There’s nothing I love more in a book than a mystery to solve, a ticking clock, and a life in peril. I remember picking up my first Dan Brown book, Digital Fortress. I devoured it in one sitting. Prior to reading Brown’s books, I’d been a fantasy and romance reader. It was exciting to add the suspense/thriller genre to my must-read list.

What is suspense? To qualify, the story needs a protagonist attempting to overcome an obstacle. And those obstacles should get bigger and badder as the tale progresses. The elements of surprise and danger are key.

Current television proves the popularity of suspense. Viewers love shows like CSI, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and Dexter. Stakes are always high, and we are always surprised. We find something about the protagonist(s) that keeps us watching and predicting. Even if the integrity of the protagonist is questionable, we stay engaged—like not being able to look away from a train wreck.

I look forward to reading more New Adult suspense novels. I love characters in this stage of life because they give us fresh perspectives. A twenty-one-year-old female officer solving a crime may be more of a risk-taker and less experienced. Her challenges will be different than the forty-five-year-old cop who has served on the force for twenty years. She may use cutting edge technology and be less conservative.

In the past, commercial fiction writers may have shied away from a twenty-year-old protagonist in a novel. We were told it was a no-man’s land for character age. Current authors have an opportunity like never before. But it’s not a case of write it, and they will come. Readers drive this market.

Have you read a New Adult suspense novel this year?


Post a Comment

  1. Oh, Brinda... you had me at Sons of Anarchy. LOL Great post!

    The closest I've read this year would probably be Leverage by Nancy S. Thompson or You by Caroline Kepnes. Neither are categorized as true NA—or suspense alone, for that matter—but they straddle the lines. :)

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    1. @Carrie- I'm a huge SOA fan. I can't wait to see how this season ends. I'll have to look for those novels you've read. Thanks!

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  2. I haven't read much suspense in general, let alone NA... but recommendations would be great! What are some NA novels we could look at?

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    1. @Delancey- My favorite NA romantic suspense find this year is the Hitman series (Last Hit and Last Breath) by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick. If you don't care for romance and want more of a psychological thriller, you might try The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Readers who love Gone Girl will like it. Honestly, it's tough to find NA romantic suspense because the novels haven't been tagged as such in the past.

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  3. I haven't read a lot of suspense either! I'd love recommendations as well.

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    1. @spajonas- In this post, I used the term suspense broadly for suspense/mystery/thriller, etc. Many of my favorites cross genres. The books I mentioned above are great. I've read a few of Cambria Hebert's books that are NA romantic suspense. I'll reply again when more titles pop into my head. I need to make a list!

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  5. Dan Brown is definitely a master of suspense. His books have kept me up well past my bedtime many nights. I love that suspense can be anything in a story--not just a thrill ride. Suspense is a tactic that keeps readers turning pages.

    I've heard there are some good NA suspense stories out there right now. One day I'll have time to check them out. :)

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    1. Hi PK- I've read all Brown's books. :) I need more hours in the day to read all on my TBR list.

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  6. Ah, and today is Tuesday, and a new SOA episode. Too bad this is their last season.

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    1. They have great hooks on that show for each episode and the season. I think writers can learn a lot from SOA. I'll be watching!

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  7. I love escalating tension--in any genre. But it's great when the entire plot revolves around it! Suspense and thrillers, like the Bourne books, are awesome and I hope we see more authors explore it in NA. YA has slowly embraced it, and I think NA would be a great place for some rookie cop stories, etc. :)

    Great post, B!

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