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Do you know what some of the most commonly asked questions are? Genre questions. Either asking us what genre a certain book or series is in, or what exactly is that genre. After spending so much time immersed in the world of romance, it has become second nature to instantly catergorise books into their respective genre, or sub-genre. Just a glance at the blurb, or even just the cover then I can tell you what genre it will be. Of course, not everything is black and white and not every book is so easy to label, but a majority are.

We have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth guide. In this, we will tell you the definition of the genre, what types of characters you may expect to see, popular troupes within a genre, some of our favourite authors and series within this genre. And anything else we can think of! By the end of the guide you should be able to tell what book is what and have a few recommendations to pick up.

The fourteenth chapter in this guide is *drum roll please*



A romantic suspense is a novel that combines romance as well as a suspense, mystery or thriller elements as a core component to the plot. While other genres may appear in the story as well, such as paranormal or urban fantasy elements, it is the suspense element that is the most important and occurs simultaneously with the blooming romance.

The Basics

Essential characteristics of a romantic suspense include:

  • A threat of danger or a mystery to be solved
  • A strong promise of romance or the development of a romance between at least one main couple
  • A conclusion or resolution to the threat and/or the mystery has been solved at the end of the novel
  • An alpha male hero

As mentioned earlier, not all romantic suspense novels are in a contemporary setting, however, the majority of the ones are. There are some series that combine urban fantasy or paranormal elements into them as well.

Tropes & Characters you may meet…

Elite Team of Operatives / Cops

Instinct and expertise are two things that many characters of this genre will posses. So you’ll find a lot of highly intelligent and highly efficient characters. Some may be part of an elite team of operatives like Julie Ann Walker’s BKI Inc. series and others may be cops, such as Eve Dallas in J.D. Robb’s In Death series. With their knowledge and skill, you’re bound to have a riveting read!

Private Security Team / Bodyguards

This trope and character type is a bit more specific because it doesn’t necessarily involve bigger institutions but rather more private, inclusive matters. An example of a private security team series is the Black Ops series by Cindy Gerard. For bodyguards, Lori Foster  and Cindy Gerard have series dedicated to this!

Navy SEALs / Ex-Military

One of the most popular tropes and character types are the SEALS or ex-military. Although some characters may not be active in service, it doesn’t mean that the actions stops. If you’re interested in some SEAL or ex-military action, check out Maya Banks’ KGI series or Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters.

Why UTC loves Romantic Suspense

Everyone needs a little action every now and then and when you’re in the mood for some pulse-pounding romance and suspense, there are an abundance of great reads to choose from in this genre. Unlike some other genres, the Romantic Suspense genre really focuses on the little details, creating a rich, potent experience for readers!

UTC Required Reading List

What are your favourite romantic suspense books?


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great post! j d robb and cherry adair are my favorites but I also enjoy cindy gerard andlinda lael miller.

Monique D

Let’s not forget Regan Black, Lena Diaz, and Angi Morgan!


The Tempting SEALs series and the Elite Ops series by Lora Leigh

Laura Lovejoy- Brunk

I have wanted to read Cut and Run series forever, but no kindle options and im not taking out a loan to read the paperbacks. Not sure why paperbacks are $$$ and no kindle option, but its very disappointing cause i heard its a awesome series.

I think it’s definitely worth the read! Hope you get a chance to try it out soon 🙂

Amy R

The Cut & Run series and Thirds series are some of my all time favorites. Susan Andersen has some really good romantic suspense.