What Makes Crime Thrillers So Damn Thrilling?


Let’s be honest: we’ve all read a thriller at some point.
No matter what kind of books you love—science fiction, romance, fantasy, zombie apocalypse, or steampunk—thrillers will always be one genre guaranteed to give you a quick, easy, compelling read. It’s even right there in the title! “Thrillers” are written to thrill you, to get you hooked on a fast-paced, dynamic story that keeps you burning through the pages. Whether you’re reading in bed, on a plane, at the beach, or standing in line at the bank, you’ll find it’s beautifully easy to lose yourself in the twists and turns of a good thriller.
But what is it about thrillers that make them such great reading? Is it the crime of it all, the deep dive into “villainy”? Is it the blindingly fast pace with the neck-snapping twists and turns? Is it the compelling characters or the breathtaking glimpse into unknown parts of the world?
I’d argue that it’s ALL OF THE ABOVE!
The Thrilling Characters
John Wick. Jack Reacher. James Bond. Jason Bourne. Lara Croft. Clarice Starling.
Their names immediately bring these characters to mind, and you can’t help but love them! They’re all so varied and complex in their own unique way, but at the end of the day, they have some quality that makes them appealing as central characters.
From ass-kicking badasses to low-key detectives, thriller protagonists come in a broad spectrum that never grows old. After all, no matter how many time we read the adventures of a CIA spy, cool-as-a-cucumber FBI agent, or hard-boiled detective, we still find the characters are easy to follow and appeal to our desire for adventure.
And the villains—oh, what a wide range to choose from! You’ve got the over-the-top James Bond supervillains set to take over the world, the psychotic serial killers, the double agent in high places, even the scuzzy politician. There are no end of villains to provide a threat that the heroic protagonist will ultimately defeat, no matter how outgunned or outmanned they are.

Read the entire article in the July/August 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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