Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thriller writing - it's a crime!

Have just discovered over my lunchtime muffin (not a euphemism), that, in the words of a well-known British crime writer, crime writers are left-wing whereas thriller writers are right-wing.

At first I was confused, because if this supposition is true, I'm straddling the two extremes; I write crime novels and spy thrillers (and other stuff besides). So what does that make me? Still, on further investigation, the article had appeared in the Guardian, which is hardly known for it's right-wing leanings, so I shouldn't be too surprised.

What intrigued me, however, was that the piece appeared to lean rather heavily towards the suggestion that of the two, crime writers (as it happens, the genre of its author) possess the greater social conscience. This because they 'give voice to the poor, sex workers, the old, immigrants... the dispossessed, in other words. Thrillers, on the other hand, seemed to be dismissed  as 'tend(ing) towards conservative'. (I thought this rather hinted at the larger - and damning - 'C' in conservative than had been written, but maybe I was feeling suspicious already and misinterpreted it).

Odd, though, that many crime novels feature victims who are from the same ranks of the dispossessed, so I'm not sure whether that's giving them voice or using them as handy fodder for writing about serial killers.

On reflexion, though, this lofty idea doesn't matter; we all have our views (and there is the election looming, so there's another pointer). But my writing view has always been that works of fiction are meant to entertain... and maybe educate a little, although that has never been my prime motivation.

However, as I do write both genres, I will henceforth try to do one in a more open, socially-conscious manner, to show what a thoroughly decent and caring egg I am. The other I will pursue under cover, just in case I'm spotted by some right-on do-right who wants to burn me at the stake for being a thriller writer and therefore a socially uncaring git.



  1. An interesting idea. As I have written thrillers and crime stories, I also am confused about my political tendencies. Like Adrian, I try only to entertain.

  2. Good for you, BMW. Glad I'm not alone in my confused state. Good luck.