How to tell the difference between a thriller and a romance

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I picked up Meryl Sawyer’s 2005 publication “Better off Dead” from a shelf of mysteries and thrillers.  It was well on its way to being a decent thriller, with a heroine who is in a witness protection program and the target of a hit team sent by remorseless criminals.  Then she meets A MAN, and the plot is put on pause while they rhapsodize about aspects of each others anatomy.   The lengthiness and detailed nature of these digressions were surprising until, in the middle of the paperback, I found an inserted page with a message from the editors thanking me for reading this fine romance novel.

So now I know what makes a book a romance novel, but I still don’t quite get Meryl Sawyer.  She can write a competent thriller, but she doesn’t make the most of her plot, opting instead to veer off into a romantic ending.  Maybe the market for romance is less competitive or better paying.

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