Do you follow any serial books? I’m not talking about a defined set like Harry Potter where you know the story is going to end in book 7 or Guillermo del Toro’s vampire trilogy, “Strain.” I’m talking about books such as the Hardy boys or Nancy Drew from our youth where the characters’ adventures seemed to go on forever.
I currently follow three series, eagerly awaiting each installment. A book from each series usually comes once a year. you know, there’s a certain comfort in serial books. you already know the characters, you like them very much (otherwise you wouldn’t be following their exploits) and you want to catch up on what’s going on with them. it’s kinda like having a long, one-sided conversation with a good friend *wink*.
a couple of nights ago, i got very excited when i saw a new title for one of the series i’ve been following: lee child‘s “never go back,” featuring jack reacher, my favorite taciturn badass. are you familiar with the books? you might have heard me rant a few months back about tom cruise stunting reacher’s potential for worldwide domination with that ridiculous film of his. jack reacher is this giant of a man who hasn’t held a regular job since leaving the u.s. army almost 15 years ago. a drifter, he spends his time traveling all around the united states as a way of getting to know his country after spending most of his earlier life overseas. of course, he finds trouble in some of the places he visits — and that’s where the books come in. i really enjoy reacher. he’s super smart, skilled and fights dirty. he’s kinda like james bond, but without the money and the sophistication. he does share the super spy’s phenomenal luck with women. the books themselves are a fast and enjoyable read. (as of 2013, 15 books and six short stories)
another series i follow has a supernatural bent: jim butcher’s dresden novels, starring the only professional wizard in the chicago phone book, harry dresden. it’s basically a detective series, but with magic. harry is a smart-ass with a weakness for damsels in distress, a never-back-down attitude, a self-deprecating sense of humor and a tendency to drop pop culture references when he feels threatened or scared.
one of the things i enjoy about this series is how butcher built and expanded harry’s world to include these fantastical beings and yet still managed to ground it in reality. you can almost believe that there are magical creatures walking unseen on the streets of the windy city (butcher is very good with world-building; i love his six-book high fantasy codex alera series). (15th dresden book is due out at the end of 2013; characters also appear in various anthologies)
last but definitely not the least is the futuristic “in death” series from jd robb, a pseudonym of nora roberts. the series is a police procedural set about 50 years from now. so it’s different, but not THAT different. the cars can fly and there is this wonderful machine called an autochef that cooks food. but coffee is worth its weight in gold and there’s not a lot of meat left so everybody is eating soy-based foodstuff.
the main characters are eve dallas, a police lieutenant in the NY police department, and her husband, roarke (yes, one name, like cher and madonna), a billionaire former criminal-turned-police consultant 🙂 what i love about this series is how roberts, who began her career writing contemporary romance novels, assembled a colorful and believable cast of supporting characters. dallas’ cases are interesting, but i read the books for the family eve and roarke created around them. (as of 2013, 45 stories, including contributions in anthologies)