Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More on Alan Glynn; plus What's your favorite thriller?

I've finished Alan Glynn's Bloodland, and I'm ready to seek out more thrillers, first among them Glynn's own The Dark Fields (also published as Limitless, title of the movie based on it).

Can a good conspiracy thriller really wrap all the loose ends? I think not; that would leave readers too comfortable. Bloodland does not quite tie everything up, and Glynn promises in an interview that accompanies the advance reader's edition of Bloodland that a major character who appears in that book and in Winterland will return.

Here's a bit more from the interview, Glynn on the difference between the thrillers of the 1970s and their present-day successors:

"Back then it was genuinely shocking for people to realize that their government was lying to them. But you can't lose you innocence twice, and now we're not surprised if our governments and corporations lie to us, we expect it even, and often expect them to do much worse, so the key feature we remember from back then — that creepy frisson, that dawning realization of the truth — is no longer what animates the conspiracy thriller. ... But these days, perhaps, it's a question of scale — corporate power, for example, has grown exponentially in the last thirty years. Perhaps it's a question of the inescapable and controlling nature of power in the modern world. These stories, consequently, are as relevant now, it not more so, than ever before."
Finally, here's a discussion of Glynn and the golden age of paranoia, with a link to Glynn's further thoughts on the subject.
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If you read thrillers as well as crime fiction, what are your favorite examples of the genre? What makes a thriller memorable?

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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17 Comments:

Anonymous James Benn said...

My favorite is still one of the first thrillers I ever read. The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth. I never understood why they left out the hero's sports car in the movie - it was like a character.

October 12, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I'm not an admirer of thrillers as a rule. The first one I read that impressed me was "Mermaids Singing" (?) by Val McDermid. A shocking book, but wonderfully well plotted.
These days, I like an occasional Reacher novel, mainly because of the protagonist and some excellent fight scenes.

October 12, 2011  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

I have a soft spot for Gorky Park, and also for Gifford's The Assassini (he spent something like 7 years researching the Vatican library.)

October 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, all. This one could lengthen the old reaidng list.

James: Why in the name of Bullitt would anyone leave a sports car out of a movie?

Kelly: I had not heard of Gifford or The Assassini. Thanks.

October 12, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Also loved GORKY PARK but assumed it was straight crime fiction.

October 12, 2011  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

I guess it could be taken either way. "Conspiracy thriller" was mentioned in the article, so I was thinking of conspiracy novels more than anything.

October 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Bloodland" is at least as much conspiracy tale as it is a thriller, so conspiracy novels are eligible!

October 12, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I can't remember back to years of reading mysteries, including thrillers.

Of recent vintage, Jo Nesbo's Nemesis was superb on all counts: great story, unending twists and turns, character development, even some political observations.

It kept me guessing until the last page.

I wouldn't put Michael Connelly, Henning Mankell, Asa Larsson, Hakan Nesser, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Sjowall and Wahloo, as thriller writers per se, although they write well.

October 13, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not sure how hardcore thriller readers would define "thriller," but I'd say "Three Seconds," by Roslund & Hellstrom, has strong thriller elements.

October 13, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I haven't read that yet.

Mercy or The Keeper of Lost Causes isn't a total thriller. It's a good, witty police procedural, but one-half of it could be considered a thriller, as an imprisoned person has to beat the clock to survive, and so do the police as they look for murder suspects.

October 13, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

"...the inescapable and controlling nature of power in the modern world."

People and institutions have as much power as others allow them.

Many citizens do not think clearly enough about how governments now rule through sheer ineptitude, running from one newspaper fuelled crisis to the next.

What I like about "Bloodland" is the insightful use of new technologies, where Twitter can upstage the established news hacks.

A Brave New World indeed...

October 13, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Three Seconds" is newly released in paperback in the U.S., I think. It's an exploration of how the use of informants manipulates informants and police alike. It turns thriller especially toward the end: Will Detective Ewart Grens make a tragically wrong decision, or won't he?

October 13, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

P a D: Yes, the central conspiracy comes apart with astonishing speed, thanks to rapid new techniques of communication. The book is not cheerful about the demise of traditional news outlets, though.

October 13, 2011  
Anonymous Linkmeister said...

I don't know whether "Seven Days in May" should be classified as thriller or as suspense, but either way it worked.

About the same time, "Fail Safe" was published. Not quite a thriller, but quiet horror, if there can be such a thing.

October 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, a thriller presupposes suspense, doesn't it? I think I saw the end of the movie made from "Fail Safe." A bit melodramatic, I'd say, but probably effective at the time.

October 15, 2011  
Blogger Yvette said...

WORTH DYING FOR and 61 HOURS, both by Lee Child.

THE FIRST RULE by Robert Crais

L.A. REQUIEM by Robert Crais

ICON by Frederick Forsyth

DAY OF THE JACKAL by Frederick Forsyth

THE EAGLE HAS LANDED by Jack Higgins

MONKEEWRENCH by P.J. Tracy

LOOT by Aaron Elkins

Just a few off the top of my head.

October 20, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, thriller queen.

October 20, 2011  

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