Journalists in Crime Fiction

Journalists in Crime Fiction_NovelSuspectsThe protagonist of a mystery or a thriller is not always the detective or the police officer. It may be the victim (if they are still alive) or the relative of a deceased victim, trying to get justice for themselves or their family. Or it could be a journalist who is writing about a particular case.

In crime fiction, a journalist is often another form of detective, asking questions, going over mountains of clues and paperwork, asking even more questions, fending off feelings of frustration, and having people accuse them of being pests, parasites, or blood-hungry ghouls. The stresses of investigating the case may carry over into the journalist’s personal life, or the stresses of home life may carry over into the case. And a journalist’s ability to ask questions may well put them in danger from criminals who don’t like it when people ask too many questions.

In other mysteries, such as cozy mysteries, if the journalist is a supporting character, they often appear as nosy busybodies who get on the main character’s nerves, if not something more sinister.

A lot of novelists began as journalists before they turned their careers to writing fiction, such as Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway. More recent journalists-turned-novelists include Joan Didion, Carl Hiassen, Michael Connelly, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman.

To name some recent fictional journalists, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo introduced Mikael “Kalle” Blomkvist, who finds himself in legal trouble at the start of the book. The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson introduced readers to Cindy Thomas, the San Francisco Chronicle journalist who starts out as a thorn in Detective Lindsay Boxer’s side but soon becomes a valuable ally and friend. Get the scoop on some of these journalists in mysteries and thrillers.


Erin Roll is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. Her favorite genres to read are mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, and her TBR pile is likely to be visible on Google Maps. Before becoming an editor, Erin worked as a journalist and photographer, and she has won far too many awards from the New Jersey Press Association. Erin lives at the top floor of a haunted house in Montclair, NJ. She enjoys reading (of course), writing, hiking, kayaking, music, and video games.