David Morrell is often considered the father of the modern action thriller. He revels in that identification, and action sequences are clearly his greatest strength. His novels set a relentless pace and are filled with chase scenes, violent confrontations, and a large body count. Morrell continually tries to speed the pacing of his novels. His prose, especially since the mid-1990’s, has been stripped to the bare essentials to keep the story moving. His chapters are short and often end with cliffhangers. Morrell’s success with action novels has helped usher in an age of hyper-fast thrillers that make the spy novels of the 1980’s look slow.
Morrell’s works are generally not acclaimed by literary critics, as is typical of plot-driven novels, but his books consistently make best-seller lists and his readers are enthusiastic. It is telling that when thriller writers started organizing themselves, they immediately invited Morrell to help. He sat on the steering committee that formed the International Thriller Writers and was elected copresident. Within that community, his work is highly regarded.