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Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend?

 
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 606

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

The other day, I was looking for something new in romantic suspense and thrillers. I found a promising new paperback, but luckily, something made me peek at the ending. (I guess I wanted to find out if the guy listed on the back cover was a killer or a hero.) Well in the very last part of the book, it turns out that the serial killer plot isn't over yet! Shocked Worse, it ends on a cliffhanger, with one woman still being held captive. I had to check twice to make sure that I wasn't reading an excerpt from an upcoming book. It's not -- it's the "ending" to this book, and it turns out that the next book (it will be a trilogy) won't come out until August 2009. WTF?!

Is this some kind of silly new trend? I don't mind series (as long as they don't wither into shadows of themselves). I don't mind having an overarching series plot. But shouldn't the books within the series be complete? If I had bought that book and gotten to that ending, I would have been furious! And the reader reviews on Amazon reflect the same frustration, with many people giving up on the author because they felt cheated.

Also, I've noticed a lot of other trilogies in romantic suspense. Please don't tell me that these all end with cliffhangers, I'm beggin' ya. Rolling Eyes I have been avoiding most of the romantic suspense series because I don't want to get stuck either having to buy all the books (and never having time to read them all) or not finding out the identity of all the killers. Sheesh. This is one trend that ain't making much money from me. I'd rather spend more to buy the new Cody McFadyen hard cover or the new Chelsea Cain hard cover (the sequel to HeartSick) because while there's an overarching story, it will be complete.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Anne Marble wrote:
I'd rather spend more to buy the new Cody McFadyen hard cover or the new Chelsea Cain hard cover (the sequel to HeartSick) because while there's an overarching story, it will be complete.

Loved both of these books that you mention, Anne. McFadyen's The Darker Side and Chelsea Cain's Sweetheart are both good. Cain's book was a bit questionable the last quarter of it. I'm still not sure what that was all about in regard to Archie's choices. Of course, his role will go on, I'm assuming, into the next book. You have probably already read Cody McFadyen's first book Shadow Man. Excellent.

However, back to what you were originally asking regarding romantic suspense. It seems to me that practically all of what I've read in this genre is a complete story in one book. That doesn't mean that it isn't part of a series and some of the details spill over into the others or that a related theme runs thru all of them. But usually there is at least one story finished by the end of the book. I'm curious which book you're referring to, but you probably don't want to mention it for fear of giving the ending away to those who may plan to read it.

If you're talking general suspense, then there are several series out there that have continued on, not always with a stamped "Amen." Slaughter and Gerritsen are examples of this kind of writing. There may or may not be a relationship; and if there is, it may end with a question mark at the end to be resolved in the next books.

Speaking of Karin Slaughter, though, she has true winners with two books so far that appear to be forming a series, Triptych and Fractured. She has developed a male character in these books, Will Trent, who is a fabulous detective with flaws. I like him a lot.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

I didn't mind too much when the novels in Jo Leigh's In Too Deep series ended in cliffhangers. She wrote them really, really, really well.
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LinnieGayl



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne, I read a lot of romantic suspense, and for the most part, each book seems to be pretty much self-contained. Even when the book is part of a larger series, the hero and heroine of each book have their HEA in their individual book.
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
Loved both of these books that you mention, Anne. McFadyen's The Darker Side and Chelsea Cain's Sweetheart are both good. Cain's book was a bit questionable the last quarter of it. I'm still not sure what that was all about in regard to Archie's choices. Of course, his role will go on, I'm assuming, into the next book. You have probably already read Cody McFadyen's first book Shadow Man. Excellent.


I'm kinda reading the first and last at the same time, as well as the second. Catching up, you know. Embarassed I think I'll just concentrate on the first first.

Tee wrote:
However, back to what you were originally asking regarding romantic suspense. It seems to me that practically all of what I've read in this genre is a complete story in one book. That doesn't mean that it isn't part of a series and some of the details spill over into the others or that a related theme runs thru all of them. But usually there is at least one story finished by the end of the book. I'm curious which book you're referring to, but you probably don't want to mention it for fear of giving the ending away to those who may plan to read it.


I'm glad to hear they have ends. :D

Uhm, the author's name had an L and a J in it. (Now for some people, that might be a spoiler. I'm trying not to reveal too much but trying not to reveal too little. Smile)

Tee wrote:
If you're talking general suspense, then there are several series out there that have continued on, not always with a stamped "Amen." Slaughter and Gerritsen are examples of this kind of writing. There may or may not be a relationship; and if there is, it may end with a question mark at the end to be resolved in the next books.


I like the idea of having a continuing relationship as a thread between books but then solving the case in each one. I wouldn't mind something where there is a villain in one book that resurfaces in future book -- much like the serial killer who appeared throughout the first season of the TV show Profiler, or Red John from The Mentalist. But that has to be done verrry carefully. (I think Profiler did it in an annoying way myself, but maybe that's just me.)

Tee wrote:
Speaking of Karin Slaughter, though, she has true winners with two books so far that appear to be forming a series, Triptych and Fractured. She has developed a male character in these books, Will Trent, who is a fabulous detective with flaws. I like him a lot.


I'm glad she isn't afraid to start a new series. That can keep things fresh. Very Happy
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 606

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
+IHS+

I didn't mind too much when the novels in Jo Leigh's In Too Deep series ended in cliffhangers. She wrote them really, really, really well.


Great writing always helps. Very Happy Also, in Jo Leigh's case, it looks like the first couple came out within a few months of each other (one in July, one in November). Then the other two came out the next year, within a short period. I don't think most readers could endure a long wait. In Leigh's case, the publisher schedule the series well so that readers didn't start to hunt them down and lash them with wet bookmarks. ;)

Of course, sometimes stories get carried away with themselves. David Weber's seventh Honor Harrington novel ended on a cliffhanger, with his heroine badly injured on a prison planet with twenty other people (crew, guards, etc.). Lots of fans were upset because they had bought it in hardback, and now they'd have to wait a year or so to find out who lived and who died. But Weber had a lot of story to tell, and I guess he and the publisher found that it couldn't be told in one book.

LinnieGayl wrote:
Anne, I read a lot of romantic suspense, and for the most part, each book seems to be pretty much self-contained. Even when the book is part of a larger series, the hero and heroine of each book have their HEA in their individual book.


Phew! Thank God. Smile I was afraid this was the start of something new.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The status of one character at the ending of Dragon Wytch, the latest in a Galenorn series, could be considered a cliffhanger.
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sssspro



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of the "series" of books being written today are like that. If you are talking a group of books with the same characters, they in some way contain cliffhangers since the story never ends. IE, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series, or Robb's Eve and Roarke series. I would even contend the Kenyon, Ward, Hamilton, etc books, though each book is a stand alone, there is a plot or story line that threads its way through all of the books, so they are not really ending. Is that considered a "cliff hanger"? Not sure, but I would like to know how the whole thing is going to end, and until the author writes the last book in the series, I won't know.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:53 am    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Anne Marble wrote:
(Now for some people, that might be a spoiler. I'm trying not to reveal too much but trying not to reveal too little. Smile)

I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and figured out who you're talking about, Anne, I think. If it's so, I have unfortunately given up on her stuff some books back. Part of the problem is her stories have not been very well written lately and the plots are not tight or interesting to me. Another is an issue she's had for a while, but one I usually overlooked if the story was good enough--and that is 475 pages where 300 would do as well. Every now and then, an excellent story pops up; but I've lost the enthusiasm to discover just which one it'll be.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1044
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
Anne Marble wrote:
(Now for some people, that might be a spoiler. I'm trying not to reveal too much but trying not to reveal too little. Smile)

I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and figured out who you're talking about, Anne, I think. If it's so, I have unfortunately given up on her stuff some books back. Part of the problem is her stories have not been very well written lately and the plots are not tight or interesting to me. Another is an issue she's had for a while, but one I usually overlooked if the story was good enough--and that is 475 pages where 300 would do as well. Every now and then, an excellent story pops up; but I've lost the enthusiasm to discover just which one it'll be.



WHO???
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Diana wrote:

WHO???


Let me see if I can figure out the spoiler font... Select the text below if you want to know the author and title. I hope this is light enough as I can't get a light gray to work:

Lisa Jackson
Left to Die


BTW has anyone read it?
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Diana



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne,

Gotcha. I was tempted by this book although I stopped reading her books quite a while back. Thanks for the heads up.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Cliffhangers -- A New Romantic Suspense Trend? Reply with quote

Anne Marble wrote:
BTW has anyone read it?

Sorry, it was a DNF for me, Anne; so I can't really give you a creditable review of it, except to say it obviously wasn't working for me, either.
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