I write in a lot of genres, and while suspense isn’t one of them (yet!) I absolutely love to read it.
So what do I think makes a good suspense read? Here are my top three tips:
- Having a fabulous twist. A strong twist that surprises the reader can turn a good suspense book into a great one. One of my favourite YA Suspense of recent-ish years is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart for this very reason! I finished the book very quickly, but was left thinking of that twist for weeks afterward.
- Having a strong element of mystery. Sounds pretty basic, right? But sometimes the mystery in a plot can become too predictable, the answers all too obvious. One book I’ve read recently that does the opposite and left me absolutely hanging out to find out who did it was One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus. What an excellent read! I loved it so much and don’t know if I’ve ever been so desperate to turn a page.
- Having strong characters. You can have the best mystery in the world, the most surprising twist, but if you don’t create characters that are believable, likeable, and endearing, no one will care what happens to them and your suspense will fall flatter than a sat-upon pancake.
They’re just a few things I think are crucial to a good suspense read–what about you?
Lauren K. McKellar is the author of romance reads that make you feel. You can say hi to her over on Facebook here.