'CORE' Best Lists
- Top 25 Best Mystery Books
- The Top 100 Mystery Books
- Best Mystery Audiobooks
- Best Mystery Books of Fall 2018
- Best Mystery Books of 2017
- Best Mystery Books of 2016
- Best Mystery Books of 2015
- Best Mystery Series
- Best Mystery Stand Alones
- Best Modern Mystery Books
- Best Indie Mystery Books
- Best Classic Mystery Books
- Underrated Mystery Books
'ERA' Best Lists
'GENRE' Best Lists
- Best Legal Mystery Books
- Best Police Procedural Books
- Best Mystery Thriller Books
- Best Mystery Suspense Books
- Best Whodunit Mystery Books
- Best True Crime Books
- Best Mystery Thriller Books
- Best Amateur Detective Books
- Best Private Investigator Books
- Best Hard Boiled Mystery Books
- Best Literary Mystery Books
- Best Cozy Mystery Books
- Best Supernatural Mystery Books
- Best Historical Mystery Books
- Best Fantasy Mystery Books
- Best Science Fiction Mystery Books
- Best Romantic Mystery Books
'AUDIENCE' Best Lists
- Best Mystery Books for Women
- Best Mystery Books by Female Authors
- Best Young Adult Mystery Books
- Best Mystery Books for Children
'FILM' Best Lists
'COMICS' Best Lists
The Suspense Genre
What is the Suspense Genre?
Suspense is the feeling that something bad is going to happen. In fiction, it's the slow growth of uneasiness that the reader feels over the outcome of the book and the fate of the main character. Many times in suspense, the reader is aware of things that the character is not, which allows the reader to feel anxiety over something happening in the future.
Suspense could be categorized as it's own genre rather than a simple subgenre of Mystery. Suspense is often categorized along with Thrillers, but there are differences. Either way, you'll often find Mytery, Suspence, and Thrillers in the same asile of the book store and all three genres often include elements of each other.
- Level of Characterization
The characters can be full realized or cardboard. Characters must be likable though as no one particularly cares if the unliked main character dies or not..
- Level of Plot
Suspense is a function of plot, since suspense is all about the conflict in the story. Will the main character get what he/she wants, or will the character fall short of the desired outcome?
- Level of Mystery
The novel may have some mystery which needs to be solved, but the mystery may end early or may be revealed to the reader early on.
- Level of Suspense
well, of course!
- Level of Thriller
There may be some thriller elements in the book, such as the villain or the stakes for the outcome.
- Level of Strangeness
Probably not as much as other subgenres. Part of suspense is relating to the danger at hand. So the fear has to be something recognizable.
- Level of Violence
Violence may be a part of the suspense, especially if death is a possible outcome for the main character.
- Level of Action
The action runs high in a suspense novel. There has to be palatable acts that threaten the main characters for the suspense to be held.
- Degree of Thriller, Suspense, Crime, or Mystery in the Suspense Subgenre
This definitely falls squarely under the suspense category. There may be thriller type elements in the use of the antagonist or the stakes if the characters fail. The book is unlikely to be crime fiction, though the book may be a mystery if there is a strong element of whodunit with the suspense in the book.
Related MYSTERY Subgenres
Suspense isn't for you IF...
like series characters (since the reader will know that the protagonist lives through each adventure)
- 1 And Then There Were None
By Agatha Christie. One by one, people on an island are dying off, but who is killing them and why?
- 2 Gone Girl
By Gillian Flynn. The story of a bad marriage and the disappearance that follows.
- 3 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
By John LeCarre. A Cold War spy novel where the stakes slowly grow as the entire espionage department is suspected of being a mole.
- 4 A Dark Adapted Eye
By Barbara Vine. A family custody battle goes horribly awry.
- 5 The Black Echo
By Michael Connelly. Bosch has to solve the murder of a fellow Vietnam Vet.
- 6 Killing Floor
By Lee Child. The debut novel by Child introduces Jack Reacher who travels the country righting wrongs.
- 7 Shutter Island
By Dennis Lehane. The happenings at a mental institution slowly build until the reader doubts everyone.
- 8 Strangers on a Train
By Patricia Highsmith. Two men joke about committing a murder for the other, but one of them takes it seriously.
- 9 The Postman Always Rings Twice
By James M. Cain. The noir master writes about a young hot wife and the man she finds to help her kill her husband.
- 10 The Fiend
By Margaret Millar. The story of two girls and a possible molester.
- Twins (Bari Wood)
- Misery (Stephen King)
- Betrayal (Clare Francis)
- The Fiend (Margaret Millar)
- Sleepyhead (Mark Billingham)
- Malice (Griffin Hayes)