The Mom Thriller: Motherhood on the Edge

Schmidt-Cruz, Cynthia
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The Journal of Popular Culture
“A New Crop of Mom Thrillers Taps Into Our Worst Fears” proclaims an essay by Jen Gann published in February 2018. While trolling for information about crime fiction from the mother’s perspective, Gann’s captivating essay about motherhood-themed thrillers sent this researcher on a quest for more examples of this seemingly new subgenre. The sleuthing paid off, yielding a rich and varied trove of “mom thrillers,” most published in recent years. Despite the growing popularity of the genre, a search for a definition or critical discussion of the “mom thriller” came up empty. In the hopes of beginning to fill this gap in scholarship, this article examines the image of contemporary motherhood projected by this intriguing subgenre, considering how it employs and disrupts generic conventions to deliver its message.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Schmidt-Cruz, C. (2022), The Mom Thriller: Motherhood on the Edge. J Pop Cult, 55: 820-841., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited. This article will be embargoed until 08/18/2024.
Schmidt-Cruz, C. (2022), The Mom Thriller: Motherhood on the Edge. J Pop Cult, 55: 820-841.