Ah, yes, the thriller: a fast-paced, engaging, and engrossing novel that keeps you up past your bedtime with something more interesting than infomercials. I’d like to take this opportunity, however, to delineate between your “average” thriller (you know who you are) and the “literary” thriller, such as the forthcoming debut novel Kino by Jürgen Fauth.
FIVE THINGS YOU WON’T FIND IN OUR LITERARY THRILLER
1. Horrible Writing Straight Out Of Sixth Grade
Why read this:
He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on… Slowly, the fog began to lift… Almost immediately, a heavy fist pounded on Langdon’s door.
His horror now laced with fear… [he] felt the city tear past him as he tried to clear his thoughts… The Citroen navigated the chaos with authority, its dissent, a two-tone siren parting the traffic like a knife. (from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown)
When you could read the eloquence of sentences like this:
As the shooting of the dragon scene dragged on, a peculiar bond formed between the ten of us who made it come alive from within. We were the bones of the beast, it was our blood that circulated through its veins, our breath that fanned the flames from its nostrils. We made the creature move and fight. Through the alchemy of Kino, we became the dragon. The dragon taught me the power of the crew, coming together to make a film like the craftsmen who built cathedrals in the middle ages. Everyone’s contribution, every single detail, was essential. Inside the dragon, we all understood that. But Fritz Lang didn’t know how to marshal the talent at his disposal. In my version of Die Nibelungen, the dragon would have killed that Arschloch Siegfried and eaten his entrails, but Lang was too stupid and too proud of his silly script to see. He didn’t know how to let an idea flourish. Under his rigid dictatorship everything turned into a grotesque, lifeless pageant. Can you understand why the dragon’s preordained fate did not sit well with us? It seemed unfair to stage this tremendous battle and not give the creature a chance. (from Kino by Jürgen Fauth)
2. Pope Baiting
Are you looking to offend your Catholic mother with a conspiracy about the saints and Mary Magdalene? Sorry, you’ll have to try elsewhere.
3. A Blockbuster Hollywood Film, Tom Hanks
Kino‘s still a week from its publication date and already has ardent fans, though none of them appear to be Hollywood film producers, which is for the best. We wouldn’t want to overwhelm our debut novelist with too much at once, or let him grow too large for his britches. However, if anyone with deep pockets in L.A. wants to talk over martinis on Sunset Boulevard, call me. Personally, I think Natalie Portman would make the perfect Mina. In a pinch, I’d take Scarlett Johansson, too.
4. The Mona Lisa
Paintings as inspiration for novels is so early aughts (see Girl With a Pearl Earring, The Da Vinci Code). The new zeitgeist is for cinema to influence one’s novel, especially cinema that doesn’t exist outside the author’s imagination. I know it’s radical and crazy to suggest people use their imaginations while reading. I should probably just sit down and finish all those Real Housewives of Fancy Mansion Lane episodes I’ve been TiVoing.
5. Creepy Albino Monks
I don’t have anything against monks or albinos, but c’mon. Need I say more about this one?
Kino by Jurgen Fauth will be published on April 17, 2012. You can read more about the novel here, check out an interview with the author here, read reviews here, here, and here, and pre-order your copy here. No Albino monks were harmed during the writing or production of Kino.
Dagnabit! My literary thriller features the Mona Lisa. Must be why I can’t find an agent.
What a refreshing bit of public relations!