing, to work real events into the story without turning the book into a Movie of the Week. Nicol gets around this by choosing events less likely to be familiar, at least to readers outside South Africa. The novel never mentions Nelson Mandela, for instance, though one of his highest-profile colleagues figures in a subplot.
And he endows real events with the magic and imagination of fiction, whether they be the overseas assassination of an anti-apartheid activist, or the Miss Landmine Angola beauty pageant. He knows, in other words, that his job is to tell an entertaining story. That's a hell of a lot more effective than didactic, statistic-spouting chapter headings.
What should an author keep in mind when making real events parts of a novel? What crime novelist are best at it, other than James Ellroy?
© Peter Rozovsky 2014