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cherrypie

crime - series or stand alone novels?

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At the moment I am reading the Suasan Hill crime series concerning Simon Serrailler a detective chief inspector. I have read a number of such series and find that I like to come back to the books every so often, as I have stated on another thread almost as seeing old friends. I have tried reading stand alone crime novels but find that my involvement in the stories is often not so great as with the serials even if written by the same author. I wonder if I enjoy crime fiction more if it runs alongside stories of the ongoing affairs of the main characters.

 

As crime fiction seems to be a popular genre on BGO I wondered if anyone else had any thoughts.

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I like both but also get attached to a character.  However, sometimes it encourages the author to leave you with a cliffhanger in a series so that you just have to get the next book to find out what happened to that character, good merchandising I guess but having to wait for a year to find out whether a favourite lived or died just seems like a come-on. Not all writers do it and it's nice for the mystery to come to a conclusion, good or bad.  I do like familiar characters as I know what to expect from them but prefer that the story rounds itself off - the story having been written around a circumstance which gets solved.

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Like Momac, I enjoy both. I was introduced to Inspector Rebus when I bought the first ten from The Book People but I don't think that I read them one after the other, I read something else in between. I'm just as happy with a single novel that's not part of a series or to read just one from a series.

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Like Momac, I enjoy both. I was introduced to Inspector Rebus when I bought the first ten from The Book People but I don't think that I read them one after the other, I read something else in between. I'm just as happy with a single novel that's not part of a series or to read just one from a series.

Like you Luna I do not read books in a series back to back but around other books. I like to come back to them from time to time often when I have read something demanding and am looking for an easier read. I do not know what it is about crime fiction that makes me prefer it in serial form as this does not seem to be the case with any other genres. I do wonder if although I have read a lot of crime fiction and adore Holmes and Watson, two of my all time favourite characters, I am not your average crime reader. I do not really go in for gore although I have read more explicit crime fiction.

 

As Momac has said writers of crime series do often leave cliff-hangers at the end of their books which if you are reading them as published can be annoying. With the Susan Hill series I am reading at the moment an actual crime covered two books. For me this was okay as they have been written a while ago so I could read them within a short time of one another. If I had been reading them as published this would have been annoying as I am sure that I would have forgotten important details of the original crime in the intervening period.

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I guess the advantage of series is the option to develop the character of the investigator. Rebus is a perfect example of how nuanced and complex they can become if the author has the opportunity to round them out over a number of books.

 

Nevertheless, it would take an act of great arrogance for an aspiring author to start out thinking they might write a dozen or more books about their leading actor; every series starts with a standalone novel.     

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Of course Grammath is right when he says that all series start with a standalone novel. I guess it is only when the characters involved work that a second book is considered. The series I have read have always been well underway before starting so I have never considered the first book to be standalone.

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I love Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and some much more recent ones, like Agatha Raisin, Rebus and Daisy Dalrymple. I like how the characters develop and the crime stories can be made a little deeper through this,however I also enjoy stand alone novels which present backstory as part of the one book

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I do like one off stories, but sometimes things are wrapped up all to neatly and nicely. Whereas with sequals you can end a book on a horrible event, and leave you desperate for the next

 

for example

 

New writer Steven Griffiths has created two short stories for the Amazon market. Diary of a Psychopath and its sequel Hunting the Psychopath. 
He shows a lot of promise for someone up and coming. Available in both print and kindle edition, well worth the read.

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I tend to burn out on series. I've been enjoying mysteries with Ian Rutledge as the protagonist--Charles Todd and his mother, Caroline--but I'm getting tired of hearing Hamish and rehashing Ian's battle fatigue. There was another series I enjoyed but I got very tired of agonizing over the trials and tribulations of the protagonist's niece who was a lesbian FBI agent and, big surprise, had problems.

 

I do enjoy older series where the author doesn't dwell so much on psychological issues. It's hard to imagine today but we don't even know Poirot's sexual orientation.

Edited by patrickt

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