What makes for a great fiction action adventure novel on terrorism?

Does the story need to shock---ie; thousands of people are at risk of being poisoned by bioterrorists in a local college town  OR do the characters need to be someone we can identify with? What makes for a good story and a page turner that will keep you enthralled?

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JohnS353 years ago

In my new book, I went for realism. The main characters are not gung-ho CIA types, but two unlikely stingers thrown together in an unexpected catastrophe. It's a fictional take on a subject on everyone’s mind today:

Jihad in America travels on the
wind. Can the government, dodgy as it is, possibly stand up to a real attack?

While a nuclear terrorist attack is unlikely, in a bioterror
epidemic, the genetically engineered plague is invisible. Our borders are
vulnerable, and metal detectors are useless, even as ISIS, the Islamic State,
raises its menacing black flag in Syria and Iraq.

What if the government is helpless, gridlocked in perpetual
party conflict and rancor?

BEYOND TERRORISM: SURVIVAL is the fictional story of two
unlikely strangers who found a way to survive the apocalypse, the most deadly
terrorist attack in history.

Read a sample on my website: http://www.sanmiguelallendebooks.com/beyondterrorism.html

Thousands of people at risk is not a shock tactic, it's a mechanism for setting up tension and conflict. Conflict is at the heart of all dramatic literature. Seeing how the resolution of the conflict plays out is what will keep people turning pages, or tuned to the channel, or in their seats after intermission.
Of course, if you don't have well-developed characters, nobody will give half a flip about the conflict, because nobody will care what happens to the characters. This doesn't mean we have to identify with them, just that we find them interesting or compelling. A compelling character that we despise is preferable to a boring or cliched one that we identify with.
This is not an OR situation, it's an AND situation.

Jayefuu7 years ago
They key to any good story is the characters!
orksecurity7 years ago
Plausibility. Strong characters. Suspense. Surprise.,

Personally, I feel that if you have to rely on shock you're doing it wrong.
Burf7 years ago
Start with a big bang and finish with an even bigger bang.  In between, I want character development and suspense . If a book doesn't have protagonists that I hate or love or hate and love, the story loses me. And, it helps if I am anxious to turn the pages so I can find out what happens next.