5 Crime Fiction Magazines: A Review

I’ve been a busy bee reading tons of crime fiction and real crime magazines to suss out the very best that are worth subscribing to. The main aim of this research was so that I could pick just one magazine to buy a year-long subscription for, so I needed to be sure I picked the right one for me!

I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of magazines in this kind of genre to read – and they each offer slightly different formats and content dependant on what works for you. For me, I sway toward digital formats rather than hardcopies because I can easily access them when travelling, during my lunch break or to read in bed without having to actually remember to take the magazine with me (I have the memory of a goldfish). Some of you will prefer a good old fashioned paper copy to thumb through.

Disclaimer: It’s worth pointing out that my reviews are based on the editions of each magazine that were published between February and April 2017. Some of the formats may vary throughout the year.

Let’s take a look at the five BEST magazines I found!

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Format: Digital, bi-monthly editions

Cost: £2.99, although I accessed a free 1 month subscription with Amazon

The Set Up:

  • 11 fictional story entries (between 2,000-12,000 words)
  • 1 graphic short story
  • 1 photo competition
  • 2 crime-themed puzzles
  • 4 author profiles and their recent book releases

My Review: I had a peek at the March 2017 edition of this magazine, and I’m sad to say I was a little disappointed. I felt the featured stories were a bit hit-and-miss in terms of quality; for example one of the stories had a repeated paragraph included which had obviously not been proof-read before publication. Having said that I did enjoy Bygones by Wayne J Gardiner and Magpie Man by Tony Richards in this issue. I think the major downside of my experience of this was that it simply doesn’t work well in digital format: I couldn’t read the graphic novel at all and obviously the puzzles were useless to me as I can’t draw on my kindle.

My Rating:

 

 

Crime Fiction Fix

Format: Digital, monthly editions

Cost: £3.50

The Set Up:

  • 1 author interview via video plus feature on author
  • 2 new author features
  • 2 expert features
  • analysis of an author’s work
  • ways with words feature
  • news and events

My Review: I bought this after reading editor-in-chief Sarah William’s book ‘How to Write Crime Fiction’ and, like the book, this magazine doesn’t disappoint. I like the mixed-media approach to this magazine because it breaks things up a bit. I also liked being able to see the author being interviewed, it felt much more personal. I really liked the technical features in this magazine – technical questions answered and expert insights, both of which are really useful for a crime fiction author; this month I learned about the Cinderella effect and vulnerable prisoners. A solid all-rounder.

My Rating:

 

 

Crimespree Magazine

Formats: Digital and hardcopy, bi-monthly editions

Cost: £3.96 for digital

The Set Up:

  • 8 author interviews
  • 10 feature articles
  • 2 fictional stories
  • 10 DVD reviews
  • Nearly 40 book reviews (varying: in-depths as well as short mentions)
  • 7 comic reviews
  • 1 recipe (wtf!)

My Review: I LOVE this magazine. It’s chock-a-block FULL of, well, everything. As you can see from the list it is really varied, but I have to say the author interviews were my favourite. I think the questions they ask are brilliant, focussing particularly on inspiration and creative process. I was particularly lucky this month to read interviews with Chuck Wendig and Todd Robinson which made me laugh out loud. The feature articles were brilliant too, ranging from crime fiction conference round ups to a feature on classic crime fiction. I also found it useful to have the quick-fire reviews so I could work out in just a couple of sentences whether I wanted to read more; I ended up downloading samples for Brain Storm by Elaine Viets and  Tag, You’re Dead by J C Lane off the back of this issue.

My Rating:

 

 

Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Format: Digital, bi-monthly editions

Cost: £2.99, although I accessed a free 1 month subscription with Amazon

The Set Up:

  • 14 fictional stories
  • 2 debut writer’s stories
  • 10 reviews of new releases
  • 4 blog reviews
  • 1 foreign short story feature

My Review: As a blogger myself I was really pleased to see the roundup of notable blogs to check out, of which I would definitely recommend Dru Ann Love’s blog Dru’s Book Musings; funnily enough, Dru has a segment in Crime spree which we reviewed earlier! Like with the Alfred Hitchcock magazine though, for me I wasn’t blown away by the stories and, when compared to what the other magazines reviewed here have to offer, this falls short for me. Perhaps better suited to someone who only wants to read stories rather than features.

My Rating:

 

 

Real Crime

Format: Hardcopy, c.100 pages, 13 issues/year

Cost: £3.99

The Set Up:

  • 11 full-length features
  • 8 reviews of books, films and TV

My Review: This magazine is visually stunning with full page photos, maps of crimes and scene recreations. These guys have really done their research, providing in-depth features of interesting cases around the world from the well-known to less familiar. Accounts are unbiased and often include stories from the victims, lawyers and families. If you’re interested in real-life crime inspiration as opposed to crime-fiction focus, this mag is for you.

My Rating:

 

 

 

Notable Mentions

Some other options available to you, but ones I have not read myself can be found below:

CrimeWave

Twelve collections of novellas, novelettes and short stories on the theme of crime and mystery. Authors include newbies as well as household favourites including Ian Rankin, Christopher Priest and Julian Rathbone.

Collections cost a whopping £10-£13 per issue but you get up to 240 pages worth of content in the most recent releases, so I’ll leave you to be the judge of how worthy these are of your cash.

Mystery Weekly Magazine

Much like Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen, this magazine is packed with original stories from all sub-genres of mystery and crime. Available in digital or hardcopy format for $3-5.

Mystery Scene

A mix of original stories, features and reviews. I really wanted to review this properly, but at £5 per issue I just couldn’t see how this would be a worthwhile investment. Please feel free to let me know otherwise!

 

A few more to check out but that are no longer in regular circulation:

Black Mask

Specialising in hard-boiled fiction but also detective, adventure and western stories, this magazine ran from 1920-1987. Back issues include such decorated authors as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. You can pick up back issues on Amazon for anywhere between $5-$20.

Detective Story Magazine

Issues were printed between 1915-1949 and covered the crime fiction genre. Contributing authors include Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Copies aren’t easy to find but you could start with here.

 

And the Winner is…

After much deliberation, I decided to buy a yearly subscription to Crime Fiction Fix!

They currently offer a yearly subscription (that’s 12 issues) for the price of 10 (£35). This edged it for me over Crimespree which would cost more (£47) for just 6 issues a year, and also because of the technical/expert features in CFF – I think these will be really useful for me as I start writing my own fiction this year!

 

Over to you

Could you recommend some crime magazines to me that aren’t featured here? Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “5 Crime Fiction Magazines: A Review

    1. Thank you 🙂 Let me know if you check any of these magazines out, or if you know of any others!

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