Tricks for building suspense (from a thriller that has it down to a science)

Suspense is important in any genre.  In a thriller, it is critical.  It makes the difference between a good read and a great read.  It keeps us up nights and it leads reviewers to those coveted phrases like, "a heart-stopping page-turner!" and "an action-packed thrill ride!" 

But how do you incorporate suspense?  How do you bring your novel from good to great?  How do you keep us turning those pages, and invite the clichéd reviews you so desperately crave?  Below are some observations for how one highly successful author has done it, using an example from one of my all-time favorite science thrillers.  If you can't guess the work, please do yourself a favor and pick up some classic Crichton.  I became a molecular biologist because of this novel.  And here are a few of the techniques that made me love it...


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