Have you ever noticed a suspicious car drive up to a station while pumping gas? You watch the driver emerge from his vehicle, glance around, and put his hands in his pockets. As he slinks into the building, you make a note in your phone about what he looks like, the color and make of the car, and as much of the license plate number as you can see. You look at your watch, carefully noting the time and date. You’ll watch the news later to see if you need to contact the police. It’s not the first time you’ve done this.
If your phone is filled with such notes, then you, my friend, are one of us. We love a good mystery or suspense/thriller story. We grew up with Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, if you’re my age, and Theodore Boone, Boxcar Children, and Encyclopedia Brown among others if you’re younger.
Older now, our choices have increased exponentially! Now we can choose anything from a cozy mystery to a hard-boiled detective story, horrific suspense to romantic suspense. Or anything in between. Many of us don’t know the difference, and that’s one of the things we’re going to talk about here. Genres.
In general, in a mystery story, something happens that isn’t fully explained until the end. A person is murdered in the beginning of the book. If it’s written well, clues will be hidden throughout the novel as to the killer, but we don’t know for sure who did it till the book is almost over. While there’s usually plenty of action, the emphasis is on solving the puzzle.
A suspense/thriller book lets us know who the villain is right from the start. The excitement is less cerebral and more visceral as our hearts beat faster with every word. We follow breathlessly as our hero and/or heroine tries to stay one step ahead of death, or get to the bomb before it goes off. Here, the action is central to the story.
Let’s start sharing our favorite authors. For decades, I’ve feasted on the writings of Agatha Christie, Elizabeth George, Tony Hillerman, DiAnn Mills, Lynette Eason, John Le Carre’, Jeffery Deaver, and J.A. Jance to name but a few.
Who are some of your favorite mystery/suspense/thriller writers?
I enjoy reading mystery and suspense, but I’ll leave the writing to someone else.
Hey, that’s fine! I love reading it too. Who are some of your favorites?
Congratulations on launching your website! After reading your intro I may be a mystery writer. I’ve noted vehicle descriptions, tag, time etc. Also after 9/11 I contacted the FBI about suspicious activity at RDU Airport.😀. I have that agent’s name & number in my contacts. You never know….😎
Wow, Daphne. An FBI agent on speed dial! Now that’s exciting! Did anything come of the suspicious activity at RDU airport? All I saw when I went through there was a flock of sparrows—inside!
What fun, Deborah! I love talking all things mystery/suspense! I grew up with Nancy Drew as well, and one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was Scooby Doo, as the crew always had to solve a mystery. My reading preferences are Lynette Eason, Lynn Blackburn, Dani Pettrey, DiAnn Mills, Terri Blackstock, and so many more than I’m forgetting to add. I love to read, and once I discovered this genre through Dee Henderson’s books, I was hooked. Looking forward to lots of fun discussions here. -Hope
Me too! I must admit that my reading habits until just a few years ago did not include Christian writers. So while I also enjoy all the ones you mentioned, I have many favorites from secular writers as well.
Agatha Christie is still the Queen for me. I love how well developed her characters are, even a parlormaid who only appears for one or two paragraphs has a distinctive name and voice.
I started out reading Christie when I was very young, and I agree. But what I love most about her books are the convoluted stories. She always offers her readers a myriad of viable suspects.
My favorite overall is Mary Higgins Clark. But I also enjoy Lynette Eason, Lynn Blackburn, DiAnn Mills, and Dani Pettrey. I look forward to reading your book.
I’ve enjoyed some of Mary Higgins Clark as well. Her stories are good, clean, and edged with suspense.
Hope you enjoy my debut novel, Deadly Guardian. Sure enjoyed our time together at MurderCon!