Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The 'The X Y' thriller book titles

Looking through my list of books on Goodreads and thinking about some of the other books I have seen and read there is a clear trend in thriller books to have titles along the lines of The X Y where X is usually a name, proper noun or (for the more adventurous) a greek letter and Y is a regular noun.

Examples off the top of my head: The Rembrandt Secret by Alex Connor, The Roswell Conspiracy by Boyd Morrison and of course all the Bourne and Jansen books by Robet Ludlum (and Eric von Lustbader).

At first glance this looks like a fairly lazy way of choosing book titles - you could (and I'm sure someone has) write a computer generator to create endless titles in this format. This leads to a certain perception of sameness between all of these books - both in quality and content - that might me misleading.

But the other side of that is that essentially you know what you are getting. These books are not going to win any literature awards but the reader immediately knows they will get a plot where there is a perceiptible threat and the chisel jawed hero (for it is invariably a male lead) must then use the skills and integuity he has learnt either from some sort of military, special forces or espionage training to overcome the odds to win through, saving the day.

So although the title may seem like it's an easy cop-out, it is a very good way of indicating what you will get. It is however no guarantee of quality, but that's true of any title.


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