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January 25, 2014


Canadian Apprentice

Can you please cite in a separate post, and maybe say a few words about, recent heist novels? It's a sub-genre that greatly interests me and I've been thinking, on and off these last few years, about writing one. It sounds like you'd advise that I shouldn't bother?

[I already have two thriller manuscripts that I haven't been able to interest any agent in, or get published, and don't wish to have a third.]

Current heist novel practitioners I can think of are the Australian Garry Disher, with his Wyatt character, and Wallace Stroby with his Crissa Stone character. Both seem too much like Parker clones to me, but with less character and distinctiveness than Parker (especially Wyatt). Stone is also a bit contradictory, IMO.

If I wrote a heist novel, I'd go for a different kind of thief, a reluctant one who goes back to heisting as a one off, because he has to, perhaps to help a friend in serious trouble. He would be a thief with character and taste -- and, unlike all the Parker clones, one who doesn't love guns and has never shot anyone in his life!

In your opinion, does this scenario have any "legs"?

AGATHO RESPONDS: It is tough to answer questions like this, because so much of any manuscript depends on the execution. I think your best bet is to attend a convention, such as ThrillerFest, where you can sign up for agent pitch sessions. Agents know what editors are looking for; you'd benefit more from getting feedback from several agents rather than my single subjective opinion.

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