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Friday, October 19, 2012

Thrillers reflect political divides?

A recent Washington Post article notes that political thrillers often reflect the nation's political divides. The Post notes that while most read thrillers for pure entertainment, the genre can also have powerful messages -- American's relationship to government, the rise of private power, the value of constitutional law -- that tend to fall into a right/left divide.

Thrillers that appeal to those on the right tend to have middle eastern villains that are at their core evil, with heroes who are fighting both the bad guys and the constraints of the governmental systems within which they work. In left leaning thrillers the villains tend to be high government officials operating in a world of gray, while heroes are often flawed. Conservative thrillers tend to focus on national security, while liberal leaning novels focus on law and its application.

If the Post's take on the political analysis is accurate, Unleashing Colter's Hell should appeal to a wide range of readers. It's central villain is al Qaeda intent on destroying the United States. While the park ranger hero struggles with balancing the demands of his job with a normal life. My villains are limited by their operating deep within the United States and lacking support, while the heroes are on the defensive (trying to stop an attack), don't have perfect knowledge, and must operate within the law.

As I set out to write the thriller my goal was to have heroes, villains and plot points that were plausible. The book's villains would be driven by perverse, but recognizable motives.  Meanwhile, the book’s heroes can distinguish between good and evil, but are limited in their ability to confront the bad guys by society’s rules.  If the book's initial feedback is to be believed, I feel its a "believable" thriller.

Whether thrillers are written from a left or right perspective, at their heart they are about good people stopping evil.  Thankfully, neither side has cornered the market on the topic.

What aspects of a thriller appeal to you?

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