Similar yet Different

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:

Advance Praise for Indelible
“Buchanan’s narrative is well-paced, flying right along. . . . the author has delivered an exciting beginning to an intriguing series.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

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


27 thoughts on “Similar yet Different

  1. 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.
    When there’s no pandemic, I usually read a lot of historical fiction and biography.

  2. 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!

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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)


  9. 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. 🙂


  10. 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 .

  11. 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! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.