Mark Blumenthal (
Thu, 23 Dec 1999 13:26:53 -0600

 Mark Sullivan

> Loren Estleman had initially made a rule that he would never carry a
> character for more than 7 books.
> Perhaps it is a good rule, not just for him, but for all series writers.
> Stark's Parker is among the very few series that really works past that
> number and even in this case, the early ones were the best.

I think a writer has inspiration and freshness in the first book, and maybe the second, that is lost in succeeding volumes of a series. Once the first book is popular a writer has to produce more about the same characters because there is a built in readership even though there is not much more to say. If you depend on writing for a living it is very difficult to take the risk of stopping the writing of almost guaranteed money makers. It's the same thing in movies. Was there anything new in Did we really need a Rocky III...? Of the James Bond films From Russia with Love was the best in the series.

It's not only a recent phenomenom. Doyle tried to kill off Holmes but couldn't. The public demanded more Holmes and their income allowed Doyle to write what he thought were his important works, historical novels like The White Company which are forgotten today.

I agree with Mark about the Parker books sustaining quality. The later books of the originsl series and those of the recent continuation are good, but I miss the stripped down 180 page early ones. Mrk

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