A ThrillerFest panel last week tackled this question: “Can a thriller be both exciting and smart?” Participants included authors Linwood Barclay, Joseph Finder, Kathleen George, Andrew Gross, Andrew Pyper and Matt Richtel. David Liss moderated the panel.

During the discussion, the participants picked Dennis LeHane‘s Shutter Island, Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness, and William Landay‘s upcoming Defending Jacob as their favorite smart thrillers.

Below, we’ve included five tips for writing smart thrillers from the discussion.

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