My experience is that within the industry there's most certainly a
distinction. The excellent Bleak House Books, for instance, does not publish
thrillers (it says so on their submissions page and as a literary agent, I
can confirm that this is rigidly adhered to), but their list is one of the
most attractive around to fans of noir.
Also, I can pretty much guarantee that if you're a writer and your publisher
or agent asks for a thriller, they're not looking for a Parker-type crime
Wickipedia, for once, pretty much nails the distinction:
"In a thriller, the hero must thwart the plans of an enemy, rather than uncover a crime that has already happened."
Which is another way of saying that thrillers are more about prevention than
detection (although it can be both, as is often the case with a serial
killer thriller, but the former is essential while the latter is optional).
Of course, the definition the general reader is exposed to is muddied by the
fact that once a book is written, it may well be called a thriller by
someone in marketing looking to sell the book into a wider market.
----- Original Message -----
From: "jacquesdebierue" <email@example.com>
> Westlake's Parker series does not include a revolving POV. I don't
> think Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series uses that device, either. If
> they are exceptions, they are major exceptions. Today, both would
> qualify as thrillers. Speaking of Ludlum, I have never read him. Is he
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