The Thriller Genre
Thrillers deal in crimes, their detectives, criminals, and their motives. When done well, there is a sustained and gradually heightened sense of suspense and anxiety until you read the end of the book.
Detective Fiction (whodunit?) A.K.A Mystery Fiction
A novel in which a detective -- police, private, amature, or retired -- works to solve a crime, often a murder. The reader is provided the clues along the way as well. Think Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle.
In a legal thriller, a large part of the action takes place in a courtroom and many of the main characters are lawyers. The legal system itself and justice are often elements or themes. Popular authors include: John Grisham and Scott Turow.
The hard-boiled subgenre usually involves a detective who is down on his/her luck and an undesirable cast of characters. It usually takes place in an urban setting and the tone is unsentimental, cynical, and gritty. Some masters of the hard-boiled genre include: Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
A thriller that emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states. There is a dissolving sense of reality, moral ambiguity, and complex and tortured relationships. Surely you have heard the names Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.
The Edgar Award is presented by the Mystery Writers of America every year honoring the best mystery fiction.
If I had to choose 3 books to introduce a reader to the thriller genre...
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
- The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John le Carré
HERE is a list of some recent and diverse thrillers to recommend to your patrons.