Unpredictability Trumps Predictability in the Best Thriller Novels.
Predictability is not exciting. When someone or something reacts or acts in ways that are expected the need to anticipate is removed. The outcome is known because it is the same every time. However, when someone or something is unpredictable a degree of suspense, even anxiety is added to the circumstances. One readies oneself because the outcome is not known. It could be anything, ranging from rational to irrational; dangerous or safe; dark places or places filled with light; peace or turmoil; happiness or sadness; etc. etc. Who knows? And it is that tendency that makes the best thriller novels fit into that category.
A murderer is always a good source of unpredictability. The mere fact that a killer acts on his on impulses; when the fancy strikes he or she responds accordingly. Thus all spectators have no idea who the life-taker will choose as the next victim. Hence unpredictability. An author who sits down to write the best thriller novel will often add a murderer to the cast of characters.
In “Child 44” the victims are children. Innocent children struck down before they have a chance to dream of a future. The killings span over time and place which makes the killer hard to track. Add to that some interesting Russian history and an instant best-selling thriller novel was born. No one can predict when or where the killer will strike next.
In”A Moving Screen” the victims are women. Young, blonde, fun-loving women struck down before they have a chance to chase their dreams. The killings span over three years and different jurisdictions near Atlanta, Georgia which makes the killer hard to track. Add to this an eyewitness who has no idea what has been witnessed and an instant thriller novel was born. No one can predict when or where the killer will strike next.