So today my thoughts have turned to that wonderful thing – books in a series. We all have our favourites – the ones that can’t be missed. The ones that we chomp at the bit for, and I thought I would tell you about some of mine. In return, I hope to hear about some of yours – perhaps ones I SHOULD be reading but have missed out on. In order to not be overwhelming I’m going for my top three. You of course, may tell me about as many as you like!
First and foremost we have Mr John Connolly and that wonderful creation Charlie Parker. Mr Parker is a Private Investigator. But is that all he is? Tragedy gives him focus – and he lives in those grey area’s of life. The people who surround him do as well. The magnificent Louis and the heartfelt Angel. A killer and a thief…two characters who are worthy of their own set of novels (and indeed Mr Connolly did give them one of their own!) Each novel also has its own nightmare. I’d call them “The Bad Guys” but that doesnt even begin to cover it. And Mr Connolly’s ability to use a hint of the Supernatural without ever completely going down that road means that each book brings its own answers – and its own unending questions. I hope Mr Parker lives for a long time. I hope that when John Connolly finally completes his story that he will have a happy ending. But thats in no way certain….
Every Dead Thing is the first in this series. If you havent picked it up already I would HIGHLY recommend that you do.
So, moving on. How about that wonderful literary detective Inspector Lynley? Not met him? Oh you should. He’s posh. Except really he’s not. He may be the 8th Earl of Ashington but his heart is in catching killers. And catch them he does! Along with the indomitable Sgt Barbara Havers and with the help of his great friend Simon, the lovely Helen and his first love Deborah, no murderer is safe from detection. But these books offer so much more than intriguing mysteries. Inspector Lynley’s own ongoing life dramas could be novels in themselves. And the characterisation and people you meet in each separate novel are always brilliant. Sometimes Lynley and cohorts are only secondary. The wonderful “Playing for the Ashes” brings us Livie, a girl living on the edge. This is more her story than anyones….and it remains to this day one of my favourite in the series. “A Traitor to Memory” gives us Gideon Davies, a violin playing virtuoso who has lost the ability to play – unlocking his past is key to his future and this is his story. Of course Inspector Lynley is always around and almost always is the one who unravels the tangles – but hey, Havers also stands on her own two feet. She gets her book, Simon and Deborah also get theirs. This amazing cast of characters has kept me company for many happy times over the years. Elizabeth George will have her own page here soon – my rereading schedule includes all the Lynley novels so keep a weather eye out. Just in case you don’t want to wait for my reviews, the first in the series is “A Great Deliverance”. Start there. And don’t stop.
For my final choice I was torn. That other great literary detective, Sophie Hannah’s creation Simon Waterhouse is equal in my mind to Lynley. However, if you visit Sophie’s page on this very site you can find out all about him and see why you should perhaps give them a go. Instead I’ve chosen Nelson Demille and John Corey. Wisecracking, totally male John Corey. A man I would happily marry. In the first book to feature him, Plum Island, he is on leave from the NYPD recuperating from injuries received in the line of duty. Living the quiet life on Long Island he is asked to consult on the murder of two biologists who worked on the mysterious Plum Island. By getting involved he finds himself entangled with the FBI and the CIA – an entanglement that will follow him through future novels and have a huge impact on his life. Corey is a superb character who grows in stature with every book but also somehow stays reassuringly familiar – he won’t let you down! Mr Demille is the master of misdirection, often you will scratch your head in wonder at the sticky situations Mr Corey ends up in but they are all extremely enjoyable and make for a fantastic reading experience. Wait until you meet The Lion. Enjoy!
So there we go. My kind of top 3 series. Of course I follow many more literary greats in their ongoing tales – but have I missed any? Please do leave me a comment telling me YOUR favourite series of books and why. Perhaps I’m missing out and if you follow my blatherings on Twitter or elsewhere you know thats something I HATE to do! Happy Reading folks.