There seems to be some confusion as to whether romantic mystery and romantic suspense are the same genre of fiction. In fact, they are not. My mystery novel THE TRUTH SLEUTH published in hardcover and large print, for example, is a romantic mystery not romantic suspense. It’s the third Kim Reynolds librarian sleuth mystery novel in a series, the first two being THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL (now both available in e-book formats as well as paperback and hardcover).
In romantic suspense, the mystery is secondary to the romance. Plot focus is always on the romance while the mystery mostly offers a plot device, usually ways to bring the hero and heroine closer together. In a romantic mystery, the love interest is secondary. The mystery and finding its solution is the key plot factor. The romantic aspect usually serves to provide added depth to the main character(s) and make them more real to the reader.
In romantic suspense there is always a happy ending with the couple united at the end in the love of their lives. In romantic mystery novels, which are often part of a series like mine, that is not necessarily the case--although it can be. Also in a romantic mystery series the main protagonists are more like real people with their lives changing and their character developing and evolving. Ideally, these novels are not static. That is one reason a romantic mystery series can grow in popularity and recognition.
But what of a novel that crosses genres? Can it succeed? Reviewers as well as readers are often confused when authors move away from pigeon-holed tried and true formulas for genre novels and experiment. In my current novel, DEATH LEGACY, I’ve written a romantic suspense mystery thriller, a fast-paced novel full of exciting action, based loosely on an actual spy case. Can such a novel work? Reviews from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and BOOKLIST among others indicate that it can. The reviews have been excellent.
As a reader, I enjoy many types of genres, crossed and otherwise. As a writer, I like to experiment. I’m grateful that my work has been published and critically well-received. Now all I need is lots of readers like you!
To celebrate the new large print edition of DEATH LEGACY which can be requested at libraries everywhere, I’m offering an a.r.c., a print trade size copy of the novel, to someone chosen at random. So please leave an e-mail address where you can be reached along with your comment.
Now back to the original question: does crossed genre fiction work for you? Why or why not?