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February 20, 2007

Comments

Steve Clackson

I posted on the Newsday article but it never appeared. What I addressed is the fact that as noted above, most of his selections for Thrillers aren't thrillers. He lists PI, Crime, Police Procedurals etc. as thrillers, the sub-genre Thriller had been defined but his take on it is muddled.

David Harrison

On the subject of definitions, to some extent I think "crime novel" and "thriller" are interchangeable terms. A thriller can also be a crime novel, while a crime novel can also be a thriller. If I had to sum up the way to distinguish a thriller in one word, it would be "urgency". There's a sense of urgency that, for me, HAS to be present in a thriller. Crime novels can quite acceptably amble their way to a conclusion, but thrillers should be a flat-out sprint to the finishing line.

David J. Montgomery

The only definition of a thriller that Anderson appears to use is "a crime novel I would like to review" (since he has positioned himself as a reviewer of thrillers).

(And I should point out that I have often admired Anderson's work. I think he can be an insightful critic at times.)

I realize this is likely an academic point to most readers. But mysteries and thrillers are different kinds of books -- written differently and with different goals and intentions -- and lumping them all together strikes me as fuzzy thinking.

That's why I use the term "crime novel" or "crime fiction" when I'm referring to the broad spectrum of the genre.

Calling Dashiell Hammett a thriller writer seems like a meaningless use of the word. There is nothing thrilling about The Maltese Falcon. However, it is quite clearly and understandably a mystery.

So why call apples oranges? Why have words like mystery and thriller if they don't mean anything distinct?

Steve Clackson

If I had to sum up the way to distinguish a thriller in one word, it would be "urgency".

Great point! I like that in one word you have illustrated what many can't cover in a lengthy article.

Steve Clackson

If I had to sum up the way to distinguish a thriller in one word, it would be "urgency".

Great point I like that in one word you have illustrated what many can't cover in a lengthy article.

DanaKing

I read Anderson's book, and was greatly disappointed. It's largely an excuse to recycle a lot of his old reviews, with thin filler material used to provide his amorphous and flexible definition of thriller. (I think David Montgomery nailed it with "The only definition of a thriller that Anderson appears to use is 'a crime novel I would like to review'." The book is full of pets and pet peeves. A few insights, but the wholly arbitrary standards Anderson establishes early and reinforces often weaken his arguments.

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