If you’re a fan of reading books with white-knuckle, adrenalin-pumping storylines, you might be under the impression that some of those genre category titles are interchangeable. Interestingly, they’re similar yet different:
THRILLER — The s/hero must thwart an enemy’s plans rather than uncover a crime that has already happened.
MYSTERY — The reader doesn’t know “who done it” until the end.
SUSPENSE — The reader knows “who done it,” but the book’s characters don’t find out until the end.
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER — The main character usually experiences a “dissolving sense of reality.”
CRIME — The focus of the storyline is on a criminal who must be apprehended.
POLICE PROCEDURAL — The emphasis is on the procedures used by law enforcement to solve the crime.
My publisher categorized my next book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, in the following three genres:
SERIAL KILLER THRILLER — The s/hero must thwart a serial killer’s plans and possibly uncover previous crimes during their current quest.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR MYSTERY — The reader and the PI see many of the puzzle’s pieces, but the full “picture on the box” isn’t revealed until the end.
SUSPENSE THRILLER — A exhilarating one-two punch that combines the reader’s knowledge of “who done it,” with the un-knowing s/hero’s efforts to thwart the antagonist’s plans.
What’s your favorite book genre?
Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One
Release Date: April 6, 2021
I have been reading more what I have been calling “mystery” during the pandemic because it is good escapist fare. Some of those books would probably have been broken down into the categories above. I didn’t think about that. I just want a good story! Recently my co-workers and I at the library were asked what our favourite genres were and several of them mentioned “grip lit,” which I’d never heard of before. It sounds like a combination of some of the above. Here is what Writer’s Digest had to say. https://www.writersdigest.com/publishing-insights/grip-lit-five-elements-story-must-include-youre-writing-next-gone-girl
When there’s no pandemic, I usually read a lot of historical fiction and biography.
Arlene — “Grip Lit” is a new term to me too. And you’re right, this pandemic has definitely triggered lots of “escapist fare” reading. I like that term! 🙂
It’s a toss up as I love to read : politics, social systems, psychology, history , memoir, literary fiction , biography. Really like so many, I find exotica boring and fantasy interesting. Too many books too little time!
Patricia — “Too many books too little time” is right! 🙂
Thrillers leave me with too much blood pumping to sleep. But how exciting to have the skills to put such together! Right now I’m reading The Reckoning by John Grisham and I’m calling that a mystery because I don’t know how it ends and he flip flops the action in an interesting way. But I have a tough time reading parts of it before bed. 🙂
Melodie — I agree. Reading a nail-biter before bed isn’t a good plan. But they’re a great way to get the adrenaline pumping before cleaning the house! 🙂
You have all the bases covered with your next books promoted in three genres, Laurie.
Up to now, I have stuck to memoirs because I enjoy reading them. At the moment, I’m enjoying Michelle Obama’s bio Becoming. However, recently I have joined a book club in which many members offer books in fantasy, paranormal, and all the shades of thriller and suspense you mention above. I guess you’d say I’m venturing out of my comfort zone, which I will continue to do with your next book’s publication. Thanks for the clarification here! 🙂
Marian — I love Michelle Obama. I haven’t read “Becoming” yet, but it’s near the top of my to-read pile and I’m really looking forward to it! 🙂
I’ve been reading Harlan Coben lately. He is described as a write of ‘mystery and thrillers.’ All I know is I texted my son: “Holy cow! Have you read any Harlen Coben?” His response: “Oh yeah! So many twists and turns!” Harlan is, obviously, in great company with you, Laurie!
LoisaJay — Oh, yes. Harlan Coben is an excellent thriller writer! His stories are nail-biters! 🙂
Congratulations on your Kirkus review! I actually enjoy all types of the genre’s (thanks for distinctions). I love a storyline that also brings in a technical dimension, i.e. forensic or anthropological (thrillers, mystery suspense). I can’t wait for your book to arrive!
Audrey — I’m a sucker for forensics. I keep a book titled FORENSIC SPEAK: HOW TO WRITE REALISTIC CRIME DRAMAS by Jennifer Dornbush, next to my desk. It’s extreeeeeeemly interesting! 🙂
Ooh! I may have to check that out.
I love psychological thrillers, but enjoy all others too. Best of luck with your novel. 👍
Fatima — There are two authors on your side of the pond (Robert Bryndza and Keith Houghton) who write AMAZING psychological thrillers. If you haven’t read their work, I highly recommend it! 🙂
Thanks for the advice. I will look them up. 👍
I can dive into all genres mentioned here. Wishing you great success with your new book Laurie.
Laurie, I didn’t know all that! You know anything more exciting than a cookbook makes it hard for me to sleep at night, so I tend to historical fiction, beach reads, books on gardening and humor. I have claw marks in the ceiling from things that “Go bump in the night”, I fhad to ind find less chilling ways to relax! But my Library is chock-full of Mysteries and Thrillers that are on constant rotation so I know how tremendously popular they are. Congrats and Good Luck with the new baby, Indelible.
Sandi — You made me laugh out loud with your “claw marks in the ceiling” comment! And I know we share a love for Dorothea Benton Frank and those types of authors. 🙂
All those plus historical fiction. But I haven’t read much historical fiction in the past several years. I especially love stories set during major wars. (Am Rev, Civil, Napoleonic, WW I, WWII)
Chris — I just learned something new about you. I didn’t know you have an affinity for love stories set during major wars! How cool is that?! 🙂
Uh, didn’t mean I like “love stories” set during wars. Meant to say I “love” reading “stories set during major wars.” [and I call myself a writer. Can’t even make myself understood. 😦 ] That said, it’s hard to not be interested in a wartime love story. ALways makes for great drama. 🙂
Chris — I’m grinning from ear to ear! 🙂
I love psychological thrillers . I like to get into the head of the baddie . What makes them tick interests me . Equally I love something to make me smile , something simple . Alexander McCall Smith ticks all those boxes for me , especially The Ladies Detective agency …perfect for this year of madness .
Cherry — When I want something light, I love The Ladies Detective agency, too. 🙂
I can’t go past a good historical romance, or any genre which has a historical context for that matter. I recently read and enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson which is described as being in the crime, mystery, thriller and Nordic noir genres, and I plan on reading more of the series. So I guess I enjoy several genres! 🙂
Joanne — Yes, indeed. It sounds like you are a “brancher outer.” 🙂