It's happened to all of us: there you are, innocently reading your current spine-tingling mystery when wham! Out of nowhere something really disturbing happens. Maybe it's when the story dips into gratuitous violence, or when the child is kidnapped or the animal is tortured ... but whatever it is, you're left feeling nauseous.
Unlike with movies or TV shows, readers don't always get the same cues that something unnerving like this is going to happen. There is no sinister music or threatening glances that warn us of the impending depravity. And books aren't rated, so we can't know that if what's between the covers is closer to PG-13 or R or X. Plus, we can't fast-forward (effectively at least) through the too-gory or disturbing bits and pick up the storyline again very easily.
I love reading mystery and suspense books. I love the way that they give my brain a workout and I enjoy solving the puzzles and putting together the details. But I don't love overly-violent novels where the violence is described in painstaking detail. And I won't read books that deal with child abduction or torture of kids or animals.
On the other hand, I'm also not a huge fan of cozy mysteries. I like gritty and real ... just not too gritty, I guess.
That's why I thought it might be fun to cover some really great, suspenseful novels that are excellently-written here on the blog. I'm looking for a great name for this series, so if you have a suggestion, please let me know. "Suspense for Sensitive Readers" is the temporary name and ties in well with the tagline for my books, "Suspense that turns pages, not stomachs."
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite suspense books--present or past--or any authors that you think do an excellent job of writing compelling, edge-of-your-seat stories. Just as in movies, I think it's what is left out that is often scarier than what's shown.
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