I'm finishing JD Robb's latest thriller, have started The Manchurian Candidate circa 1959, have a John Mackie, and a David Baldacci waiting to be read. All this is helping me to get an historical and current feel for the thriller market. And yes- in the final semester there is an academic thesis paper due on the genre, it's history, it's future and where your work fits.
I've never studied genre fiction in this way... I find it interesting... and a bit odd. Cheers!