I didn't finish Andrew Gross's The Dark Tide. Again, I think it comes back to characterization--I didn't know that was so important to me until I started reading thrillers. Other genre fiction, like Romance, Mystery, and Sci Fi, in my experience often have fewer narrators and main players and spend more time describing their thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
As far as the other appeal elements in The Dark Tide, the tone is sad, scary, mysterious, hopeful. I'd call it a fast-paced international financial thriller, and story line themes include oil importing, investing, cargo docks, business vs. muscle and intimidation, working in and beyond the police department, sailing, upper-class life in Greenwich, CT, guilt, losing loved ones, and the emotional toll of one's child at risk.
I started the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge to familiarize myself with the genre, but I may have to read more mysteries than I had initially intended. Psychological suspense also tends to explore characters more in depth.
I'll do some research, too, but does anyone have recommendations or know of lists of thrillers with strong characterization?