What happened? I vowed to read much more romantic suspense in 2014, but only ended up reading a handful of books in the genre. There are some brilliant romantic suspense writers, and many of my favourite books are in this genre.
However, many of the better writers have moved over to contemporary romance or young adult fiction, leaving a big gap. I’d like to see a few things.
- Much less dependence on tropes. Telling your readers your hero is or was a navy SEAL does not a book make. If you’re going to use that oh-so tired trope, then please do enough research to make your hero believable in the role. But really, why not do away with it all together? There could and should be more to romantic suspense than “Hot SEALs”.
- I’d like to see authors tackle some real life issues rather than creating big, fake trafficking rings with cartoonishly evil villains. There’s a big, nasty world out there, and I’d like to see more authors taking it on.
- Ease up on the tragic backstories. Your hero and heroine don’t both have to have been raised on the streets after escaping abusive parents. They don’t have to have witnessed their best friend being tortured to death at age ten. They don’t have to have a history of abusive relationships. They don’t need all this tragedy heaped on tragedy – as well as a traumatic experience in the book itself! Overdone tragedy doesn’t necessarily mean a better book.
I want to be as in love with romantic suspense as I used to be. I don’t know what happened, but I feel a little like the genre went stale a couple of years ago. There’re still some brilliant authors – Cindy Gerard and Kaylea Cross, for example – but I hope in 2015 I’ll find more brilliance. I want to read lots of exciting books, not lots of lukewarm melodramas about former SEALs with commitment issues.