What Makes a Thriller So Good To Read

Geopolitical conspiracy, tortured mental health, murder, mystery, and corruption are all intricately woven into The Noah Principle, a literary thriller that examines ethnic unrest in South-East Asia while concurrently providing a realistic account of the disastrous 1997–98 Asian Financial Crisis.

Two ambitious, young expats unwittingly jeopardize their future. A successful financier tries to cover up his past transgressions. And an economic crisis pushes Indonesia dangerously close to the brink of another self-destructive rebirth. Can expats Cain and Charlie survive the anarchy that is tearing through Jakarta? Can their friendship survive the deadly battle of wits between their bosses? With its carefully crafted and deftly balanced blend of tension, thrill and excitement, this engrossing historical novel is everything a good thriller should be.

Simply put, the thriller is a genre of fiction defined by a suspenseful and compelling storyline. Its primary goal is to keep readers on the edge of their seats and their fingers ready to turn the next page, by employing unexpected plot twists with hazardous, high stakes situations. These books typically have one or more protagonists in peril, usually having to deal with a powerful foe who is attempting to harm or stop them from achieving their objective. This literary type has many different subgenres, such as political, crime, psychological, and historical thrillers such as The Noah Principle.

Thrillers are one of the most popular genres in literature. They are known for their ability to captivate readers with suspenseful plots, intense action, and unexpected twists, and in this blog post, we will explore the characteristics that make thrillers so compelling.

According to a 2019 Statista survey, thrillers are the second most popular genre among readers, with 47% of respondents saying they enjoy reading them. This demonstrates the genre’s ability to keep readers interested and entertained.

But what are the primary elements that make thriller fiction so successful?

A Powerful Storyline

First and foremost, a thriller needs to have a strong storyline with an engaging plot that will hold the reader’s attention. It should not be overcomplicated, but neither should it be too simple. In addition, there should be gripping moments interspersed throughout the story that dial up the intensity of the read through the tension felt by its characters. Take The Noah Principle, for instance, this novel has a compelling storyline with just the right amount of intrigue and suspense that will compel you to keep reading to the very end.

Interesting Characters

A novel’s foundation is built upon the protagonist or the antagonist. They are the source of the reader’s intrigue, and if they are skillfully depicted, the reader will stay with them and keep reading to the very end. A typical thriller has one protagonist who must stop the antagonist from doing something horrible. Nevertheless, there can be more than one protagonist or antagonist, backed up by a colorful, charismatic and memorable supporting cast.

One such character in The Noah Principle is Lena Ngurawan. Outwardly rather plain, her beauty lies within. Her job in the office places her at the very center of things, and yet her rank and standing in that office determines that she be confined to its drab periphery. She is an ‘office girl’ who like so many women trapped in the same blinkered patriarchy of offices like Temple-Speer (even today), is capable and deserving of so much more. Unlike the Temple-Speer office, the author recognizes Lena’s true worth and gradually promotes her from the shadows and into the spotlight to reveal that she is the book’s universal heroine. Throughout her well-directed transition to become one of several central characters, it becomes clear that she possesses a distinctive will and wit, more than matched by an even sharper intelligence. Lena is a truly remarkable character who blossoms amidst the extraordinary tumult in the novel. In short, she is a true inspiration.   

A Conflict

Tick tock, tick tock, it’s not just a clock, it’s a time bomb. Any good thriller always has such a device; a conflict that the protagonist needs to defuse before it is too late. That conflict can take many forms, and it is up to the author to develop as much intensity as they want. It must however, have some cause and context in order to exist, disrupt the plot, and possibly even ricochet into another conflict with even greater tension and a climax to match. And whilst (preferably) very dramatic, the conflict should plot a rational and practical course toward an anxiety-inducing, yet credible conclusion.

High Stakes

The things that will be gained or lost depending on the protagonist’s success or failure are the story’s stakes. Does the main character experience embarrassment? Professional failure? Or a dead end? An engaging thriller inhabits a visceral realm of danger. The readers’ favorite characters ought to be in trouble. The narrative should be filled with a sense of nail-biting tension such as The Noah Principle’s depiction of a ruinous economic tail-spin that threatened the prosperity of the entire South East Asian region. A crisis that greatly undermined the political survival of the region’s leaders, and dragged Indonesia through a nightmarish period of chaos. These were in fact, real-life events from which survivors would then emerge into a bleak and very uncertain future, ever teetering on the fragile edge of yet more chaos and violence.

Action And Emotion

Without these two, a thriller novel will lack two fundamentally important building blocks. Drama, suspense, thrill, action, and emotion—they all combine to make the story more absorbing. There should be emotions, sentiments, and breakdowns—whether mental or physical. There should be moments of realization, regret, resurgence, and a fight for life that will make reading a literary thriller a real roller coaster ride of relatable emotions for the reader too.

A Powerful Climax

It is the end, the finale, the climax. Often it is the moment of ultimate mortal danger before a main protagonist, with whom the reader has built a relationship, achieves that breath of fresh air after dealing with the antagonist or achieving their goal. However, story conclusions do not always offer comprehensively happy endings, especially if the novel is one of a series of books. The author sometimes continues the intrigue and complicates the ending so that readers are keen to read the next book. But in general, a conclusion should demonstrate an ending point, a justification of what the conflict has all been about, and a result that will finally lay to rest the never-ending intrigue and tension (letting the reader turn off the beside lamp and rest well too).

This talk of conclusions also wraps up our blog. But if you still find yourself inhabiting a perplexing world and looking for answers to what makes a thriller novel so good, then you can’t go far wrong by purchasing a copy of The Noah Principle. It is a one of a kind novel that will transport you to another time, from where you can learn a great deal, and be confronted with some troubling questions that are as relevant today as they were back in the late 1990s. This remarkable work of fiction, embedded in a dark period of history about which there are still many questions, is available on Amazon now as an E-book, Paperback and Hardback.

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