Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
I poked around the internets a bit to see what other writers have to say about suspense, and I found this quote from John Gardner, a famous writing teacher:
I've always tended to think of suspense in the bomb-under-the-table sense. In other words, a function of action. There is a bomb; there is a timer. It will explode unless it is defused. But according to Gardner, suspense isn't action based at all--it is moral. Our suspense comes from watching a character make a hard choice, believing in that choice, and living with the consequences.
I see Gardner's point, because let's be honest, in the bomb-under-the-table scenario, is there really any suspense? I mean, we KNOW it's not going to go off or it would kill the main character. Is there really any question in a serial killer book that the former alcoholic cop with a heart of gold is going to catch the bad guy? Isn't it really just about process?
In the books I'm working on now, the real suspense (the moral suspense) doesn't truly come into play until later in the three-book series. My main character has to make a decision that will change the rest of his life one way or the other. Early in the first novel—in fact, in the scene I wrote about yesterday—another main character suspects this will happen, and she says, "You might have a terrible choice to make. You need to be prepared."
From this point, the books are chiefly concerned with outlining and exploring that "terrible choice." It's the point of the whole series.
Will this work as suspense? I don't know. I do know that I'm not completely settled with the choice the character eventually makes because it will close other doors; he will gain a great deal, but he will also lose a great deal. But this is also a book about growing up, and that's what growing up involves: making choices that simultaneously expand and limit our options. It's often painful. I will never be a tropical ecologist, and that still breaks my heart just a little bit.
So, I'm curious, how do you define suspense? Do your characters defuse bombs or make terrible choices? What's the difference?