Tue
Apr 17 2012 8:14am

Our Romance Virgin Gets Thrilled: The Next Gateway Experiment Book is Romantic Suspense!

Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin

We’ve been leading H&H staffer Christopher Morgan through the multi-genred paths of romance, and now we’ve come to the twistiest one:

Romantic Suspense!

In comments, please recommend a romantic suspense title for Chris to read next, as part of his romance virgin devirginification project, keeping in mind the romance has to be as important as the suspense part.

He’ll report back with his thoughts after he’s chosen a book to read.

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39 comments
Jen G.
1. Jen G.
Suzanne Brockmann's The Unsung Hero. Multiple love stories, including one set in WWII, and the beginning of a great series.
Brie Clementine
3. Brie.Clem
I second The Unsung Hero, although Over the Edge (book 3) is my favorite of the series. Also love Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts. And if you like more suspense and less romance anything by Karen Rose should be a good choice.
Jen G.
4. Davee Jones
Hi, you could check out Finless. An erotic, edgy romance tinged with BDSM and written to appeal to men and women. Yes, it is my creation, but I would love honest, opinionated reviews and even prepared to provide an ARC to you in exchange for a published review. Just let me know
finlessbook at Gmail.
Christopher Morgan
5. cmorgan
Man, not sure what you guys are going to pick for me, but I really want one of those blue suite numbers. And that smirk? That guy knows how to play it. Wish I were that cool.

As an aside, I did spend quite a bit of time with World War II in college, just saying... :) I've heard a lot about Nora Robers, and have seen stuff for Iris Johansen, but I thought she was more mystery-y, but as I am constantly reminded in this genre, I know nothing...
Vanessa Ouadi
6. Lafka
I usually don't read romantic suspense but I've read and really liked Linda Howard's Mr Perfect. I think it's a good compromise between romance, suspense and humour :-) Plus, it's a standalone.
But, once again, I'm not into romantic suspense at all, so I've no idea whether or not Mr Perfect could be considered as quite representative of the genre.
Kiersten Hallie Krum
7. Kiersten
Have to second the Brockmann recommendation, tho prefer The Defiant Hero and Out of Control to The Unsung Hero and Over the Edge, though those 2 are great too (I dont like A story in Over the Edge but love B and C stories in that book). Also, check out Roxanne St Claire's Bulletcatcher series, particularly the First You Run, Then You Hide, and Now You Die trilogy.

Nora delivers a bunch of great RS, but I think you'd likely enjoy her alter ego JD Robb more. Start with the book that started it all: Naked in Death. You won't be sorry.
Kristin O
8. krismas29
I don't read much romantic suspense, but recently finished Jami Alden's Beg for Mercy and loved it.
Jen G.
9. Lucky4
I do like Suzanne Brockmann but I feel like she doesn't hit her stride until later in that series. I really like Karin Slaughter -- although her books can be a little violent but really good stories. Blindsighted is the first in her Grant County Series -- which is one of the best series I have ever read. Iris Johannsen's Face of Deception was a favorite of mine, too.
Kiersten Hallie Krum
10. Kiersten
@Lucky4 - see I think just the opposite. Once you hit Gone Too Far, the series takes a noticeable nosedive IMO. I don't even read them any more and there was a time when I was buying them in hardcover on release day. But, that's what makes romance so great - one person's DNF is another one's keeper shelf
Brianna
11. carmenlire
Any suspense novel by Nora Roberts gets my vote! Mt. Perfect by Linda Howard is amazing too; I agree.
Heather Waters (redline_)
12. redline_
I'm gonna add my votes for either Brockmann's Over the Edge or Howard's Mr. Perfect.
Jen G.
13. Tammye
I second the Over the Edge and Mr. Perfect too! I also liked One Summer by Karen Robards.
Jen G.
15. JacquiC
I also love Over the Edge.

Other possibilities would be Laura Griffin's books. Untraceable is the first in the Tracers series and is very good. I also love Pamela Clare and Cindy Gerard.
Allison Brennan
16. Allison_Brennan
He should read either Roxanne St. Claire's Guardian Angelinos series or Laura Griffin's Tracers series. Both strong romance and strong suspense.

One of my all-time favorite romantic suspense books is Lisa Gardner's first single title, THE PERFECT HUSBAND. She's gotten more thriller since, but her first 3-4 books were RS. Another fantastic RS title is Iris Johansen's THE SEARCH or Tess Gerritsen's THE SURGEON.
Allison Brennan
17. Allison_Brennan
BTW, I agree with Kiersten -- I love JD Robb, and it's definitely a terrific RS series.
Carmen Pinzon
18. bungluna
I would go with "Naked in Death" by JD Robb. Otherwhise I'd second "Mr. Perfect" and "The Unsung Hero". I don't like to read books in middle of series first, so I'd suggest always starting with the first one.
Jen G.
19. Blonde_Betty
Suzanne Brockmann gets my vote. Gone Too Far is my favorite, but I also like Out of Control.

Allison Brennan's Love Me to Death is also great. Though I warn you, once reading it you will go back and buy all of the backlist.

Roxanne St. Claire's Bullet Catchers or Guardian Angelinos.

Laura Griffin's Snapped. Not the first Tracer, but a great story.
Jen G.
20. Barb in Maryland
Loving all the suggestions! I think our guy can't go wrong with any of them.
Here's a few of my all time favorites;
Nora Roberts--Hidden Riches--burnt out cop, sassy lady antiques dealer, scumbag sadistic collector--great stuff.
Kay Hooper--Out of the Shadows--touch of paranormal. Though third of this series, it can stand on its own. And besides, this is Bishop and Miranda's story. 'Nough said!
Elizabeth Lowell--Wrong Hostage. A lot of recent Lowell books have been rather ho-hum, IMHO, but this one really crackles.
Cristina P
21. krissapl
I agree with Suzanne Brockmann. I also liked Gone Too Far, but if I remember correctly it's because those 2 characters were present in previous books which added to the tension. So, it wouldn't be so good to go straight for Gone To Far. Over the Edge is one of my favorites from SB and can be read as stand alone without problems. What I didn't really enjoy was the WWII part, but I think that can be skipped over without issues. It's not that much, anyway.
I don't normally start a series in the middle, but I did with this one and The Unsung Hero is a book I didn't finish.. So, I personally wouldn't recommend that one.

Also love Mr. Perfect.

Also, I second Pamela Clare's I Team series. Really loved that one.

I'm very interested in the comments here, I already added some books on my TBR from the suggestions.
Jen G.
22. Dragonfly
You can't go wrong with Nora Roberts. Chasing Fire (about fire jumpers) or The Search (search and rescue dogs and serial killer) are very good reads. Also, The Blackhills (wildlife biologist/cop/serial killer/big cats) and Tribute (house flipper/crazy stalker-neighbor guy) are also good.
Lege Artis
23. LegeArtis
Everyone suggested the best that romantic suspense genre has to offer, and I'll only add the awesome Ash Trilogy from Shiloh Walker. It has that perfect 50/50 blend of romance and suspense...
I can't wait Chris's post on this one...:)
Allison Brennan
24. Allison_Brennan
Thank you Betty! We have the same taste, because I loved GONE TOO FAR by Brockmann, and love Laura and Rocki :)
Jen G.
25. TracyS
I second (or is it third?) OUT OF CONTROL by Brockmann or any of Nora Roberts' romantic suspense books.
Vanessa Ouadi
27. Lafka
So far, Linda Howards' Mr Perfect is the book that got the more votes. But Suzanne Brockmann (with her Troubleshooters series) and Nora Roberts (several books mentionned) are the 2 authors that were the more seconded! The choice is gonna be hard O_o
Rachel Hyland
28. RachelHyland
I'm going to second Barb in Maryland's Kay Hooper suggestion, because I love Hooper to distraction. I would, however, recommend starting with Stealing Shadows, the first in her Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series -- but only because I am slightly obsessive about reading books in order.

Of the front runners, however, Mr. Perfect for sure, notwithstanding it's overbearing Alpha Hero. (I can forgive much, with dialogue as sharp as Howard's.) In fact, I may go and read it again now myself...
Jen G.
29. SandyB
I really liked the Ash Trilogy by Shiloh Walker. I would also recommend the Kelly Group International series by Maya Banks. It is a great series, plenty of action and romance.
Jen G.
30. kreads4fun
Any Linda Howard (especially Mackenzie's, Kell Sabin(4 books) and John Medina(3 books) series), Nora Roberts' Tribute & JD Robb's Naked in Death, etc., and Elizabeth Lowell/Anne Maxwell are my triumvirate of go to Romantic Suspense authors. These three are in a league of their own, with all other suggestions viable, but distant also rans.
Jen G.
31. LynneW
I just recommended Shiloh Walker's Ash Trilogy to someone who's never tried romantic suspense, and she enjoyed it so much she read all three books in less than a week ~ she says she's never been so gripped by a storyline before. The problem with many of the others suggested here is that technology and social issues have changed so much since they were written that they probably aren't the best choice for someone new to the genre. Mr. Perfect is a classic example - I just reread it last month with fond memories leading to expectations it failed to satisfy; it really hasn't aged well. And Brockmann's series, while cutting-edge ten years ago, isn't going to provide that same feel now because it's been done so often since. As always, YMMV
Jen G.
32. PeggyS
I would suggest:
Any of Maya Banks KGI series - my favorite is the second one No Place to Run, or Pamela Clare's I-team series - I read Naked Edge which is the 4th and then went and bought the books 1-3 and now she is on my must have list. Of course any of Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters are also a good choice.
Jen G.
33. tiago5
My suggestions are Christine Feehan's Dark Series and GhostWalker Series. Really great reads. Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters Series. If nothing else read ACHERON. I consider this book to be her Masterpiece of work. You will not be disappointed.
Tina Lane
34. tinalane
I reccomend If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker. Any book in her Ash trilogy is great!! I agree nwith tiago5 also!! ACHERON is by far Sherrilyn's best book!!!!
Jen G.
35. Missy K
I definitely think Naked in Death by JD Robb and the whole series are fantastic books. I also think Allison Brennen's books would be a great choice, but since I love them all, it would be hard for me to pick just one.
Elizabeth Kielma
36. missy030710
oops sorry Allison...I spelled your last name wrong....Brennan...but I really do love your books
Lege Artis
38. LegeArtis
@LynneW- Oh, thank God, I thought I was the only one. I read Mr. Perfect eight years ago and I remember that I was blown away... I read it again in september last year and had the same feeling as you. I was like: "Oh, come on, that list is not such a big deal to become national sensation!". But for someone who is "virgin" in this genre it may be just the right thing to try it. And I love Linda Howard 'cause she gave me one of the most heartbreaking books ever- Cry No More, and that book I still adore.
Jen G.
39. MoJo
My top would be: Lisa Gardner The Perfect Husband ; Karen Rose Don't Tell; Marliss Melton Forget Me Not; Cherry Adair Kiss and Tell or Linda Howard Cry No More
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