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"An extremely useful book for anyone interested in the genre of crime fiction or the practise of screenwriting. Karen examines and analyses all aspects of the ways in which crime works on screen and illuminates with forensic detail, the dark art of bringing it to life on both the large and small screens. Particularly impressive is the encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre from the earliest days of film right up to the most current examples of contemporary television series." 

Jonathan L. Powell

(Producer: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Aimed at screenwriters, producers, development executives and educators interested in the crime genre, this book provides an invaluable basis for crafting a film story that considers both audience and market expectations without compromising originality.


A brief historical overview of the crime genre is presented for context, along with an analysis of various crime sub-genres and their key conventions, including: police, detective, film noir, gangster, heist, prison and serial killer.


Strategies for focusing on theme and improving characterisation, story design, structure, dialogue and revision are provided along with paradigms, story patterns and writing exercises to assist the script development process. Interviews with industry professionals working in the crime genre are included.


The book references a wide array of films from big-budget Hollywood pictures to micro-budget independent features, European films and auteur cinema.

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