Writing Can Be Murder

July 23, 2010

What the %^&* is a “thriller”?

Filed under: Uncategorized — love2wryte @ 5:25 pm

Just last week I was having this very conversation with a writer friend (fortunately we both share a pretty liberal view of what a thriller can be) so I was amused when I found that NPR is inviting folks to vote on the best thrillers ever.

The list they provide to choose from illustrates exactly how inclusive the thriller label can be.

When I think thriller I think Robert Ludlum…not Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, or I think Ken Follet….not Scott Turrow’s Presumed Innocent.

And I don’t think I’d put Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the top of my thriller writer’s list, but maybe you would.

So tell me, when you hear “thriller” who or what do you think of?

(be I’ll smack the first person who says Michael Jackson)



  1. Shogun? Seriously?

    “Thriller” makes me think of James Patterson right off the bat (well, not really, because you warned us not to say Michael Jackson). Or Thomas Harris, who’s got to be one of the best suspense-y writers of all time. Not Shogun. Or Jaws. Or the Count of Monte Cristo. All of which are great books, just not thrillers.

    This has to be the first list of books I’ve seen where I’ve read almost all the titles.

    Comment by Kate Perry — July 23, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  2. I thought my definition was loose… but apparently theirs is even looser. IT by Stephen King? THE SHINING? Thrilling books, no doubt, but not what I’d classify as thrillers.

    Comment by Jenny — July 23, 2010 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  3. Kate — in general I liked this list of books. I just wouldn’t have called half of them “thrillers”. I was surprised how few of Patterson’s books made the list and how there were so many of King’s.

    Jenny — Did you catch the Agatha Christie on the list? It’s the same book I mentioned on your blog not that long ago.

    Comment by love2wryte — July 24, 2010 @ 7:25 am | Reply

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