Mystery/Suspense Genre Discussion

For January 2016, we will be reading Mystery/Suspense books.
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kio
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Mystery/Suspense Genre Discussion

Post by kio » 03 Jan 2016, 21:56

Mystery (also crime or detective) Genre is Defined as: a novel in which the protagonist's primary objective is to solve a puzzle or crime by ascertaining the truth through a combination of logic, observation, deduction, inference, or frankly, by sheer luck (humorous mystery :) ) It's usually a murder, but can be any kind of crime.

Suspense is defined as: a genre in which the feeling of pleasurable fascination and scrub excitement mixed with apprehension, tension, and anxiety developed from an unpredictable, mysterious, and/or rousing source of entertainment is triggered. Frequently preceded by an appropriate adjective (legal suspense/thriller, political suspense/thriller, etc.), the emphasis is often on action and suspense. The plot typically involves a hero and villain, with plenty of close calls before the hero prevails.

Here are the questions I thought we could discuss, but feel free to add some of your own to the discussion: What was the name of the book you read? How many stars would you give it and why? What genres (ex. Mystery, Adventure, Fantasy) would you say it fits? Based off what you read, how would you define Mystery or Suspense? How does your book fit in? What are some characteristics that you see in the book that seem unique to the genre? Would you recommend the book?

There are no right or wrong answers. The goal here is to see what makes these genres these genres, what might be some of the appeal factors with relation to the books we've picked, and, overall, getting to know the genre more in-depth in a fun way.
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Post by gali » 12 Jan 2016, 23:11

I have read "Death in Kashmir" (Death in... #1) by M.M. Kaye. This was a fun, old-fashioned whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. M.M. This book is one of six that Kaye wrote, and I plan to read the other ones as well. It is a blend of mystery, suspense and romance, and the best part is the setting. These books are very readable and interesting historically.
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Post by DennisK » 12 Jan 2016, 23:43

I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.

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Post by Gravy » 13 Jan 2016, 00:11

DennisK wrote:I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.
I've been meaning to read this for months...
Maybe now is the right time. Or soon. Or I might fall way behind and wind up missing this month entirely :(
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Post by gali » 13 Jan 2016, 00:13

DennisK wrote:I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.
I have read it and loved it!!! It is a great book and highly recommended. :)

-- January 13th, 2016, 7:14 am --
Graverobber wrote:
DennisK wrote:I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.
I've been meaning to read this for months...
Maybe now is the right time. Or soon. Or I might fall way behind and wind up missing this month entirely :(
I think you will like it. :)

There is always next month. :wink:
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by DennisK » 13 Jan 2016, 00:30

Graverobber wrote:
DennisK wrote:I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.
I've been meaning to read this for months...
Maybe now is the right time. Or soon. Or I might fall way behind and wind up missing this month entirely :(
Sometimes, life just seems to get in the way of reading! Hang in there, Graverobber.

-- 12 Jan 2016, 22:36 --
gali wrote:
DennisK wrote:I would like to read the Martian by Andy Weir. From what I read in Amazon, it is a science fiction story about a man who is presumed to be dead and left on Mars by his team who returned to Earth. Somehow, he must find his own way back to Earth. This should be suspenseful enough to fall into January's category. Netflix shows the movie to be released in DVD form, sometime this February. This would have been a good candidate for December's read, but I'll just treat it as a suspense novel.
I have read it and loved it!!! It is a great book and highly recommended. :)

-- January 13th, 2016, 7:14 am --

Then it is a done deal - got it loaded in my iPod, and it will be my next read.

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Post by brrr » 14 Jan 2016, 10:11

I personally like Dean Koontz for a suspense/horror (with mystery) writer. His books are suspenseful but tend to delve into the supernatural. A good book to start with for him is Door to December. I hope you enjoy!

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Post by HalcyonFlower » 14 Jan 2016, 19:04

Dean Koontz freaks me out sometimes but I suppose that's what makes him an efficient writer. In regards to Murder-Mystery, I recently re-read (skimmed) some Mary Higgins Clark novels. I loved her when I was a teen but I realized that plots are really the same, with a few teaks here and there. It's kind of disappointing and I'd love to know the opinions of those who read serial mystery novels, like those written by J.D. Robbs.

I loved Agatha Christie because she really was unpredictable but that may have been due to times she lived in and the missing information that makes a crime easier to solve nowadays. I think I'll pick up one of her novels around the house again and comment on that once I finish reading.
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Post by kio » 17 Jan 2016, 19:49

For this month, I picked Sprinkled by Gina Lemanna:

After failing to follow in her mother’s stripper shoes, Lacey looked into her family history and discovered she was related to not only the mafia, but the boss himself. As the estranged granddaughter of Carlos Luzzi, Lacey wants to make her grandfather proud. For her first assignment, she’s asked to find Carlos’ large shipment of the “good stuff” that was stolen by the Russian Mafia. With the help of her ex-cop friend, Meg, her tech-wielding cousin, Clay, and her mysterious hot personal trainer/person on Carlos’ occasional payroll, Anthony, she tries to uncover the truth. Is the “good stuff” what Lacey thinks it is? Did the Russian Mafia really steal it? Will Lacey find her place at her grandfather’s heart or does she already have one?

I liked this book, because it was really funny and was easy to get drawn into. The characters were quirky, well-developed, and were easy to relate to. The plot was a humor/mystery crossover. Like other mystery books, she uses her knowledge of the mafia and deduction skills, as well as a few other people's skills to figure out her mystery's answer. Based off what I read, I would say mystery is where a problem presents itself to the main character that requires them to reach beyond or to stretch their natural abilities to fix it. It adds a level of suspense and intrigue that keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next.

Overall, I think the story is worthy of a 5 out of 5 star rating. I think readers will enjoy the humor, the characters that draw you into the story, and the complexity of the story.

What do you like best about mysteries or suspense fiction? Is there anything you would change about the book you read?
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Post by gali » 18 Jan 2016, 00:25

First, they are fun.I like trying to figure out the puzzle. I also like suspense and the psychological aspect of it. A good mystery will keep the reader on his mental toes throughout the story.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by DarkestbeforeDawn » 18 Jan 2016, 01:04

kio wrote:For this month, I picked Sprinkled by Gina Lemanna:

After failing to follow in her mother’s stripper shoes, Lacey looked into her family history and discovered she was related to not only the mafia, but the boss himself. As the estranged granddaughter of Carlos Luzzi, Lacey wants to make her grandfather proud. For her first assignment, she’s asked to find Carlos’ large shipment of the “good stuff” that was stolen by the Russian Mafia. With the help of her ex-cop friend, Meg, her tech-wielding cousin, Clay, and her mysterious hot personal trainer/person on Carlos’ occasional payroll, Anthony, she tries to uncover the truth. Is the “good stuff” what Lacey thinks it is? Did the Russian Mafia really steal it? Will Lacey find her place at her grandfather’s heart or does she already have one?

I liked this book, because it was really funny and was easy to get drawn into. The characters were quirky, well-developed, and were easy to relate to. The plot was a humor/mystery crossover. Like other mystery books, she uses her knowledge of the mafia and deduction skills, as well as a few other people's skills to figure out her mystery's answer. Based off what I read, I would say mystery is where a problem presents itself to the main character that requires them to reach beyond or to stretch their natural abilities to fix it. It adds a level of suspense and intrigue that keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next.

Overall, I think the story is worthy of a 5 out of 5 star rating. I think readers will enjoy the humor, the characters that draw you into the story, and the complexity of the story.

What do you like best about mysteries or suspense fiction? Is there anything you would change about the book you read?
That sound like a very cool set up. Thanks for the synopsis, I'll definitely check this one out!
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Post by dbryantsimmons » 18 Jan 2016, 03:25

My favorite genre! Life or death stakes. Concrete beginning and ending. A good time in between the pages... The only drawback I've found is that these novels tend to be straightforward, if not forgettable. Reading them is not a life altering, soul shattering experience. I don't learn anything either about the world or people or myself. Some authors do bring something special to the table that elevates the story. I'm thinking of Walter Mosley here and how he infuses culture and symbolism into his mystery series. But overall, I'd like to see more books that are literary thrillers.

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Post by EvanCorneille1234 » 21 Jan 2016, 12:33

They are short stories, but has anyone read the Father Brown mysteries? They are much fun with a lot of philosophical and theological truth about them. There are a wide range of them with repeating and changing characters - some that grow and change from story to story so you get many different views of the topics. The lovable and humble Father Brown takes after Chesterton's wit and style of humorous approaches to life. Great read!

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Post by gali » 21 Jan 2016, 13:31

EvanCorneille1234 wrote:They are short stories, but has anyone read the Father Brown mysteries? They are much fun with a lot of philosophical and theological truth about them. There are a wide range of them with repeating and changing characters - some that grow and change from story to story so you get many different views of the topics. The lovable and humble Father Brown takes after Chesterton's wit and style of humorous approaches to life. Great read!
I have read a few of them and liked them.
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Post by kio » 22 Jan 2016, 23:38

gali wrote:
EvanCorneille1234 wrote:They are short stories, but has anyone read the Father Brown mysteries? They are much fun with a lot of philosophical and theological truth about them. There are a wide range of them with repeating and changing characters - some that grow and change from story to story so you get many different views of the topics. The lovable and humble Father Brown takes after Chesterton's wit and style of humorous approaches to life. Great read!
I have read a few of them and liked them.
I haven't, but they sound intriguing. Thanks for the suggestion :)

-- 23 Jan 2016, 00:42 --
dbryantsimmons wrote:My favorite genre! Life or death stakes. Concrete beginning and ending. A good time in between the pages... The only drawback I've found is that these novels tend to be straightforward, if not forgettable. Reading them is not a life altering, soul shattering experience. I don't learn anything either about the world or people or myself. Some authors do bring something special to the table that elevates the story. I'm thinking of Walter Mosley here and how he infuses culture and symbolism into his mystery series. But overall, I'd like to see more books that are literary thrillers.
I have to say I wouldn't mind more character growth in more of them. In the Lacey Luzzi mysteries I read, the character experiences a lot of growth over the course of the series, but it's more subtle and you don't realize how much until you're almost to the 3 book. Have you tried Reed Arvin or Austin Aslan? They tend to have similar writing styles and fit the more "elevating" factor.
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