A couple of weeks ago I went to the BAD, first crime writing festival here in Sydney and sat in on an entertaining session with Catherine Overington and Megan Goldin. Both are former journalists, now turned crime writers. I’ve been mulling over something Catherine said especially in light of finishing Did You See Melody? about technology and crime.
She said technology makes it harder to write mysteries and crime now because basically there should be cameras about and people have cameras and video cameras in their hands every day – and she’s right.
Did You See Melody? is an example of this, I think – the first half is pretty entertaining and the author uses Youtube to get readers and the “main” character up to speed on the Melody Chapa case there. The author uses the Youtube vidoes quite well I thought, and Cara as the main character was entertaining enough for me to stick with the book and get through Part 1 — which is in essence a massive (and entertaining) info dump about the case driving this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Things got unstuck for several reasons in part 2 for me, some detailed in my review. But most of all was Cara’s use of technology — especially at a tense moment when she should actually have been focused on getting mobile instead of getting a message out to her family through Instagram, which as she successfully does get mobile and does return to the spa where all this is going down anyway, why did she stop to write a message to her daughter? Surely there could have been easier ways to get her family into the book.
The situation was awkward and it didn’t make sense because Cara escaped anyway, so the consequences of the message could have been gotten in an entirely different way, than having her stop her escape to send a message via Instagram. Instagram. It wasn’t even a message, it was a post on one of her kid’s pictures… and it befuddled me, and it befuddles me still. I wondered if in the rush to use technology, the author found herself in the most awkward of situations.
The other thing I wondered was, where were the cameras in the spa?? Why didn’t anyone want to check them out to find other characters? Shouldn’t a spa have cameras?
But then I got to wondering — is it me? Am I too conditioned to think of technology like that that these situations seem strange? Has tech changed who I am as a reader?
What experience have you had with technology in the books you read?