Shannon Stacey

A romantic suspense by any other name

With 72 Hours releasing in a week, it’s occupying a good share of my thoughts right now. And after watching “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy”, one of the things I’ve been pondering is subgenre labeling. (Sometimes the connection is only obvious to me, but it’s there.)

On my Books page, I have 72 Hours classified as romantic suspense, just as it’s listed on the Samhain Publishing coming soon page. But—according to my own possibly whacked definitions—it’s kinda not really. It’s more of an action-adventure romance.

What’s the difference? I have no clue if there’s a definitive difference as far as the industry is concerned, but to me—as a reader—there is. Action-adventure romances are less concerned about the why and the who than with the kicking of ass. Even though the hero(ine) of a suspense thriller is often the law enforcement hunter, the overall theme is of being hunted, and usually the identity and the motive are hidden. In action-adventure, the main characters may also be hunted, but they quickly go on the offensive, kicking ass and taking names—names the reader/viewer often gets right up front. Suspense involves taking puzzle pieces and trying to make them fit together while somewhere out there, somebody’s waiting to hurt you. In action-adventure, the gun’s to your head, but you blow up the puzzle box and sift through the scorched pieces, hoping the bad guy’s in there. In suspense, the reader/viewer is trying to solve the puzzle along with the protagonist. In action-adventure, (s)he’s just along for the wild ride, hoping the protagonist lives to fight another day. The psychological vs. the physical.


Suspense: Kiss the Girls, Silence of the Lambs,
Action-Adventure: Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Tomb Raider, Under Siege.


Suspense: Lisa Gardner
Action-Adventure: Suzanne Brockmann

Of course, that’s just my personal take on it. Your mileage may vary. But if I had to classify 72 Hours, it would be: action movie meets chick flick on the page.

Or…an action-adventure romance.

9 comments to “A romantic suspense by any other name”

  1. Jaci Burton
      · June 12th, 2006 at 12:53 pm · Link

    72 Hours is definitely action adventure romance

    Wait til I sub-genre classify Surviving Demon Island…hehehe

  2. AngieW
      · June 12th, 2006 at 5:21 pm · Link

    Let’s just call 72 hours a damn good book and call it a day. :devil:

  3. Lori
      · June 12th, 2006 at 8:24 pm · Link

    So excited to read this book! :woot:

  4. Shannon
      · June 12th, 2006 at 8:52 pm · Link

    Thank you. :penguin:

  5. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · June 12th, 2006 at 10:32 pm · Link


    And definitely the stuff I want to read, so 72 Hours is on my list!

  6. Anna Lucia
      · June 13th, 2006 at 2:42 am · Link

    Totally agree, Shan. I’ve always known I write more of an action adventure romance than a suspenseful one. That’s what I love to write and read! (And watch)

  7. Heather Rae
      · June 13th, 2006 at 11:37 am · Link

    I agree with Angie. Let’s just call it a damn good book and call it a day! I cannot wait to read this book, Shan. Is it the 20th yet?


  8. Nicole
      · June 13th, 2006 at 10:28 pm · Link

    Well, when you classify it as action-adventure romance, that makes me want it more than if it was romantic suspense.

    Though I actually have really really thought about getting it.

  9. Shannon
      · June 13th, 2006 at 10:56 pm · Link

    Then we’ll definitely call it an action-adventure romance. :thumb:


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