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The Return of the Literary Thriller

Of course, it’s debatable whether it ever really went away or if market forces dictated that it “disappear” and re-emerge a few years later, as many trends do. But the idea gives the WSJ’s Robert Hughes a peg to feature a couple of dozen thrillers (highlighting future releases by Daniel Silva, Barry Eisler, Martin Cruz Smith and Joseph Finder, among others) and explain why they are making a so-called comeback.

Behind the revival, Hughes writes, is the confluence of a world grown more scary and a sluggish, $24 billion publishing industry seeking a new formula for hits. There’s another factor: Hollywood’s movie machine is hungry for such books. “Thrillers will definitely be the next cycle” in Hollywood, says Howard Sanders, a partner in United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif. Whatever that means. Of course, here comes the obligatory nitpick: all the thrillers Hughes & co. write about and they couldn’t find a single woman? Granted, thrillers of a certain variety are male-dominated for the moment, but it would have been nice to garnish some attention on say, R.J. Hillhouse‘s OUTSOURCED, M.J. Rose‘s THE REINCARNATIONIST or the recently released THE ACCIDENTAL AMERICAN by Alex Carr, which fits this bill more tightly than any of the titles on offer, male or female.

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