There are a myriad of subgenres of thriller, with new ones being invented all the time.  Here are a few of the subgenres, with sample books.  Most of the subgenres will cross over into other subgenres.
Treasure Chest

Action-Adventure Thriller

Treasure hunt, search for a lost archeological site, the world's lost meteorite, a mystery lost to time--action-adventure brings back our childhood fantasies of being the adventurer.  This is also one of the hardest subgenres of thriller to write because of the amount of action required.


Disaster Thriller

Any kind of disaster that can affect lots of people--a dam bursting, a tornado sweeping through Los Angeles, a luxury cruise liner sinking ...
Knight in armor

Historical Thriller

Thrillers set in the past, usually combined with other subgenres.  This particular subgenre is rather uncommon.

Medical Thriller

Robin Cook introduced us to the medical thriller, where modern medical technology that is supposed to help people is morphed into something deadly.

Cross and Bible

Religious Thriller

Popularized by the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, this subgenre uses the rich and long history of religion to build stories with high stakes and deadly politics.
Law Enforcement

Serial Killer Thriller

This is an extremely popular subgenre of thriller.  In this subgenre, a serial killer is terrorizing a group of people with horrific violence.  The detective's goal is to stop the killer before he takes his next victim.

Techno Thriller

When people talk about thriller, the first thing they usually think of is a techno thriller like Tom Clancy's books.  In techno-thrillers, the technology drives the plot, whether it's new military technology for a submarine or forensics.



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Emory Hackman

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