Friday, October 8, 2021

Series Reading

Like a lot of people during the pandemic, I took up reading as a coping mechanism. Now, I've always been a strong reader ever since childhood. 

I've always had a book on the go, dipping a toe into it when there were a few spare moments, or diving head first into the book and doing laps until it was done. 


There have been times when I've lapsed on the reading, choosing instead to put something on the idiot box instead - usually a Marvel movie these days - but the book has always been sat there waiting to be picked up. 

When I first started reading I was heavily into fantasy and read, and collected, everything by the Terry's Pratchett and Brooks. It was always an exciting moment when a new book was being released. The same with a new Stephen King book - in fact I just got his latest; Billy Summer, and it is now waiting patiently to be read after my latest obsession.

Starting to write crime fiction in early 2020 I needed to learn the tropes, styles and tricks of the genre and so began reading Ian Rankin's Rebus series, as well as Roz Watkins (DI Meg Dalton series), and Karin Slaughter (Grant County series). But it was Rebus that I dived heavily into, reading the first seven books back to back. It took a few months, what with writing my first crime novel, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET, as well as all the work needed for my second year at University.


That was when I realised that, despite really enjoying the Rebus books, I needed to read more widely, and so I looked at Peter James, Michael Connelly and a writer I was introduced to via an online book club, M.W Craven.

  


The Washington Poe and Tilly books (of which there are currently four, the fifth due out next year) are an amazing series of crime books. Dark in tone and humour, they are a rip-roaring read with chapters that drag you forward, being incredibly moorish to the point where I read a full book in an afternoon.

If you haven't read these yet, I suggest you go order them from your local bookshop right now. 

And now my latest binge obsession is Lin Anderson and her Rhona MacLeod books. Not as involved as, say, a Rebus, quite an easy read, they are just as moorish as the Craven books. For me, it is not so much about the crime that Rhona and her forensic team investigate as it is the personal relationships of everyone involved that draws me on. I am now onto the third book, Deadly Code, with the fourth Dark Flight, waiting in the wings. I'll be ordering the next few books in the series soon - there's seventeen altogether so far - and I'm determined to get to the end before I start on another series.

  


I really enjoyed the first Peter James Roy Grace book, Dead Simple, so I'm thinking that's where I'll go next before returning to finish off Rebus. After that, probably Michael Connelly and his Bosch series; I tried reading the first book, The Black Echo recently, but this was after I'd binge watched all seven series of Bosch on amazon Prime, so it was too close to the TV show - which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Reading a series back to back is a challenge: will the books remain fresh? Will I lose interest in the characters through too much exposure at once? Will I tire of the writer's style? There is that risk, and if you find that happening you can always switch it up, and go back to another series, or start another. For me, I am thoroughly enjoying these books and am determined to read them through.

After that, I'll probably read two or three Peter James books, and then go back to Edinburgh and Rebus for a while. And if someone new comes along, well, I'll probably grab them up too.

But when The Botanist (the next MW Craven book) is released... well, everything else can just go take a hike as that is getting read right there and then.

So go off, dive into a series and enjoy.

Cheers
JP

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