I’m taking it as given that suspense is legitimate fodder for a modern novel. I don’t endorse gratuitous violence, but fiction could hardly exist without the conflict brought out by a good villain.
Modern suspense novels, many of which I thoroughly enjoy, tend to be plot-driven. We read them for the action, but once the thrill is over, it’s over.
At the other extreme are character-driven novels. At their best, they reveal the people in the story—their personalities, struggles, emotions. You understand them at a deep level. They become a part of your life.
If you introduce suspense into a character-driven novel, I think you will evoke some strong gut-wrenching emotions. I’d remember a story like that. That’s the kind of novel I set out to write.
Can anyone suggest the names of modern suspense novels that are strongly character-driven? Please feel free to comment.