For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish, we’re being asked to reveal the series we haven’t finished, for one reason or another. For me, these fall into three Categories: Ongoing Series I’m still reading through, Series I’ve enjoyed but haven’t kept up with, and Series I’ve abandoned.
For the Ongoing Series I’m reading:
1. Jack Reacher. Lee Child’s Reacher series is a rightly praised thriller series I’m sure you’re all familiar with. I started reading these about a year ago and have yet to read one I didn’t like. At first I was devouring these one after the other, but I’ve slowed down, and now I pepper the series in between other things I’m reading. I’m just about halfway through, not counting the just released The Wanted Man.
2. Merrily Watkins. If you haven’t read Phil Rickman’s supernatural series (they’re not readily available here in the US, but they are stocked on Amazon), you really should. Merrily is an Anglican priest/single mother who has been tapped to serve a parish on the border of England and Wales. While there she encounters the presence of spirits not at rest, and eventually becomes the church’s Deliverance Minister, A.K.A. Exorcist. These are atmospheric mysteries, filled with rich characters. I track these down and swallow them as soon as I possibly can.
3. Joe Pitt. Charlie Huston is one of the finest writers in the field, cranking out excellent mysteries set in both the real world and a fantastic version of New York where vampires have carved the city up into districts and operate just under the awareness of humans. Joe Pitt is a vampire detective in the hard-boiled mold, and Huston sets him on tense, white knuckle adventures well worth your time. I discovered these late, and should be caught up on the series by the end of the year.
4. The Aubrey Maturin Series. Like the Jack Reacher books, I’ve read through several of these, and I’m intentionally slow-pedaling my way through the series. Unlike Lee Child, Patrick O’Brian is dead, so I know when I read the last one, it truly will be the last one, and so I’m dragging my feet on these.
Next are the series that I’ve enjoyed, but have fallen behind on.
5. Thurday Next. I am a huge fan of The Eyre Affair, and think Jasper Fforde’s series about a detective working literally in books is one of the most creative ideas to come into speculative fiction in a while. Unfortunately, I fell off the series around Something Rotten, and haven’t jumped back in yet. doing this list has reminded me I need to pick these back up soon.
6. Johannes Cabal. Jonathan Howard’s excellent paranormal series about a necromancer’s encounters with the dark side of the supernatural are wry, clever fun. Cabal is an irresistible character, and I really enjoyed the first two. A third recently came out, which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t picked up yet. I need to correct that oversight very soon.
7. Monsieur Pamplemousse. This is a strangely delightful series I had actually forgotten about until writing this post. These are mysteries about a former police investigator turned food critic and his faithful dog, Pommes Frites, who inevitably find themselves embroiled in various mysteries. They’re written by the incomparable Michael Bond (yes, the creator of Paddington Bear). Having found them on my shelf, I’ve moved the first volume next to my bed to begin them again, so thanks Broke and Bookish, for reminding me to check for gems on my own shelves.
And, finally, the series I’ve abandoned, for one reason or another.
8. Anita Blake. These were a very, guilty pleasure for a while. There’s truly nothing redeeming in these books, they were just fun to read. Filled with sex and violence, the first few were simply fun to consume, much like eating a deep fried Oreo. All sugar, no inherent value. I reached the breaking point when it became clear Laurel K. Hamilton had decided that, rather than kill her little cash cow by advancing her characters towards some kind of ultimate conclusion, she’d simply stop developing them. Book after book where no one learns, grows, or evolves beyond one fixed point. And if the romantic entanglements are too difficult to resolve without potentially pissing off reader, just add more men for Anita to be attracted to. I couldn’t defend the quality of these books to others when I started the series, and was O.K. With that. When I couldn’t defend them to myself anymore, I stopped.
9. Repairman Jack. The first several of these books are actually wonderful. Jack is like a one man A-Team, the guy you call when you have no where else to go. The proto-Jack Reacher, he was lays the smartest man in the room and very, very good at his job. The supernatural bent to the stories was a delightful bonus, to boot. What went wrong, for me, was sort a similar problem to the one that the Anita Blake stories have. In the mythology F. Paul Wilson built in which Repairman Jack fits, there is an end to this series. Unfortunately, I reached a point where it felt, to me, that Wilson was dreading getting there as much as his readers may have been, and there comes a point where it feels like he’s spinning his wheels rather than advancing the plot. When he finally decides to end this series, perhaps I’ll jump back in, as he’s a alerted writer and Jack’s a gangbusters character. Until then, I don’t really see the point in continuing the series.
10. The Dark Tower series. This is my biggest shame as a fan of Stephen King’s. There are really very few King stories and novels I haven’t really enjoyed, but once I finished The Gunslinger, I really had no interest in seeing any more of Roland’s quest. Something about the world King was weaving felt incomplete, and juvenile. When I learned later this was a series he began in college, it made sense. They’re well written, but they feel like something he’s indulging more for himself than for a general reading audience. When the last few books were coming out I considered trying again, but upon learning he’d added the character of an author named Stephen King, I just couldn’t let my earlier prejudice go. I know some fans love these books, perhaps someone will convince me to try again?