The thriller genre has spawned some very familiar household names in fiction: Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Clive Cussler and Scott Turow need no introduction. They spin out worthy volumes that merit the popularity they glean for their authors and the genre in general. The audience they write for is mainly male, adventure-loving and hooked on malevolence and action.
What about the girls, and those who are a bit less blood-thirsty and wild thrill-seeking? There must be a sub-genre to suit them. An intellectual thriller, more tuned to the thoughtful and considered reader: the reader who demands more in the way of character-depth, well-researched background and locations, and a premise that requires concentration, analytical skills, critical thinking, and focus from the reader. And perhaps a bit of background knowledge, culture even.
Sub-genres to the thriller have recently sprung up that cater to an audience with broader tastes. There are religious thrillers, that deal with alternative biblical interpretations. There are psychological thrillers, that play with the labyrinthine twists and turns of the mind. There are also political thrillers that delve into the nefarious schemes and plots that shake governments to their foundations.
These are thrillers that female readers might enjoy. Not all women relish comfortable romances where the ending - although not always predictable - can be guaranteed to tie everything up favourably for the protagonist, usually female. Not all female readers require stories that are only engagements of the heart. Romantic thrillers provide enough excitement, thrills and action to deliver an exhilarating read without ignoring the attraction between men and women, the possibilities and risks of a relationship that accompanies a mystery, and how sexual tension can liven up and complicate a plot.
Look out for Tara Moss, Roxanne St Clair, Linda Howard, or Jamie Freveletti if you seek thrillers with a bit of heart.
Now I might have raised questions here about readers, genders, genres and whether authors write for a specific audience of males or females! If you have an opinion about any of these questions, by all means leave a comment.