Thursday, October 15, 2015


Thursday brings us answers to another question submitted by you! This week’s winner is Connie! Her question is: “My love of mysteries and suspense began when I was introduced to Nancy Drew and I have continued to enjoy this genre. I enjoy realism to a point but I do not want extremely gruesome details. Do you think that most readers feel this way or should I limit my reading to cozy mysteries and Christian suspense?”

For submitting her question, Connie’s won a copy of Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl!

If you have a question for us, leave it below. You might be our next winner! You could win a book by one of today’s top suspense/mystery writers – or a gift certificate to Amazon! (Questions submitted without contact information won’t be considered.)

Gruesome details are enticing for many readers and it seems that in the general market, the more gruesome the better! This is not for me, as I have a vivid imagination and these images stick with me. There is mainstream fiction that isn't too gory, cozy mysteries and such, so I would advise sticking with that genre or Christian fiction which is typically not as graphic.

 Dana Mentink

Connie, I don’t think you can generalize about this—some people love the writing of Brandilyn Collins, whose books generally begin with someone dead, and whose writing has inspired certain readers to form the BHC club (Big Honkin’ Chickens). Other readers enjoy cozy mysteries and work by authors whose past novels haven’t
been particularly gruesome.

But lest you think "sleep with the light on suspense" is confined to secular novels, I’ve just re-read Alton Gansky’s novel, A Ship Possessed, and believe me, it’s scary. As we say here in Texas, “That’s why they make both Fords and Chevrolets.” And that’s also why there are so many different mystery writers, all of whom feature more or less gore in their work.

Richard L. Mabry, MD

I agree with Cynthia. I've given up mainline suspense, though I used to be a voracious reader of authors in the upper echelon . I found myself skipping over large sections, so I didn't have to expose my mind to excessive gore among other things. The great thing is, though, that I can get stories just as twisted, surprising, and emotionally moving within the Christian genre, but also receive a message of Truth wrapped up in the package! :)

Marji Laine

I definitely think if you don't want the gruesome details that you
stick to cozy mysteries and Christian suspense. The ABA market is definitely grittier in more ways than just gruesome details.

 Cynthia Hickey (Melton)

Different genres require different things. Cozies are almost always safe, but some harder-edged suspense novels may have more violence than some readers might be comfortable with. My upcoming series, which will focus on law enforcement, will have more violence than my cozies or my Mennonite-themed suspense.
But…I don’t like gruesome details either, Connie. Someone can get shot, but the author doesn’t have to describe the wound. See my point? My advice is to find the authors who write books you like and stick to them. Different strokes for different folks. And that’s fine.

Nancy Mehl

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  1. I don't like the really gory details, but that bothers me less than those that include unnecessary bedroom scenes (which sometimes are not in the bedroom). For me, cozy mysteries are great reads after a truly suspenseful book.

    1. Beth, some of this isn't confined to novels, either. I've just had to stop following the blog of a very talented ABA writer, because he's majoring on sex (and some early books he wrote that feature it). From that standpoint, CBA authors are a better option--both from the standpoint of their novels and their blogs.