The Romantic Thriller Series: Pros and Cons By Allison Brennan and Giveaway!

The Romantic Thriller Series: Pros and Cons By Allison Brennan and Giveaway!

I’ve always read mysteries, and one thing I noticed about my reading habits was that I gravitated to mysteries where there was a continuing love story—starting with Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson. When Nora Roberts JD Robb series gave us Eve Dallas and Roarke, I was in heaven … I love the suspense, and I love the continuing relationship between these two strong characters. The conflict between them is believable, but we also see how their love and support endures over time, becoming stronger.

I love NCIS, and enjoy the chemistry between Tony and Ziva even though their relationship isn’t a primary storyline. I’m dying to find out what’s going to happen with Nick and Juliette on GRIMM now that she can’t remember him and is obsessed with the Captain. In the meantime, I can enjoy the cute relationship between Monroe and Rosalie! Much needed with all the bad Wesen running around needing slaying … it really doesn’t matter what the show, I enjoy it more if there’s a relationship that I can follow …. Even if it isn’t the primary focus of the series. Because it’s a rare show that can perfectly blend romance and suspense.

Is it any wonder I love CASTLE?

I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. I loved the idea of a crime writer being on a perpetual ride-along with a hot cop (of course, my idea of a hot cop would be more along the lines of Jeremy Renner or Jim Caviezel rather than Stana Katic. LOL.) But because I like my police procedurals to be more accurate than not, I had a hard time getting into the story. The first season left a lot to be desired about how they handled investigations. We’re required to suspend disbelief that Rick Castle would be allowed to shadow a NYPD detective indefinitely – which is fine – but then everything else needs to be solid.

Except … I couldn’t stop watching. I love Nathan Fillion (miss FIREFLY!) I love the concept. I love New York City. And I really enjoyed the banter and sexual tension between Kate and Castle.

Like many viewers, I feared that the writers would either drag out the attraction to the point of disbelief, or they would screw it up like season six of BONES. It seems that whenever there’s great chemistry and writing and mysteries that the writers wimp out on the romance.

However, CASTLE writers have done an amazing job this fifth season—which so far is the best season yet IMO. Major kudos. We’ve seen how hard they’ve worked to not only get together, but to stay together. They didn’t drag it out, and the relationship was the next logical step. It’s softened Kate a bit (she’d become too hardened and snippy until now) and it gave Rick the chance to grow up (juxtaposed with his daughter going to college.) And they still have good mysteries!

This is the best example right now of a successful romantic thriller series.

I’m learning a lot from the master (JD Robb) and CASTLE about how to keep a series couple from getting boring over the course of multiple books. I was thrilled when my publisher agreed to let me write a romantic suspense series with a continuing love story. Lucy Kincaid needed her own series—I have so many ideas for her, I couldn’t keep her tied to just one story. She had to have a hero worthy of her, and I found him in Sean Rogan.

What I’ve learned:

  • The story is first and foremost. Each book (episode) needs to have a complete mystery to give readers satisfaction and closure. Continuing threads are possible as long as there is a resolved primary story.
  • The relationship needs to have an emotionally satisfying ending, even if there isn’t the standard HEA, there needs to be the promise of it in the future. If the relationship is building over time, then there needs to be a natural ebb and flow, but should always end a book on an upswing.
  • Emotional conflict needs to be organic to the story. Every book (episode) doesn’t need a major relationship upheaval—what’s the fun if the characters fight and make up in every book?–but there should be a romantic challenge that needs to be overcome.
  • For Sean and Lucy, it took three books before Lucy could get over her fear of admitting that she loved him. Sean knew it right away, but Lucy’s reticence was (I think) believable considering her past. Now, they have other conflicts to address. Like what’s going to happen when Lucy graduates from the FBI Academy? Where will she be assigned? Is Sean going to give up his successful career to follow her? Will they try a long distance relationship? Lots of questions I can wait to find out what happens!

    Do you like romantic suspense series that continue the same hero and heroine? In books or movies? What are the pros and cons in your eyes? I’m giving away a complete set of the first five Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books, including the latest release STALKED, to one commenter! WINNER is Maureen! Allison will be contacting her to send her STALKED – Congrats!



    Author Bio:

    New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of eighteen novels and several short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.

    Crime fiction, mysteries, and romantic suspense have always been Allison’s favorites, so it’s no surprise that her romantic thrillers have a dark suspense edge. Reviewers have called her books “terrifying,” “mesmerizing,” “fast-paced,” “pulse-pounding,” “wonderfully complex,” “layered,” and “a master of suspense – tops in the genre.” Lee Child called LOVE ME TO DEATH, “A world-class nail-biter” and Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.”

    Writing three books a year is more than a full-time job, and so is raising five kids, but Allison believes life is too short to be bored. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, playing video games, watching old movies or new television shows, driving to or attending volleyball / basketball / football / soccer games, and on occasion even makes it to the gym where she enjoys people-watching more than exercise.

    Allison is currently writing the Lucy Kincaid series about an FBI recruit. The third book, IF I SHOULD DIE, is on sale now. SILENCED will be out on April 24, 2012, followed by STALKED on 10.30.12 and STOLEN in spring 2013. Also look for THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER, an anthology of romantic suspense edited by Sandra Brown, on sale 5.29.12

    Allison can be reached through her website | Facebook | Twitter
    Buy her books hereAllison Brennan
    And order more of her books here

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