Updated Special Title Lists – Suspense & Mystery, and Heroes in Pursuit

newimproved As we said several weeks ago, we were simply bombarded with submissions when we opened these two lists up for your nominations, with over 150 recommendations for each. We have now posted the revised lists at AAR, but have a few issues to raise as you’ll see below.

Suspense & Mystery List. We’re afraid that the Suspense & Mystery list – as currently constituted – may have outlived its usefulness. This list was created in 1997, long before the power search was available at AAR. We believe that the Special Title Lists should provide something different than the power search feature. For example, we don’t have a Special Title list for Medieval Historicals or European Historicals or Contemporary Romances. So does it make sense to have a Special Title list with part of its definition as Romantic Suspense? We don’t think so, but we’d like your thoughts.

We took several steps to maintain the usefulness and readability of the list. First, any title featuring a spy, warrior (military), or P.I. was excluded from the list and will be added to the Spies, P.I.s, & Warriors list later this summer. Third, we split the “contemporary romance” section into multiple categories. Third, we shortened the entries by listing any series by an author in a single entry. The latter step doesn’t help with authors with multiple single romantic suspense titles. For example, the list now includes 7 titles by Amanda Quick, 13 by Linda Howard, 8 by Jayne Ann Krentz, and 22 by Nora Roberts.

Faced with an ever-growing list, we initially considered revising the definition, deleting all romantic suspense, and turning it into a new list of just mysteries with strong romantic threads. In this permutation, we would include the mystery series name (as currently shown on the list) but would also provide a brief description of the series and the title of the first entry in the series. Our second thought was to have two major sections within the list, one for mysteries, and the second for gothic romances. In this format we would still exclude straight romantic suspense from the list. But after all the work some of you went to in submitting so very many titles, we felt that wasn’t fair. So, we’re asking you for your thoughts about the list.

* Do you want to keep it exactly as it is currently organized, with romantic suspense a part of the list?

* Do you prefer to have the list completely revised and just include mysteries with strong romantic threads and delete gothic romances and romantic suspense?

* Do you prefer to have the list revised to include just mysteries and gothic romances and delete romantic suspense?

* Or, do you have another suggestion?

Heroes in Pursuit. Your response regarding the Heroes in Pursuit list was equally overwhelming. We were able to add 121 new titles to the list! While the majority of these are European Historicals and Contemporaries, we are especially pleased that a number of very interesting Alternate Reality titles were nominated. Granted, as soon as you get the fated mates trope, you get a hero in pursuit (very rarely, a heroine), but even here it is great that a number of the best among these books were nominated. There are also several male/male romance on the Heroes in Pursuit list now.

The book that received the most nominations was The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, and the author who received the most nominations for various titles was Nora Roberts, followed by Nalini Singh. And there are several classics which have found their place on the list only now: the two Georgette Heyer novels Powder and Patch (1923) and The Devil’s Cub (1932), A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute (1950), Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936 – I know, not truly a romance – but still, what a book!), and the even older The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull (first published in 1919). On the other hand, there are now twelve 2013 titles on the list, with Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian published as recently as June.

Thanks as always for all your help keeping this important part of AAR up-to-date. Please check back here in early August! We plan to do a limited update of two Special Title lists at that time.

- Cindy Smith, LinnieGayl Kimmel & Rike Horstmann

7 thoughts on “Updated Special Title Lists – Suspense & Mystery, and Heroes in Pursuit

  1. Just one problem, Dev Santos was not the hero in Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh. Clay Bennett was, Dev Santos was the hero in Blaze of Memory.

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  3. i was thinking this the other day, and this may be an issue you’ve addressed in the past, but have you considered linking the titles on the STLs to the amazon page for the book? I think it would make them more enjoyable to browse and could be beneficial for AAR through sales.

    • Hi Haley, I wish we could, and really wish we could link them to the actual reviews (when available) at AAR. The three of us (Cindy, Rike, and myself) took over updating the Special Title Lists last fall after the lists had been untouched for at least a year when the previous list editor left AAR (maybe two years?). We quickly discovered that the lists are a tremendous amount of work (can’t imagine how one person did it).

      As volunteers, we all rely on free, simple versions of HTML editors that require us to enter actual HTML code rather than WYSIWYG editors (and I would so love to be able to afford one). We did a test on how much time would be involved in also adding the links for reviews and or the titles at Amazon and it was exponential. While we would love to see them on the pages, it’s just not possible for us to do along with our other AAR responsibilities (reviewing, HTML editing, polling, etc.) to say nothing of our real life responsibilities :)

  4. I want to see romantic suspense kept on the list. I understand why all of the Harlequin Intrique and Silhouette/Harlequin Romantic Suspense titles cannot be added and that romantic suspense is rather a given in these category lines. But for single titles especially I think romantic suspense books should be part of this special titles listing.

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