Last week I reviewed Thrillers: 100 Must Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. Now, I’m reviewing James N. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters. There’s plenty of overlap between the two books. The main difference comes down to the variety of opinions on thrillers in Morrell’s book vs. Frey’s focused analysis of how thrillers work and how to write them. Frey analyzes an impressive number of books and movies to show how the effects are achieved. My only quibble is that Frey sometimes tells you more than you want to know about works you may not have read or seen yet: too many spoilers! If I was Frey’s editor, I would have suggested WARNINGS to prevent readers from learning information that would spoil their reading or viewing experience. Other than that, I recommend Frey’s book if you’re a fan of thrillers. You’ll learn a lot! GRADE: B+

10 thoughts on “HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD THRILLER By James N. Frey

  1. Patti Abbott

    I would guess most people reading this are trying to write a thriller so spoilers might not matter. It’s mechanics and techniques they’re after. I will look for this one. Thanks. And go ahead. Write one under your own name. I bet you can.


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