Sunday, July 5, 2015

Thrillers: Why I write them

by John L. DeBoer
Author of Skeleton Run

Thrillers are what I most like to read, so naturally it was the genre I chose when I first started writing novels. They come in all shapes and sizes: legal, medical, psychological, political, crime, tales of revenge, war, even science fiction. I’ve written books containing all of those themes. As the classification implies, these stories aim to thrill the reader through action, suspense, and unexpected twists and turns.

What appeals to me in the genre is the ability to get into the heads, and show the actions of, both sides of the story’s main conflict. This is not possible, for the most part, in a true mystery, another genre I do read and enjoy. In a thriller, unlike the typical mystery, the bad guy is known, or at least suspected – sometimes wrongly! – and the plot revolves around how the protagonist will deal with that threat. For me, this increases suspense, rather than blunting it, as the reader can see what the two forces are up to while neither one knows what the other is doing. Nelson DeMille, one of my favorite authors, does this so well in his last few books with his John Corey character combating terrorists.

A blurring of these definitions occurs, of course, quite often. There are thrillers that are also mysteries – Lee Childs’ Jack Reacher stories and Harlan Coben’s books are good examples. Fun reads all, but to me, I’d rather not wait until the end of the book for the explanation of what had gone on in the previous 400 pages! Because so often this is a letdown. I usually have some element of mystery in my novels, but I prefer the end of the story to be the dramatic and exciting resolution of the conflict, not just an answer to the question that has been bugging the protagonist – and the reader – the entire book.


Twenty years ago, four teenage boys left a baby behind in a crushed car after they caused the tragic accident that took the mother’s life. Ever since, they’ve guarded the secret that would’ve ruined their lives and destroyed their future careers. But when one of them succumbs to illness, a blackmailer makes contact, and the survivors realize that, somehow, someone else knows. Now, everything that matters to them is at stake.

Las Vegas billionaire Wendell Logan is pursuing the role of political kingmaker, and he’s selected his unsuspecting king: Alan Granger, governor of Pennsylvania. Granger confesses his closet skeleton to Logan, but the tycoon has invested too much time and money into Granger’s future presidential campaign to let him and his old friends endanger Logan’s power play.
It’s time to run.

Find it online


After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed his surgical training in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer.

When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, the cinema, and the amazing cosmos. He’s an avid tennis player, and his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the guest post opportunity, Mary. Much appreciated!

  2. sounds interesting

  3. trimakasih infonya sangat,,
    berguna sekali,,