« New Review: Walter Mosley's THE LONG FALL | Main | James Ellroy Really Wants You to Be His Facebook Friend »

April 20, 2009


Jason Pinter

How can Dan Brown be a "production line" thriller writer? He hasn't published a novel in six years.


This strikes a somewhat sour note with me. I cannot seem to sell a historical thriller in the U.S. because it's quirky and altogether unlike the "production-line" works.


I.J., think of us in the U.S. who like quirky books unlike "production-line" works. About the only thing you see on end caps in the big box bookstores (nearly all that is left it seems) are the same few authors. Personally I'm hoping for a strong dollar against the pound so I can order from Amazon UK.

John Dishon

I like this. A transatlantic rivalry could improve the quality of both countries' writing. Though I think Tom Rob Smith already has a head start on them.


Thanks, Mack, but I'm a U.S. author. Sigh.

David J. Montgomery

"Though I think Tom Rob Smith already has a head start on them."

Have you read the new one?

John Dishon

No, it's not out in the states yet, I think. Why, is it bad?

David J. Montgomery

Meh. I wouldn't say it's bad, but it ain't as good as the first one. Big letdown.

The idea that there aren't excellent British thriller writers is absurd. Nick Stone, Charles Cumming, Mark Billingham, Tom Cain, David Hewson, Stuart MacBride, Simon Kernick... What, they don't count? (That's just off the top of my head.)

John Dishon

And Ken Follett.


I saw this yesterday at The LBF and have put my thoughts on this rather 'cynical' method of book promotion


David J Montgomery might enjoy it....


Gordon Harries

Well, the first thought that hits me is that I’ve never heard of any of the men that make up ‘The Curzon Group’ and so I’m not going to grant them the same weight (at least on first blush) as I would if, say, Charles Cumming, Laura Wilson and Jeremy Duns had banded together.

Secondly, on a personal level I’d say this strikes me as (once again) little Englanders railing at the big bad America. As an Englishman I am beyond tired of such a position, they should get a new schtick.

Thirdly, Eric Ambler (and Graham Greene, who’s thrillers I rate highly) wrote very specifically about his times and the political undercurrents that propelled them. Modern thriller writers, to their great discredit, do not and that is reflected in the relevancy of the material.

Really. What tosh.


David J. Montgomery

It should be noted that the 3 gents in question have achieved their goal, which is to have people talk about them... But I have to admit, I'd never heard of them and have already forgotten their names. (And don't plan to scroll up and read them again.)

So maybe it wasn't such a great strategy...


I am backing the Anglo-US peace treaty between Montgomery-Karim Peace Process, Thrilling stuff




Looks to me like David's twisting the guy's arm. :)

Sean Black

I blogged about this at the ITW Debut Author's blog.


There's really no debate here. Everyone knows that it's the Scots and the Irish who write the best thrillers and crime fiction.

Gayle Lynds

Anything that keeps people talking about thrillers pleases me. Thanks, Sarah, for another great essay. However, I must say I'm amused that an entire wide sweep of U.S. thrillers is so easily dismissed, especially for lack of relevancy to our times. Perhaps they should put on their reading glasses and take the risk to read. Gayle

David Hewson

I imagine I don't count, David, because I - shock horror - write books set in another country, full of Johnny Foreigners, what? This kind of thing baffles me on so many levels it's difficult to count them. I suppose the principal problem is this. If, as Archer says, Brits are the best in the world at writing thrillers why do we need a rather sad, whiny and xenophobic campaign to remind readers of this? Wouldn't it be easier just to go out and write books they might want to buy instead?

I object to anyone telling me what to read or write. That's my choice, the same as it is for everyone. The idea that books from one country are, by definition, better than books from another is so ridiculous it scarcely bears consideration. So now I shall shut up.

Michelle Gagnon

James Scott Bell was just a guest on The Kill Zone, and he posted about this...and a member of the esteemed "Curzon Group" chimed in. Apparently we all misunderstood, he wasn't really attacking American authors at all (I guess calling something "formulaic" isn't an insult in his book?) To quote, "when I said there hadn't been new voices coming through in the last seven or eight years, I was referring to British writers. I think that's true, and a shame, and something we're trying to redress."
Strikes me as someone who hasn't been keeping up on their reading. And David is right, they accomplished exactly what they set out to do, which is to get people talking about them.

Matt Lynn

Thanks to everyone for chipping into the debate. At least we managed to start a few conversations, and that's probably not a bad thing. I won't try and answer all the points made here, because it would take forever. But a couple of points. I think the implicit accusation of sexism is a bit unfair. It started off as three guys who happen to know each other and also were debuting new thrillers. We'll be bringing new writers, including hopefully some women, on board quite soon. There seemed to be some disappointment that Tom Cain, Charles Cuming and Jeremy Duns weren't on board. I agree! We talked to Charles and Jeremy and for different reasons they didn't want to join at the moment. Tom will be joining soon, which is great, along with some other new writers. There's nothing 'Little Englander-ish' about it, despite what a few people seem to think. We'd just like to help open up some space for people to look at some classic books and think about who might be writing like that at the moment.

Leigh Russell

The Curzon Group comprises seven authors, not all men. I am a woman crime writer, a member of the group and a regular blogger on their website. I have no axe to grind against American crime writers and can only say that the original stance adopted by the Curzon Group clearly didn't come across sufficiently tongue in cheek - more foot in mouth. You are unlikely to know my name as my first book has just launched, the first in a new series of crime thrillers. I accepted an invitation to join the Curzon Group as I'm keen to support a group of new writers who are doing their best to raise the profile of crime writers in this country. Anything that helps to support writers and promote books is worthwhile in my view, but I'd prefer to be talked about for writing interesting books than for holding controversial opinions!

The comments to this entry are closed.