The suspense & thriller genre is closely related to mysteries. Therefore, it is no surprise that it carries many of the same characteristics—plots written at a fast pace and with much tension driving the story forward.
However, what sets suspense
and thriller novels apart from mysteries is that the protagonist isn’t trying to figure out
who the villain most of the time. Rather, the focus of the suspense or thriller is on trying to stop or survive the villain. Sometimes
this will take the form of preventing a crime before it happens. Or it might
deal with bringing to justice someone who has evaded the law for one reason or
another. Either way, the protagonist will be on the run, unable to go to normal
law enforcement agencies for one reason or another.
As a result, the protagonist’s life might be in danger. His family, his property, his career, and his reputation might be at risk. Moreover, the
stakes—the potential negative repercussions of failure—are much higher: we are
not simply trying to solve a murder, but stop a corrupt official from becoming president
or prevent a mob takeover of a city, for example.