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Updated Special Title Lists – Suspense & Mystery, and Heroes in Pursuit

newimproved As we said several weeks ago, we were simply bombarded with submissions when we opened these two lists up for your nominations, with over 150 recommendations for each. We have now posted the revised lists at AAR, but have a few issues to raise as you’ll see below.

Suspense & Mystery List. We’re afraid that the Suspense & Mystery list – as currently constituted – may have outlived its usefulness. This list was created in 1997, long before the power search was available at AAR. We believe that the Special Title Lists should provide something different than the power search feature. For example, we don’t have a Special Title list for Medieval Historicals or European Historicals or Contemporary Romances. So does it make sense to have a Special Title list with part of its definition as Romantic Suspense? We don’t think so, but we’d like your thoughts.

We took several steps to maintain the usefulness and readability of the list. First, any title featuring a spy, warrior (military), or P.I. was excluded from the list and will be added to the Spies, P.I.s, & Warriors list later this summer. Third, we split the “contemporary romance” section into multiple categories. Third, we shortened the entries by listing any series by an author in a single entry. The latter step doesn’t help with authors with multiple single romantic suspense titles. For example, the list now includes 7 titles by Amanda Quick, 13 by Linda Howard, 8 by Jayne Ann Krentz, and 22 by Nora Roberts.

Faced with an ever-growing list, we initially considered revising the definition, deleting all romantic suspense, and turning it into a new list of just mysteries with strong romantic threads. In this permutation, we would include the mystery series name (as currently shown on the list) but would also provide a brief description of the series and the title of the first entry in the series. Our second thought was to have two major sections within the list, one for mysteries, and the second for gothic romances. In this format we would still exclude straight romantic suspense from the list. But after all the work some of you went to in submitting so very many titles, we felt that wasn’t fair. So, we’re asking you for your thoughts about the list.

* Do you want to keep it exactly as it is currently organized, with romantic suspense a part of the list?

* Do you prefer to have the list completely revised and just include mysteries with strong romantic threads and delete gothic romances and romantic suspense?

* Do you prefer to have the list revised to include just mysteries and gothic romances and delete romantic suspense?

* Or, do you have another suggestion?

Heroes in Pursuit. Your response regarding the Heroes in Pursuit list was equally overwhelming. We were able to add 121 new titles to the list! While the majority of these are European Historicals and Contemporaries, we are especially pleased that a number of very interesting Alternate Reality titles were nominated. Granted, as soon as you get the fated mates trope, you get a hero in pursuit (very rarely, a heroine), but even here it is great that a number of the best among these books were nominated. There are also several male/male romance on the Heroes in Pursuit list now.

The book that received the most nominations was The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, and the author who received the most nominations for various titles was Nora Roberts, followed by Nalini Singh. And there are several classics which have found their place on the list only now: the two Georgette Heyer novels Powder and Patch (1923) and The Devil’s Cub (1932), A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute (1950), Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936 – I know, not truly a romance – but still, what a book!), and the even older The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull (first published in 1919). On the other hand, there are now twelve 2013 titles on the list, with Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian published as recently as June.

Thanks as always for all your help keeping this important part of AAR up-to-date. Please check back here in early August! We plan to do a limited update of two Special Title lists at that time.

– Cindy Smith, LinnieGayl Kimmel & Rike Horstmann

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