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Reading Room > What makes a good Mystery/Thriller?

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message 1: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
For the discussion of mystery or thriller novels.

message 2: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Paul wrote: "What makes a good murder mystery, the plot or the pace?"

Easy - both :o)

message 3: by A.F. (last edited Jul 16, 2011 12:21PM) (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "What makes a good murder mystery, the plot or the pace?"

This folder is for the listing of specific books, Paul, not generic topics. It might be better if you post this question as a topic in the Readers folder. There is also a topic in the Readers folder on Book Genres if you care to post the comment there.

message 4: by G. (new)

G. Bell (gjanebell) if anyone wants to review my mystery novel Akila's Labyrinth, i'd be happy to send them a free copy!
Akila's Labyrinth

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to care about the characters and understand their motives, even if they are the bad guys or girls.

message 6: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Joanna wrote: "I have to care about the characters and understand their motives, even if they are the bad guys or girls."

I agree, and I think this causes problems with mysteries. To truly mystify the reader, as Agatha Christie did, you cannot have believable characters. If you do, then it becomes as easy to know who is the likely villain as it is in real life.

I feel certain to be disagreed with on this one :o)

message 7: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Wheelaghan (httpwwwgoodreadscomMarianneW) | 88 comments Hi AF and others, a good question, AF! Though a bit tricky to answer because I think mystery and thrillers readers like a whole heap of different things. I, personally, am not into too much graphic violence, especially as it's often gratuitous. I want pace and believable characters and a credible story, and, yes,I need to know what motivates the killer – it's all a bit of a waste of time otherwise, isn't it? After all, we read not just to be entertained but also in some way to get a better understanding of the world we live in. I am also not a fan of the 'killer' featuring in his own voice throughout the novel, think that has been done to death, but that's just my opinion!

message 8: by C.S. Splitter (new)

C.S. Splitter | 46 comments In these types of books (not my normal genre to read, btw), pace is extremely important to me. Grab me early, give me the set up, and then make me stay up too reading as the end comes into view.

When I think of all the books I have loved, the characters are what come to mind. Give me good characters and I'll let a lot of other stuff slide.

The pay-off is still critical, though. A story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don't leave me hanging on too many huge plot points while you write the next book. I know me, I will forget why I cared while you write lol.


message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael (book_nerd1991) The execution in the end, that makes a good one.

message 10: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Edger (stephenedger) Maxim wrote: "A big component of a mystery is the thrill of having the reader in suspense when they turn each page! I personally think that each mystery/thrill should be a little creepy or weird in some way to g..."

So true Maxim. As a reader I love a little spook before bedtime. As a writer I try to deliver that, but it's not as easy as it seems.

message 11: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) The plot, but I'd add those red herrings that throw you off track also help.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

A good mystery thriller has to have an edge to the writing that carries you forward. You must be made to feel that imminently something surprising is going to happen. Pace is key in a thriller. Mystery works in layers: as you reveal something, you then must create another mystery - so that the character's knowledge (and the reader's) builds slowly but at the same time more intrigue and tension is achieved. In a good mystery you should see more of the picture but equally less of it as the book proceeds.

message 13: by Jon Recluse (new)

Jon Recluse | 9 comments Pace and plot are meaningless if you don't have solid characters in your story.
If I can't connect with them on some level, the rest just doesn't matter.

message 14: by Thayer (new)

Thayer Berlyn | 45 comments Michael wrote: "The execution in the end, that makes a good one."

Yes! Inevitable, but unexpected. The reader senses something must be revealed, but the riddle eludes until the final curtain.

message 15: by N.L. (new)

N.L. Armitage (formerlyfromtokyo) | 6 comments I like the ones that are not predictable, the ones that make you think you know what's going to happen a throw a surprising, albeit logical swerve.

message 16: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Muller | 6 comments Malla wrote: "Mystery works in layers: as you reveal something, you then must create another mystery"
Excellent point, Maya, though you don't necessarily have to reveal in order to add. The first part of the story is all about adding, increasing tension, and then as connections are made the layers get stripped away until the reader finishes the book as naked as when they started it - but now they know something.

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