Thriller is a wide-ranging genre of fast-paced adventure stories. The thriller subgenres vary according to the protagonist's profession; they can be legal, medical, technical, political, spy, and other. The protagonist uses her professional expertise to extricate herself from a precarious situation.
The setting can be realistic or supernatural; historical, contemporary, or future. The jargon associated with each profession is an important element in the stories. Characterization is commonly secondary to the plot, which is gripping, convoluted, and action-packed.
Thriller shares characteristics with mystery, but the essential difference is that, while the mystery protagonist has to uncover the identity of the villain, the thriller protagonist tries to thwart the villain and save the day. This Book Country blog post elaborates on the differences between thrillers and mysteries.
The thriller subgenres seen here reflect most, but not all, of what's being published today. Book Country's genre map will continue to change as new literary categories emerge and others fall out of fashion. If you write thriller, explore the different subgenres to connect with other like-minded writers, workshop, and publish your book.