This week Kelly and JJ continue with their series on genres in publishing, this time Mystery & Thriller. JJ has also apparently passed her reading rut on to Kelly, and our prognosticating powers apparently brought about the YA version of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code because we discussed reading it as teenagers in the episode.
- Mysteries are characterized by a central question that needs to be solved: whether a murder, a mystery, or even just an idea or concept.
- Mysteries can run the gamut in terms of tone and content. From the tame (cozy) to the very gritty (thrillers).
- The difference between a thriller/slasher and a mystery: thrillers are much more graphic in terms of violence (including sexual violence).
- The level of danger the protagonist is in often distinguishes a thriller from a mystery as well. In a thriller, the protagonist may be personally in danger, whereas in a mystery, they may be investigating or tangentially in danger.
- Hardboiled mysteries are character-focused and follow a protagonist, like a gumshoe or amateur detective.
- Cozy mysteries often include other genres. They are lighter and often humorous in tone.
- Suspense falls into mystery/thriller as well, but they don’t necessarily have mysteries at their heart. There’s usually an overarching sense of tension related to a central question.
- Most of the books in this genre hinge on twists.
- There are also whodunnits, where the reader is the one trying to figure out the mystery.
- Legal thrillers are more about the case than the mystery element, and military thrillers are about the army process.
Books Discussed/What We’re Reading
- The Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling)
- Little Face by Sophie Hannah
- The works for Katrina McPhearson
- Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The works of Tana French
- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
- Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol
- The works of John Grisham
- The works of Jodi Picoult
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (which is NOT the book where the narrator did it; that’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
- Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons, and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- The Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton
- Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
- The Wells & Wong series by Robin Stevens
- Paper Towns by John Green
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
- Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
What We’re Working On
- JJ is working on a horror short story and something else she can’t talk about yet. 🙃
- Kelly is working on her WIP and journaling and thinking about her story.
Off Menu Recommendations
That’s all for this week! Next week we will conclude our series on genre with ROMANCE. As always, if you have any questions, sound off in the comments!