A new blog from the creator of The Vincent Zandri Vox about writing, traveling, and the world in the present tense.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Process of Discovery: Mixing Genres in 'Murder by Moonlight'

I'm not known as an experimental writer.

In fact, I'm often accused of being a throwback to the very old days of Dash Hammett or even the more recent old days of the now, sadly late, Robert B. Parker and Jim Crumley. Not that I write as well as the aforementioned hard-boiled masters, but I am still trying to improve my skills on a daily basis, and that entails going out on a limb at times. In a word, it entails experimentation.

I think it was Jim Harrison who said, 'Life should be a process of discovery or else it's not life at all.' Or maybe it was Hemingway. In any case, in my newest release, Murder by Moonlight which is based on the true story of Bethlehem, New York axe murderer/attempted axe murderer, Chris Porco, I might have chosen to write a true crime novel. All the information on the case has already been published in the papers so it would have been a matter of putting it all together and telling the story, like it happened or supposedly happened.

But that's not me.

While conducting my research, I found a lot of discrepancies in the case, not the least of which is that, in my mind, it's impossible for one skinny young man to take a heavy fireman's axe to both his parents in the middle of the night, and not get at least some amount of blood spatter on his skin and clothing. I get spatter on my clothes just cooking a steak. It's because of inconsistencies in evidence like this that I decided to write a fictional truth about about the Porco murder in which I am able to dramatize what might have happened on that cold moonlight night back not too long ago.

I did something else too.

I normally write in a sparse, hard-boiled, noir style. But in this novel, because of the axe element, I added in a bit of horror as well. It's not a horror novel say in the vein of JA Konrath or Blake Crouch, nor would I attempt to even think about walking onto their territory with my limited skill set, but I can say this: "Murder" was a fun book to write simply because as an artist, I was presented the perfect canvass for mixing styles, and I think I pulled it off. That is, judging by the many great reviews received thus far, not to mention the very good sales.
How about you? Do you mix your genres? Have you ever attempted re-writing a true story in order to get at more possible truths?





  1. Hi Vincent.

    Sounds intriguing, and I'll be sure to check it out.

    To answer your question - yes. I'm on the third rewrite of a crime novel with supernatural / paranormal elements. It's been tricky finding the balance to maintain credibility, hence the rewrites in response my agent's request to 'dilute' the paranormal aspects to preserve the integrity of what in essence is still a crime novel.

    Good stuff.

    All the best,

  2. Great comment Col. I also just finished a "Moonlight" single in which I mixed a little paranormal with the normal a la X Files in a story called Full Moonlight which was included in Paul Brazil's second Drunk on the Moon anthology in the UK. It wasn't easy maintaining a balance with the genres but I did find it fun to write...

  3. Thanks for the mention, Vince. And for contributing such a corker story to DOTM2.

    I think the genre blending thing is much easier for people to accept these days- look at the success of someone like Tarantino for example.

    I've just downloaded Murder by Moonlight, btw. looking forward to it.

  4. Hey thanks Paul...I'm proud to be a part of DOTM2!!!
    Thanks for picking up Murder. Hope you like it!