Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Daniel Woodrell on "Noir"

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 02 Feb 2009

  • Next message: Juri Nummelin: "RARA-AVIS: My Woodrell"

    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 novel.

    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" <>
    > 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
    > good?

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