Imagine, for a moment, if a mystery novel read like this:
There is a small English village named Piddlington-on-the-Stowe. One dark, stormy night a body is discovered inside one of the quaint thatched cottages. An amateur detective quickly solves the case by picking up clues the police never find. Tea is served.
Every mystery, no matter what its sub-genre, needs suspense. Readers want a few moments of wondering and worrying what's going to happen next. A good mystery will keep readers turning pages deep into the night.
Having survived a certain gold medal hockey game yesterday, I'll offer these observations on how your characters might react to a suspenseful or tension-filled situation.
Heart rates increase. Your character might be able to hear their heart pounding in their ears or feel their heart has moved up to their throat.
Attention sharpens. The outside world disappears as your character focuses all their energy on the crisis at hand.
Time disappears. Time ceases to tick along at its regular rate. Seconds could fly by or drag. The situation might only encompass a few minutes, but to your character it could seem like years.
Silence. People don't talk in a tense situation. There are no screams of horror - that's a reaction to a surprise. Suspense is silent.
It is only after the tension breaks your character might notice their breathing starts to return to normal. If all has ended well, then the celebrating commences. Now there's shouts of joy and back-slapping.
Survival is the ultimate adrenaline-rush.