Oh, it’s such fun when there’s a new word. LOL was just okay’ed by the OED. And OMG, right? And a few dozen others entered the list of acceptable and now-useable-in-educated-society words.
But here’s a new one that’s now making the rounds in mystery-thriller world: Thrillzie.
From what I can glean, a thrillzie is sort of an amalgam of thriller-plus-cozy. A word to describe a book that has thriller aspects, but isn’t sexy or bloody or gory or violent or over the top. Like a cozy. A cozy thriller, you see? A thrillzie.
So whaddaya think? My first reaction was to laugh. The evolution of genres is so interesting to watch—and even more interesting to be part of. Who’d have thought in addition to mystery and thriller and paranormal and chick lit and mom lit and hen lit and “literary fiction” and the newly-cool “a novel of suspense” that there’d be steampunk, and zombie-lit, and…what else is there? And I do admit, I’ve wondered, with our ever-increasing need to “label” every genre, if there could be a cozy thriller.
It's a tempting title. And certainly a tempting genre. (Ray Benson has just written the charming and adorable novel, The Black Stiletto. Ray, would you call it a thrillzie?)
And isn’t there a market, say, for a fast-paced, action-filled, high-stakes high tension, excitingly-finished (I’m not going to say climaxed) novel about a smart, competent, clever and tough heroine?
What would you call that? Romancing the Stone, a movie, I know, that’s a thrillzie if I ever saw one. (And I bet I’ve seen lots of them.) What would I have called “Romancing” if I didn’t have the word thrillzie? What other moves and books are there that would fill that slot? My own DRIVE TIME, I bet, could be in that category. Would I want that? Hmmm.
We all just got over the controversy about “cozy,” remember? (Just call them: traditional.) And though many readers and writers embraced cozy, it does have just a bit of condescension attached. Doesn’t it? It now means—cute, and crafty, and a book with no, um, unpleasantness of any kind. And “cozy” certainly telegraphs “written by a woman.”
But how about a Spenser for Hire book? Robert B. Parker (and we miss him every day) didn’t do sex and violence—in fact, part of the wonderfulness (oh, Microsoft Word isn’t liking that word, and is underlining it in red) of his books is how UN-graphic the sex and violence is. Which makes it even sexier. Right?
To give something such a diminutive name—and thrillzie certainly is, along with cutie and kittie and I don’t know, schatzie--is that a diminution of the value? Like: easy peazie? Or is it something to kiss on both cheeks and welcome into the family of writing?
I just Googled it, and “thrillzie” is not there. So we’re definitely in on the cutting edge. (OMG.)
And now Microsoft Word is bugging me about using thrillzie. Underlining it in red. I just clicked on “add to dictionary.” And so it goes. Will you be adding it to yours?