I think any good suspense or mystery novel is riddled with questions. Figuring out the answers is what makes them interesting reads.
I've been thinking about the power of questions to build suspense as I watch each episode of the television show JUSTIFIED (Warning: Small Spoilers Included In This Post).
Despite the fact I think this is the program's weakest season, I keep tuning in because I want answers to the questions they've raised.
(Questions other than: What the hell has Raylan EVER seen in Winona? and Why isn't the best bromance ever (between Raylan and Boyd) not getting any screen time this season?)
This season I've particularly admired the use of "The Room". "The Room" where this season's biggest baddie, Robert Quarles, does his Very Bad Things, is brilliant in its simplicity. We got one glimpse inside it early on, and then "the room" has never been seen again.
We've heard terrible sounds coming from it, we've listened to Quarles talking about cleaning it and getting it painted (to cover up the evidence of the very bad things) and we've held our breath waiting to see if Raylan or a deputy would stumble in and discover the atrocities committed there. At this point "The Room" is practically a character.
And yet we don't REALLY know much about it. The writers have left it an open question and as viewers we try to fill in the disturbing answers. It is, in my opinion, a brilliant device.
I'm also loving the character of Ellstin Limehouse (played with sublime perfection by Mykelti Williamson). He reminds me of an older and wiser Boyd. We KNOW he's not a good guy, but he's so clever and charming that it's hard to root against him. Plus, he's been providing shelter to abused women for decades, so he does have his redeeming qualities. I love the way the writers have played with the question of just what was his relationship with Raylan's mother, way back when? And why on Earth would that crafty Mags Bennett do her banking with him? All the questions surrounding this man is what makes him an interesting character!
Even though my books THE FIRST VICTIM and CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN are very different styles, they both revolve around the central question: How far would you go for someone you love?
If you're a fan of JUSTIFIED, what do you think is the central question of the series?
If you're not a fan of the show, what kinds of questions do you like to see characters struggle with?
Do you prefer stories that leave questions open-ended or do you demand answers?