I use a mix of a laptop and an iPad to write and edit my novels. There is also an iPhone in my pocket most of my waking day. You would be right in thinking that I am not just comfortable with technology; I love it too.
But there is one place where I draw the line on all this tech, and that is in my writing. You see, one of the joys of writing crime novels is that the cops don’t have to get their guy. In the 1930s, US law enforcement first used fingerprints to identify criminals using unseen evidence left at the scene of a crime, It was a mob hit by Murder Inc. but I won’t go into details in case I use it in a future story. By the 1980s, DNA evidence was available to help the bad guy get convicted.
And that is what I don’t like. The heart of the pleasure I get from crime novels is the frisson of excitement at the thought that the bad fella will walk clean away. Knowing that a few flakes of skin can convict the dude ruins it for me. So I don’t write in the modern era and if it is important, my characters wear gloves. The 1930s to 1950s were a golden era of criminality as far as I am concerned. To be clear, I am talking about fictional crime: none of the acts of barbarity that my people perform should be enveloped in the warm glow of romanticism. I like my cold heartless killers to be cold and heartless.
One of the reasons the Italian and Jewish mobs began to lose their influence in the 1970s was due to changes in US laws, but also the improved technology employed by the Feds. That is one of the reasons that the Alex Cohen series will end by 1975. I don’t want some gumshoe with a magnifying glass giving Alex what he deserves. That’s my job.