Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: career and peak

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 19 Nov 2001


Of course, the perfect number of books in a series is entirely arbitrary. Some series remain vital, some go on too long. And Gerald, for all the crap I've been giving you (and getting back, not claiming I came out ahead), I've got to agree with your overall way of measuring Chandler vs. Parker. It's like comparing the Beatles and the Stones. The Beatles broke up at a good time. The Stones gathered moss -- what's the last Stones album you cared about?

Anyway, in order for a series to remain vital, it needs to remain fresh. I find it interesting how many PI writers hit that wall at the same time. I'm not talking about at the same time (or volume) within the series, but at the same real time. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by the following, considering most of them happen at the beginning of books: John Francis Cuddy's girfriend died at about the same time as Kat Colorado's boyfriend, which was around the same time that not Everybody Dies, but a number of Scudder's friends did in the book of that title (the second time Block changed the state of that series). Finally, while Robert Crais didn't kill off any regulars (too bad he did kill off a very promising new character he probably couldn't have controlled), he did seek to remake his series.

All of these series were of different ages at the time, but these books all came out in 1998 and 1999. So what happened the length of time it takes to write and publish a book before that to affect that many writers?


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