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Criminal Underworlds in Fiction: Realism and Excitement

Fictional crime stories have always been popular among readers, from Sherlock Holmes to modern-day thrillers. To make these stories more realistic and intriguing, many authors include criminal underworlds in their plots. These criminal underworlds are a world within a world, full of criminals, shady deals, and illegal activities. In this blog, we will explore how authors use criminal underworlds to bring realism to their stories, making them more exciting and engaging for readers.

The Reality of Criminal Underworlds in Fiction

Criminal underworlds are not just a figment of an author’s imagination; they exist in real life too. From the Mafia to street gangs, these criminal organizations have been around for centuries. They operate under a code of conduct that is entirely different from that of law-abiding citizens. By incorporating such organizations into their stories, authors bring a level of authenticity that is difficult to achieve otherwise. They create a world that is not only exciting but also believable.

Creating Suspense and Tension

One of the biggest reasons authors use criminal underworlds in their stories is to create suspense and tension. These organizations are often involved in high-stakes illegal activities, such as drugs smuggling, human trafficking, and money laundering. By incorporating these elements into their plots, authors create a sense of danger that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

In the novel “The Godfather,” author Mario Puzo uses the Italian Mafia as the criminal underworld to create a suspenseful and tension-filled story. The novel’s protagonist, Michael Corleone, gets drawn into his family’s criminal empire, which leads to a series of violent events that threaten his life and the lives of his loved ones. The reader is on the edge of their seat, wondering what will happen next and if Michael will survive.

The Human Side of Criminal Underworlds

Another reason authors use criminal underworlds in their stories is to show the human side of these organizations. Often, criminals are portrayed as one-dimensional characters with no redeeming qualities. However, by exploring their motivations and backgrounds, authors can create complex and multifaceted characters that readers can empathize with.

In the TV series “The Sopranos,” creator David Chase explores the personal life of Tony Soprano, a high-ranking member of the Italian Mafia. We see him struggle with his family life, his mental health, and his role in the criminal underworld. By showing Tony’s vulnerabilities, the series humanizes him, making him more relatable to the audience.


Criminal underworlds are a powerful tool for authors looking to create realistic and engaging stories. They add a level of authenticity that is difficult to achieve otherwise, creating a world that is both exciting and believable. By creating tension, exploring the human side of characters, and providing an insight into the world of crime, authors can captivate their readers and keep them hooked until the very end.

If you’re looking for a thrilling read that incorporates criminal underworlds, then check out “Contract Killers” by Steven C. Gray. This novel takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the world of contract killing and criminal organizations. With suspense, tension, and a cast of complex characters, “Contract Killers” is a must-read for any fan of crime fiction.

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