In a previous "promotion" post, I advertised author James Dashner, and he, in return, gave me a copy of his new book, "The 13th Reality." And guess what? In "reality," I was quite pleased with how well written it was. Besides that, my fourteen-year-old daughter couldn't put it down.
But I digress. What I'd really like to talk about is three of the techniques Dashner used to create his well-done suspense.
1)-He added a puzzle to the story, or in this case, a bunch of mysterious letters which contained clues that both the main character, Tick, and the reader wanted to figure out. True, some of the answers were mildly obvious, but I felt that those that were didn't detract from the suspense; they only served to make the reader feel smart.
2)-Every chapter ended with a cliff hanger, such as an unanswered question, an unresolved conflict, or the threat of future harm to come.
3)-He used Hitchcock's "bomb under the card table" technique. In fact, one of his most suspenseful sections had a threatening, mechanical device attached to the bottom of the main character's car. The main character didn't know it was there, but the reader sure did!
So, again, well done, J. Dashner.