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What the Heck Is an Erotic Thriller?

January 12, 2021

I read a lot, but I’m not familiar with every writer out there, so when I heard/read that author Eric Jerome Dickey died last week, I wondered… what kind of stuff did he write?


Bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, whose novels depicted romance, erotica and suspense from the Black perspective, including Milk in My CoffeeSleeping with Strangers and Friends and Lovers, has died. He was 59.

He died in Los Angeles on Jan. 3 after a long illness, his longtime publicist confirmed Tuesday.

His publisher, Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, referred to the popular writer as “an iconic author and friend” on social media.

Read more at Popular Author Eric Jerome Dickey Dies After Long Illness. He Was 59.


Other book sites refer to Eric Jerome Dickey’s books not as erotica, but as erotic… ahem… thrillers. It’s not unusual for me to be unfamiliar with popular authors, but I usually have some basic knowledge of genres, and I know almost nothing about the erotic… ahem… thriller genre.

So I have a few questions. When you’re reading an erotic… ahem… thriller, what’s more important, the thriller/mystery/suspense or the eroticism? Do readers skip through the mystery to get to the erotica? Or do readers skip through the erotica to get to the mystery/suspense? Or are they both equally great?

Is the erotic thriller supposed to be a step above straight up erotica? Do people who read erotic… ahem… thrillers look down upon those who read erotica? Or is vice-versa?

To be fair, this Dickey author found a genre and seemed to have been pretty successful in it. Those are the dream accomplishments for a lot of authors, finding their niches and their audiences. Good job, Eric Jerome Dickey!

I don’t know what an erotic… ahem… thriller is, and I’m not going to start reading them, but I respect a guy who finds his/her own genre.


Enough about me! What do you think? What’s more important in an erotic thriller, the eroticism or the mystery/suspense/thriller? What genres/sub-genres are you unfamiliar with?

  1. I suppose an erotic thriller would be a story of a woman who finds that she’s pregnant and tries to discover the father in a riveting and page turning whodunnit mistery.

  2. This instantly made me think of the time when George Costanza was able to mix sex and pastrami (the most sensual of the meats), but then ruined it when he tried to incorporate his other favorite thing: TV. He got greedy. (“Like flying too close to the sun on wings of pastrami.”)

    • I like the idea that it’s “greedy” to mix erotica with suspense.

      I’ve read good suspense novels, but I’ve never read good erotica. Would the erotica drag down the suspense, or does the suspense lift up the erotica?

  3. Erotic thrillers are great! It’s the balance that matters most. You want to keep the heart rate up throughout the whole work. The…adult fun time…builds suspense because it gives the protagonist more vulnerability. I write comedic horror and sci-fi smut (a sub-set of weird fiction), and we (in the genre) pull a lot from erotic thrillers.

    • “I write comedic horror and sci-fi smut (a sub-set of weird fiction), and we (in the genre) pull a lot from erotic thrillers.”-

      Thank you for the explanation. I might have to write a blog post titled “What the Heck Is Comedic Horror?”

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