A thriller is a book or film which is designed to keep the reader or viewer on edge with suspenseful and sensational action. Thrillers have also been produced in the radio, theater, and television media. This genre is incredibly large, and thrillers often overlap with pieces of work produced in other genres; mysteries, for example, are often thrillers. Many people find thrillers very enjoyable, and they appreciate the fast pacing and complex plots associated with this genre.
Several characteristics help to define a thriller. Thrillers typically involve sudden plot twists and lots of red herrings, for example, keeping people unsure about what is going to happen. This suspense can get almost unbearable, especially in a long piece or a television series. Thrillers also have a lot of action, which is often chaotic, and they typically feature resourceful heroes and exotic settings.
The plots of thrillers can vary widely. Some are supernatural, for example, centering around mystical antagonists. Others are scientific or medical in nature, forcing their protagonists to contend with biological agents or mysterious scientific happenings. Some are simply straight mysteries with clever, horrific, or intriguing antagonists, while others be focused on the inner workings of the legal system, environmental threats, technology, or natural disasters. One long-established thriller genre is the spy thriller, featuring an often heroic and dashing spy who must confront whichever enemy happens to be popular at the moment.
Some thrillers are extremely intellectual and of very high quality, encouraging more educated people to enjoy them. Many such thrillers incorporate a psychological aspect, forcing people to examine the motivations and backstories of the characters to figure out the plot. Others are more simplistic, in the vein of the penny dreadful and designed to appeal to a much wider audience. Many thriller books are adapted into movies, and thrillers can also be turned into comic books and television shows.
Any bookstore worth its salt will carry a large collection of thrillers, which may be integrated into another section such as the mystery section. Thrillers also tend to occupy a fair amount of shelf space at video rental businesses, and you can probably find some examples of thriller televisions shows among the primetime offerings in your area. This complex and huge genre has a lush history; some very classic novels from the Victorian era, for example, are thrillers, such as the work of Wilkie Collins and Bram Stoker.