Saturday, July 21, 2012

Do thrillers always need to play on a large canvas, or can an intimate story thrill?

            What matters isn't the size of the canvas, but the quality of the story.  That's as true in a novel as it is in a painting.  In the end it all comes down to how much we care about the fate of the participants, and that's always personal, whether we're talking about War and Peace or one individual's personal story.

            I think my courtroom thriller A QUESTION OF PROOF is a good example of a very personal story that grips the reader.  One reviewer, in fact, called it a masterpiece of suspense, yet the fate of all mankind does not rest on the outcome, only the fate of one woman and the happiness of one man.  It's the story of a disillusioned, burned-out lawyer and the woman he defends against the charge that she murdered her husband, a powerful newspaper publisher.  Not only is the lawyer in love with the woman, but he desperately wants to know that he is finally defending one person at least that he can truly believe is innocent -- his happiness depends on both answers.  But is she innocent?  What really happened? 

The lives of the people at the center of the novel are what make for a great story – and how much we care about them.


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