by David Ellis
For the last couple of my books, I’ve tried to focus on my strengths in writing. There was a time when I was really into experimenting but then I started to think, why should I experiment on the reader? I wouldn’t want someone to experiment on me.
So instead of trying to write from a female point of view or writing a novel in reverse chronological order, I thought I should go back to the things I was doing when I first got into the business. I figured my strength was writing a thriller with a wise-ass, first-person protagonist.
But while it’s been great fun in most ways, it’s also been challenging. I find a natural tension between humor and suspense. A real edge-of-your-seat, ticking-clock thriller with a laugh on every page? Hard to do. The occasional wise crack from the cool hero? Sure. But sustained humor? It’s a real challenge.
I want a protagonist who sees everything with a jaded view, who internally (to the reader) makes fun of situations and people, who manages to put a humorous spin on everything. But does that really work when said protagonist has only 'til midnight to solve the case, or they execute the innocent man?
So, I ask two things of our good readers. One, if you would please explain to me how to combine these two elements in one novel. In a hundred words or less, with monosyllabic words.
And second, what is your favorite example of the pulsating thriller with lots of laughs?