Friday, June 2, 2017

Top 10 Favorite Suspense Authors

By Kelly Bridgewater

Every writer or reader has a number of authors who books grace their library. You know, the author who they follow on Facebook, praying for news of another book or book series. Of course, I have a number of them who have inspired and encouraged my personal writing, but they are also the writers who I LOVE reading and studied the structures of their novels to see how I can incorporate their skills into my novels.

Suspense has been my favorite genre ever since I was a little girl. I read all of the Nancy Drew stories in one summer. I looked for the mysteries books from The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley series. Suspense is my first love. 

So without further ado, I announce my top ten favorite suspense authors with the novel that inspired me . . .

1.) Steven James, The Knight

From Amazon
 The Knight is one of my most favorite suspense novels. I never saw the bad guy coming. It was completely out of the left field. I have highlighted and put post -it notes throughout the entire books. Steven James Patrick Bowers' series captures my attention, and I love that James spends a lot of time creating this series.

A unique clue is left for FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers at the scene of a ritual murder: a tape recording predicting Bowers' own next move. At a subsequent murder, Bowers uncovers something else: an ancient manuscript being used as a template for the crimes. And the more he deciphers the codes of the text, the more he fears how it will end. Because Bowers isn't closing in on the killer at all. The killer is closing in on him...

2.)  Dee Henderson, The Negotiator

From Amazon
 As a young child, I was drawn to suspense and mysteries novels, but as I tried to read clean novels as a young adult, it was really hard to find authors in the Christian genre who wrote books that fit my taste. Luckily, while working at a Christian bookstore, a fellow employee was reading one of the O'Malley books. After discussing the book, I went and checked the first book out. I was hooked. I still thank Dee Henderson for introducing me to Christian suspense.

FBI agent Dave Richman from Danger in the Shadows is back. He's about to meet Kate O'Malley, and his life will never be the same. She's a hostage negotiator. He protects people. He's about to find out that falling in love with a hostage negotiator is one thing, but keeping her safe is another!

Introducing the O'Malleys, an inspirational group of seven, all abandoned or orphaned as teens, who have made the choice to become a loyal and committed family. They have chosen their own surname, O'Malley, and have stood by each other through moments of joy and heartache. Their stories are told in CBA best-selling, inspirational romantic suspense novels that rock your heart and restore strength and hope to your spirit.

3.) Kathy Herman, A Shred of Evidence

From Amazon

After devouring Dee Henderson's writings, I still had the thirst for more Christian suspense. Luckily, a lady at the local library requested Kathy Herman. I devoured her books and anxiously awaited for new ones.

Ellen Jones, first introduced in the Baxter series, enjoys a leisurely lunch at a Seaport restaurant where she overhears a private conversation at the table next to her—and disturbing accusations involving the husband of a woman she has recently befriended.

When Ellen goes to the husband’s employer and cannot get answers, she digs through old newspaper articles and stumbles onto information too frightening to keep to herself. Will Ellen become enmeshed in speculation and gossip—or will she take the lead and become a catalyst for truth and healing?

4.) Terri Blackstock, Cape Refuge

From Amazon
I have Terri Blackstock around the same time I was reading Herman and Henderson. I was reading glad that once I read Cape Refuge that she had a huge booklist and my local library had all of them. I jumped into reading ALL of them in a couple of months. Boy, was I glad that I did. She captured my love for mystery. I own all her books and enjoyed coming back to her novels when I want a good read to take me away.

 Mystery and suspense combine in this first book in an exciting new 4-book series by best-selling author Terri Blackstock. Thelma and Wayne Owens run a bed and breakfast in Cape Refuge, Georgia. They minister to the seamen on the nearby docks and prisoners just out of nearby jails, holding services in an old warehouse and taking many of the "down-and-outers" into their home. They have two daughters: the dutiful Morgan who is married to Jonathan, a fisherman, and helps them out at the B & B, and Blair, the still-single town librarian, who would be beautiful if it weren’t for the serious scar on the side of her face. After a heated, public argument with his in-laws, Jonathan discovers Thelma and Wayne murdered in the warehouse where they held their church services. Considered the prime suspect, Jonathan is arrested. Grief-stricken, Morgan and Blair launch their own investigation to help Matthew Cade, the town’s young police chief, find the real killer. Shady characters and a raft of suspects keep the plot twisting and the suspense building as we learn not only who murdered Thelma and Wayne, but also the secrets about their family’s past and the true reason for Blair’s disfigurement.

5.) Lynette Eason, Too Close to Home

From Amazon
 Being a huge fan of Dee Henderson's writing, so when she recommends a new author, I jumped on the chance to read Lynette Eason's first series, Women of Justice. I was drawn in instantly and haven't been disappointed with anything Eason has written. All her books are fast paced with deep characters that stay with me long after I finish the novel.

Samantha Cash is the F.B.I.'s secret weapon. Her methods are invisible, and she never stops until the case is closed. When missing teens begin turning up dead in a small Southern town, Samantha is assigned to help local chief Connor Wolfe find the killer. And he has two problems with that. There's her faithin God and herself. And then there's the fact that she looks exactly like his late wife. As they get close to an answer, the case becomes personal. The killer seems to be taking an interest in Connor's 16 year old daughter, who thinks her dad is getting way too protective. Can't a girl just have some fun? Too Close to Home ratchets up the suspense with each page, and will have readers cheering for the characters they love as justice is served and love grows even in the face of danger. Read this one with the lights on!

6.)  Irene Hannon, Against All Odds

From Amazon
Another book that was recommended by Dee Henderson. I was excited to find another suspense novel that I could spend a couple of hours with. Luckily, she is still contracted to write more romantic suspense novels, so I have more suspense to enjoy.

Her life is in danger--and so is his heart.

For FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Evan Cooper and his partner, dignitary protection duty should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately, beautiful but determined Monica Callahan isn't making it easy. Estranged from her diplomat father--who is involved in a sensitive hostage situation in the Middle East--she refuses to be intimidated by a related terrorist threat back in the States. That is, until a chilling warning convinces her that the danger is very real--and escalating.

As Coop and his partner do their best to keep her safe, the threat against Monica is rising. And with every second that ticks by, Coop knows that the odds of saving the only woman who has ever breached the walls around his heart are dropping. After all, terrorists aren't known for their patience--or their mercy.

Irene Hannon is the author of more than twenty-five novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, long walks, cooking, gardening, traveling, and spending time with family. She and her husband make their home in Missouri.

7.) Christy Barritt, Hazardous Duty

From Amazon
 I came across Christy Barritt when her book, Hazardous Duty, was Free on Kindle. The synopsis sounded interesting. I thought what the heck do I have to loose. It was free. I'm glad I did. I have read everything that Barritt published, and now am on her street team where I can promote her books, which I really enjoy doing.

Gabby St. Claire dropped out of school on her way to completing a degree in forensic science. Instead, she did the next best thing: she started her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet. With the help of her neighbor, Riley Thomas, Gabby plays detective. But can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

8.) Dani Pettrey, Submerged

From Amazon
Another book recommended by Dee Henderson. I truly hope that Henderson got compensated for all the work she has been recommending. I really looked forward to trying Dani Pettrey's novels. I enjoy the wild outdoors, Alaska, and mysteries, so the series sounded interesting. I really enjoyed this series featuring a family.

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.

Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town...until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

9.) Carrie Stuart Parks, A Cry from the Dust

From Amazon
While reading the synopsis for A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks captured my imagination. This sounded like nothing I had ever read before, so I couldn't wait to see what type of mystery she would come up with. Being a debut author, she captured my attention with an ailing older woman as the protagonist. I have enjoyed all three books in this novel, and I can't wait for more to be written.

In the shadow of the Mormon church, a 19th-century conspiracy is about to be shattered by a 21st-century forensic artist. 
In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day--but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims.
When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn't expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life.
But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror.
As evidence of a cover-up mounts--a cover-up spanning the entire history of the Mormon church--Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs.
Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself?
In A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks utilizes her own background as a celebrated, FBI-trained forensic artist to blend fact and fiction into a stunning mystery. 
10.) Debra White Smith, Second Chances
From Amazon
 The Seven Sisters series is a different type of mystery novel. All of the seven sisters are college friends who decided to stay in touch and help each other out as life progresses. These novels feature romance intertwined with the suspense, but I enjoyed reading them. I still remember the plots ten years after reading them. They aren't as widely known as the ones mentioned above, but I enjoyed them. 
The Seven Sisters series begins as Marilyn Douglas Thatcher’s happy life as a minister’s wife is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for another woman. Marilyn begins to piece together a new life that doesn’t include a husband or God. When she meets her charming new neighbor, Joshua Langham, her heart begins to awaken. But when she learns that Joshua is a pastor, she decides to cut off all contact with him. She will not risk her heart again.
Joshua is also trying to make a new life of his own, one free from his sinful past. But when a former acquaintance begins to send him mysterious letters, Joshua realizes that his secret—and his life—are in danger. Second Chances is a tender story of redemption, forgiveness, and the healing power of God’s love.

So there you have it . . . my favorite suspense or mystery writers. Have you read any of these books or books in these series? Is there any author you would like to add the collection? 


  1. I also like the authors Dee Henderson, Kathy Herman, Irene Hannon and Terri Blackstock. I love Dee's O'Malley's series. Some of my favorite books.

  2. Thanks, Stephanie!!! Suspense is my all-time favorite genre. Love these authors !