Booknerd Wednesday: Crime Fiction Quotes

Obviously, I love crime fiction, horror, mystery…whatever is dark and twisty and depraved, I want to read it. I want to be scared and put on edge and made aware of evil.

…and because of that, I’m slowly being suffocated by my TBR pile. There are actually a lot of books that fit that criterion. Who knew?

One joy I have in reading all this dark and twisty fiction is that sometimes, I come across a line, a quote, a thought, that is profound and enlightening.

These dark places occupied by the story lend themselves so well to truths and light.

So, I thought I’d put together a little list of some quotes I’ve read recently that have spoken to me, or that I simply just loved – maybe they’re classic, maybe they’re fun, maybe they’re profound…

But they’re all from crime fiction novels.


“I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning”

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

“I have to return some videotapes.”

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

“Whatever you think this is going to be like,” she whispers, “it’s going to be worse.”

Chelsea Cain, Heartsick

“I can’t help thinking it’s a shame he’s such a sadistic bastard, because he has wonderful manners.”

B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

“It’s the truth. I’m sorry to be blunt about it, but girls don’t like guys who are doormats. Especially pretty girls, because there’s no novelty in it. Guys are hitting on them all of the time. They can’t walk down the street or order a coffee or stand on a corner without some idiot making a comment about how attractive they are. And the women smile because it’s easier than telling them to go fuck themselves. And less dangerous, because if a man rejects a woman, she goes home and cries for a few days. If a woman rejects a man, he can rape and kill her.”

Karin Slaughter, Pretty Girls

“I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he’s up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans – it all comes from the same place.”

Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

“He lives down in a ribcage in the dry leaves of a heart.”

Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

“Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences.”

Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”

Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

“Yes, it is. It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”

Paula Hawkins, Into the Water

“Rotting in your skin
rotting in your mind
you are rotting in this house
in this house you’ll die.”

Dawn Kurtagich, And the Trees Crept In

“I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn’t find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.”

Tana French, In the Woods

“There will always be evil people. That will never change. How you fight them, if you fight them, is key. I think for us, for people involved in what we just saw out there in the woods, the secret to life is in the moments. We can’t look back, and we can’t look at the big picture. It’s too much. It’s just too much. We have to focus on whatever the headlights illuminate and nothing more.”

Anne Frasier, The Body Reader

“Men may be violent, Officer Dodge, but let’s face it-women are cruel…”

Lisa Gardner, Alone

“Sometimes you only get one chance at something. Sometimes that’s a good thing too. When that door slams shut on the thing you couldn’t live without, what happens next is when the read education begins. You have to figure out how to make some peace with it all, how to have an interior life you can live with. Digging down deep is really never a bad thing in the end, but it will flat-out kick your ass while it’s happening.”

Amanda Kyle Williams, The Stranger You Seek

“What is that Zen saying of yours, Rose? ‘Let go or be dragged’?”

Kimberly McCreight, Where They Found Her

“You can be as happy as you’ve ever been in your life, and shit is still going to happen. But it doesn’t just happen. It knocks you sideways and crashes you into the ground, because you were stupid enough to believe in sunshine and roses.”

Chevy Stevens, Still Missing

“I remember looking at him lying there in a small pool of blood and thinking ‘oh well, that’s the end of his nonsense.’”

Fiona Barton, The Widow

“It didn’t take a Harvard economist to figure out that it’d be a hell of a lot cheaper spending money on helping keep kids safe when they were younger than it was to put them in jail when they were older.”

Karin Slaughter, Triptych

“It’s a great thing to be able to tell the truth, darling. But there is such a thing as gentleness for the people you love. Just because a thing is true doesn’t mean it can’t be used cruelly. Be careful with your talents.”

Saul Black, The Killing Lessons

“The truth is, bad things are going to happen somewhere, every single day, and today was just your turn.”

Cody McFadyen, Shadow Man

“Much as they wished to, they knew they were incapable of saving the whole world – but sometimes you just had to deal with what was right in front of you.”

Angela Marsons, Silent Scream

“People are normally murdered because of something they have done, something they are doing or something they are going to do.”

Angela Marsons, Silent Scream

“Truthfully, I don’t think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing.”

Peter Swanson, The Kind Worth Killing

“The body. The-body-the-body-the-body, she thinks. Words lose their meaning when you repeat them. So do bodies, even in all their variations. Dead is dead. It’s only the hows and the whys that vary. Tick them off: Exposure. Gunshot. Stabbing. Bludgeoning with a blunt instrument, sharp instrument, no instrument at all when bare knuckles will do. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. It’s Murder Bingo! But even violence has its creative limits.”

Lauren Beukes, Broken Monsters

“Evil took many faces, many of them benign. It just wasn’t always apparent.”

J.T. Ellison, All The Pretty Girls

“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.”

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

“The dead have never bothered me. It’s the living that I fear.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

“Some people feel things more deeply than others, and some people feel things the rest of us don’t. This is what causes isolation, the sense of being apart, different.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

Until next time, Booknerds…

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