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Romantic suspense without serial killers/madmen/terrorists?
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:02 pm    Post subject: Romantic suspense without serial killers/madmen/terrorists? Reply with quote

Mark's question about too much evil made me think of this. I always liked Romantic Suspense of the Mary Stewart/Barbara Michaels variety, where the villains were recognizably human. These days, all the Romantic Suspense I come across seems to feature over-the-top pathological villains. Either that or the heroes have to be some sort of Special Forces.

Can anyone suggest some Romantic Suspense that keeps both the good guys and the bad guys human? Or is that hopelessly old-fashioned?
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1374

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think many older books by JAK/AQ, Garwood, Laurens, and probably others would qualify. I sometimes refer to them as light suspense.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda Howard (Cry No More, Kiss me While I Sleep, After the Night, Death Angel)

Pamela Clare's romantic suspense books

Some of Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb (Northern Lights, for example)
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
Pamela Clare's romantic suspense books

I don't know about Clare - I really like the I-team books (for the most part), but I'm not sure all of them fit Jane's request. I think some of the villains might skirt the pathological, over the top line for her (Hard Evidence), and Breaking Point's hero is former special ops. But I agree it's worth a shot.

Jill Sorenson could be a good choice - I've only read The Edge of Night, but it didn't have some sort of supervillain (though the villain does do some nasty things) and the hero is a young cop, no special forces or anything of the kind. I haven't read a lot of romantic suspense, but I get the sense that Sorenson tends to include characters and settings that aren't very common in romantic suspense. After finishing the I-team books, I started looking for more authors to read and ran across quite a few of the special forces=superhero types, and TEoN was definitely a breath of fresh air in that respect. The secondary romance is fantastic, though (spoiler) it doesn't end with an HEA or even an HFN.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose what I should have mentioned is that the reason I avoid the serial killers/psychopaths/terrorists etc. is the gore and detailed grisliness. Suspense is one thing. Nightmares is another. I prefer books that will let me sleep at night.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
I prefer books that will let me sleep at night.

Sleep is highly overrated. Very Happy
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MEK



Joined: 09 Dec 2010
Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda Howard's Kill and Tell is now out on Kindle. It fits your criteria.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
I suppose what I should have mentioned is that the reason I avoid the serial killers/psychopaths/terrorists etc. is the gore and detailed grisliness. Suspense is one thing. Nightmares is another. I prefer books that will let me sleep at night.

In that case, you can definitely read Clare and Sorenson, if you haven't yet. There might be occasional references to autopsy reports, and some violence, but there's no gore and detailed grisliness, or disgusting stuff just for its own sake.
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tuga



Joined: 09 Feb 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandra Brown's thriller books are like this...I don't remember any serial killer or terrorist in her suspense books...
I especially recommend Smoke Screen and The Alibi, but I like almost everyhting she wrote.
****
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 739

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO said
Quote:
I always liked Romantic Suspense of the Mary Stewart/Barbara Michaels variety, where the villains were recognizably human. These days, all the Romantic Suspense I come across seems to feature over-the-top pathological villains. Either that or the heroes have to be some sort of Special Forces.



If you are a Barbara Michaels fan (love, love, love her!) then I would highly recommend "The Shadowy Horses" by Susanna Kearsley if you haven't read it and can get your hands on a copy. It's the closest thing to a Barbara Michaels book I've ever found- only with more overt romance. "Named Of The Dragon" by Kearsley is also very Michaels like only with a much more subtle romance. Velda Johnston wrote "The Underground Stream" which is older and harder to find but also very like Barbara Michaels. "False Light" by Carolyn Llewellyn is also in this genre and is a good read.

Modern suspense has definitely veered towards serial killers/supernatural and away from the more "gothic" style. I think it takes more to scare people nowadays!
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Minerva



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love contemporary gothic novels. I second the recommendations of Susanna Kearsley. Her novels Mariana and The Splendour Falls are also wonderful. Her newer novel The Winter Sea is excellent, but more has more of a historical romance feel than a gothic romance. She wrote Every Secret Thing under the name Emma Cole. There is some violence in the beginning that made me cringe, but the remainder of the book focused on the puzzle and has some very well done suspense.

ChrisReader - I'm amazed you've read Caroline Llewyllen. I read her books several years ago, and no one else I know has heard of her. I really enjoyed Lifeblood. But her books are hard to find, when I last checked, my library has gotten rid of them.

Other authors I recommend include SJ Bolton and Elly Griffiths. These books have less romance in them and more suspense. SJ Bolton's have lots of unexpected twists with great atmosphere. Elly Griffiths's books feature Ruth Galloway - a forensic archeologist.
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Leigh



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 2689

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Romantic suspense without serial killers/madmen/terroris Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
Mark's question about too much evil made me think of this. I always liked Romantic Suspense of the Mary Stewart/Barbara Michaels variety, where the villains were recognizably human. These days, all the Romantic Suspense I come across seems to feature over-the-top pathological villains. Either that or the heroes have to be some sort of Special Forces.

Can anyone suggest some Romantic Suspense that keeps both the good guys and the bad guys human? Or is that hopelessly old-fashioned?


If you haven't read Susanne Kearsley, then you need to check her out. She is very much like the Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels.

http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=7685


Should have read the whole thread. . . sorry. . .I third the recommendation Wink
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1480
Location: America

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harlequin Intrigue or Harlequin Romantic Suspense titles may feature special ops, FBI, or cop heroes/heroines, but the suspense is rarely nasty and over-the-top.
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 739

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minerva said
Quote:
ChrisReader - I'm amazed you've read Caroline Llewyllen. I read her books several years ago, and no one else I know has heard of her. I really enjoyed Lifeblood. But her books are hard to find, when I last checked, my library has gotten rid of them.


You have just jogged my memory- I am pretty sure I own Lifeblood in hardcover somewhere, from a book club years ago and never read it. I'm off to find it! Thanks for the idea! I really enjoyed False Light as it worked in a lot about Victorian photography and spiritualism. One of my favorite Michaels books is "Into The Darkness" which deals with Victorian jewelry (plus the hero is so interesting)!

Leigh said
Quote:
Should have read the whole thread. . . sorry. . .I third the recommendation


No worries! It just proves what an excellent recommendation it is! lol.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone. Now I have a little list...
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