Suspense Fiction Tips

Suspense fiction is a genre closely akin to mystery fiction but differing in some important aspects. Both involve a cataclysmic situation that threatens the characters’ lives. A mystery opens with a dastardly deed, and we turn the pages out of a desire to learn “who done it” and to see that person brought to justice. In suspense fiction, the threat unfolds gradually. We know who is plotting the mayhem, and we are privy to his or her motivations and plans. We keep reading to find out how our hero or heroine will counteract those plans and avoid what seems like certain calamity.

This fiction genre encompasses a variety of types. Certain big-ticket thrillers, for example. This kind of story has some larger-than-life conspirator(s) plotting against the nation or even the entire world and a strong hero who is the only person with the intellect, skills and courage to save the day. The novels of Vince Flynn, David Baldacci and Robert Ludlum come to mind. Dean Koontz gives his thrillers a unique twist in that many of the characters, hero and foe alike, possess otherworldly and/or fantastical attributes. Otherwise, the basic pattern of suspense is the same.

Then there is romantic suspense in which the romantic relationship shares equal relevance with the heroine’s difficult and dangerous circumstances. Mary Higgins Clark, Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, and Tami Hoag write novels that fit into this subtype.

Another subgenre is the woman-in-jeopardy novel. These stories place an ordinary woman with whom the readers can relate into extraordinary circumstances that pose a threat to her well-being. Joyce Fielding is a master of this type of novel. Two of my novels, Wilt Thou Be Mine and Free Fall are further examples. They are offered for download on this site.

Suspense fiction book cover

Nora Hartmann is struggling to cope with life as a recent widow, a single parent, and a small business owner. The last thing she needs is the unwanted attentions of her neighbor Rudy. As Rudy’s interest deepens into obsession, those close to Nora, including her new lover, begin to suffer — and die. Her continued unequivocal rejection triggers Rudy’s final descent into madness. He sets a trap using Nora’s daughter as bait. Cornered, Nora must summon an arsenal of ingenuity, courage, and fierce resolve to fight for her own life and that of her child.

Best-selling author Leslie Anne Galloway leads the perfect life — until it inexplicably begins to fall apart. Her husband dies. Her pregnancy fails. Her career tanks. Unfortunate coincidence? Or is some unknown enemy working to engineer her downfall? All doubt disappears when an arsonist sets fire to her house and she narrowly escapes two brutal assaults. Since the police are unable to protect her, she must use her own intellect and determination to unmask and thwart an opponent who will not stop until she is brought to the very brink of destruction — and beyond.

A discussion of this genre must acknowledge that in a broader sense, all fiction is suspense fiction because suspense in the abstract is essential to any good story. Uncertain circumstances, conflicted relationships, the hint of an existential threat — these are the things that fuel our desire to keep reading regardless of the book’s genre. Absent curiosity over what will happen next, we quickly lose interest.

It must be noted that romance on some level is also a key ingredient in successful fiction. As a hopeless romantic, I confess that a story without a love interest leaves me feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. I know not everyone shares my predilection to such a high degree. That being said, it has been proven time and again that we humans hunger for love and companionship by our very nature. Any search of available fiction will find few successful stories that do not give a nod to this ingredient, whether as an integral part of the story or as a tangential circumstance. Vive l’amour!

In summary, the suspense fiction genre presents believable, well-drawn characters who find themselves locked in a raging battle between good and evil. If you enjoy this genre, I invite you to download and read my books, after which I would welcome your feedback and reactions. I also invite you to check out my recommendations for other titles that fit this genre. Add your own thoughts and recommendations if you so choose. Together let’s build a bookmate community of suspense fiction lovers.

To see my suspense fiction book recommendations, click on My Suspense Fiction Recommendations

To make a suspense-fiction recommendation of your own, click on Your Suspense Fiction Recommendations

Return from Suspense Fiction to Home