Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Romance Starter Kits - Mystery & Suspense

Tonight, I'm tackling the "Mystery & Suspense" genre :) I think this one is hard because it straddles the line of contemporary as lots of contemporary romance books have a mystery thread in them to get the story moving forward. In my case, I sometimes like the mystery to be central :)

Here is my starter kit for this genre:

Don't Tell by Karen Rose
Out of the Shadows by Kay Hooper
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

My favorite romantic suspense author is Karen Rose, so no surprise that she's part of my starter kit :) Personally, most of her books can be read as stand-alone and I think a new reader can start wherever. That's why I almost recommended Count to Ten... But truthfully, all her books are good ;) So it's more an author recommendation than a book in this case. I enjoy her books because most of the characters are in law enforcement or the justice system and I feel they're really investigating.

Out of Shadows by Kay Hooper is my recommendation for someone who'd want a bit more mystery than romance. This is the third book in the series where the special FBI unit is introduced. I feel the first two books are meant to introduce this one... so the best is just jump straight in :) 

I think the In Death series is unavoidable for people interested in mystery and romance. This is one of longest running series with a to-die-for couple, Eve and Roarke :) This is series is great in the sense we see the evolution of Eve and Roarke as a couple... and the cases are strong. It does get a bit redundant after the first 20 books though LOL. However, definitively worth to try.

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber is my choice for romantic cosy mystery :) It's very cute and fluffy and is heavier on the romance than most cosy mystery series out there. However, it definitively gives you a taste of the genre with the amateur sleuth :P

Books/Authors that I considered:

Any of Nora Roberts stand-alones - I didn't add any though because it's really a fine, fine line between contemporary romance and romantic suspense. And it really depends on which stand-alone you pick as well.

Linda Howard - My pick would have been Now You See Her... but that would have been another book with a psychic and perhaps I should rename the post LOL. I wasn't sure which other books, because similarly to Nora Roberts, fine line between contemporary romance and her books. Plus, there's an edge in her writing that won't reach as wide an audience I think.

What I'm missing:

A book which features a current or ex-military character and/or security agency.


  1. I like your choices Nath. I'd recommend Laura Griffin's Snapped or Twisted. Books 4 & 5 in her Tracer's series but can be read as a stand alones. Also, Cindy Gerard's Show No Mercy. Hero is part of a black ops security agency.

  2. Man, I've only read 2 of those books and both books weren't my favorites but I'm not a big suspense fan, at least not anymore. Still, Karen Rose is on my list of authors to check out though.

  3. Leslie - Thanks Les!! Yeah, I thought of Laura Griffin also, but I haven't read all of her books and from the ones that I did, none really stands out. Cindy Gerard, I need to give her a serious try.

    Wena - Hmmm, which one did you read? Don't Tell and Naked in Death? I loooove Karen Rose! Give Count to Ten by KR a try! Maybe it'll change your mind :)

  4. I'm not entirely sure if the In Death series holds up over time - I haven't read the first books for a very long time now, but in hindsight, Roarke can come across as being too overbearing?

    What about Suzanne Brockmann's SEAL books? I loved them.

  5. Li - what do you mean by "over time"... do you mean, as the series goes on forever, the later books aren't as good or if you read earlier books now, you wouldn't think it's as good? If it's the latter, I do wonder if it's the futuristic aspect. LOL.

    I don't think so about Roarke. He pushes when he needs to, but he can back off too. Plus, Eve stands up for herself, so prevents Roarke from being too overbearing in my opinion.

    I'm in the minority of people for whom Suzanne Brockmann's books didn't work ^_^;

  6. Nath - Both actually! I find myself skimming through the more recent books, and I'm also not sure if I'd have liked the earlier In Death books as much had I read them now? May dig up one of them to see...

  7. Nath, from your list I've read Karen Rose (that's a definite thumbs up), and the In-Death series (about 8 books, and I gave up because meh, the timeline doesn't move)… and, I LOVE the Heather Webber books! That's another great pick!

    Well, I love Linda Howard's Mr. Perfect and Open Season. And, I also enjoy(ed) Sandra Brown's Romance Suspense for a long time… Fat Tuesday, The Alibi, but I remember White Hot being a favorite. Honorable mention: Iris Johansen if you can get one of her stand-alone books (and not part of the Eve Duncan series!)

  8. Li - I think the earlier ones were quite good. I know I re-read a few of them. Naked in Death is definitively one to read for newcomers. Otherwise, I've always loved Conspiracy in Death, Seduction in Death, Loyalty in Death...

    Hilcia - Woohoo for Karen Rose!

    Nod nod, I know what you mean about the timeline not moving much. But at least, it's better than IIAD from Kresley Cole where something imminent is supposed to happen... and I don't know if it did. The problem with the In Death series timeline is the book timeline goes way to slow in comparison for the publication timeline. The series has been going on for years and we've barely covered 3 in the series. But if you can overlook that...

    I didn't realize you read the Heather Webber books, Hils! I remember Les did, but not you. But yeah, they're very cute :)

    I thought of Open Season and Mr. Perfect... but those are not my favorites. Mine is Now You See Her, so that's why I refrained LOL. As for Sandra Brown, I read mostly her straight contemporary romance. Read a few more recent RS, that's it. I'll check out Iris Johansen since I've never really read her.

  9. Count to Ten is the best Karen Rose. LOL

    This is not a genre I particularly enjoy but I would have to add Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard and Drop Dead Gorgeous by her as well. I really enjoyed those.

  10. Ames - I agree. I love Count to Ten. And while there's no sequel bait or anything, for Count to Ten, I feel you need to read some of the other books, just to be a bit more familiar with the characters such as Mia, Dana and David.