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

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 02 Feb 2009

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    Re your comment below:

    "You left out the fact that thrillers nearly always include a revolving P.O.V. in them (think Elmore Leonard and Robert Ludlum). Ken Follett's THE MAN FROM ST. PETERSBURG as well, for example."

    You yourself give the reason for my leaving it out in your comment. "ALMOST always" isn't the same as "always." Therefore, rrevlovling POV's must not be a requirement. Therefore, it doesn't need to be mentioned in the definition.

    Moreover, there are mysteries, which are not thrillers, which have revolving POV's, so a revolving POV must, perforce, NOT be a defining element.

    OTOH, an emphasis on action, suspense, and pacing is precisely what sets a thriller apart from other crime fiction.

    Another point. There is a certain universality to the thriller. Many tend to equate it with spy fiction, but virtually any sub-genre of mystery can take the form of a thriller.

    Private eye stories (Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels were often touted with the tag line "A Mike Hammer Thriller" rather than "A Mike Hammer Mystery" back in the day), police procedurals (Stanley Cohen's 330 PARK and Dan Mahoney's EDGE OF THE CITY), even "cozies" (Margery Allingham's TIGER IN THE SMOKE), can all qualify as thrillers as long as they meet the main requirement, a plot that emphasizes action, suspense, and pacing rather than cerebration.



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