by Josh Getzler
Agentfest was, as anticipated, fascinating. I met with more than thirty writers in 2 1/2 hours yesterday, and as always came out of it with an admittedly self-selecting and small sample-sized idea of What Folks Are Writing These Days.
1) Lots of financial thrillers. People in banks, businesses, large corporations dealing with financial malfeasance and conspiracy. Which is just fine with me!
2) Somewhat unusual settings, frequently dealing with jungles in South America and Africa.
3) Still a TON of terrorism stories, mostly dealing with Islamists and the CIA. More often than before they're set in the US, and frequently have Muslim-Americans as the antagonists. These blend together, frankly, and need to be beyond-super in order to have a chance.
4) More YA thrillers--a good thing, in my opinion. Very fertile ground.
Now, for the other side: what I didn't see:
1) Nazis. Almost a complete absence of WW2 books.
2) Old-fashioned Spy novels. These days, it's mostly CIA agents or ex-CIA, often disgraced or alcoholic and not smooth or suave. Which is a shame--the new kind isn't as sexy as the old.
3) I didn't see any romantic suspense at all. Very few female protags, which, in my mind, is a real shame. There were several people who pitched me where I would have been a lot more excited if their protag had been a badass woman than a middle aged depressed guy.
As always, I was impressed and heartened by the general good cheer exhibited by the authors--everyone showed up with a smile and a handshake, and there was little grumbling over waiting time. Thanks to all the organizers for your hard work, and to the authors for your patience and perseverance.