Re: RARA-AVIS: Russell James

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 01 Jul 2002

Will asked:

"Forgive an ignorant question but does James write stand alones or a series? I am one of the 'must start at the beginning' types so I'd like to begin with the first if there are any series books otherwise I plan to get ahold of a few of these and sample them myself."

I'm the same way about reading in order. Unfortunately, it's hard to do with James (since most are out of print, if they even saw print on this side of the pond; and as Al pointed out, it seems to be the same in the UK). And I must admit that for the most part it's unnecessary. I read Count Me Out first, since it was relatively easy to find, being published by Serpent's Tail. I liked it a lot, so I sought out the others. I lucked out. At the time, had cheap remainder copies of most of his UK paperbacks (they still have copies of Payback, a very good one). I then read them in order, although I'm currently a couple behind.

Okay, on to the real question, do you need to read them in order? Not really. They are mostly standalones, but with a few recurring characters. Vinnie Durkin shows up in a few books, but he's a very minor character who provides muscle for various crime bosses. And then there are crimeboss Gottfliesch and his creepy sidekick, whose name I'm blanking on. They appear in several books. However, even someone as anal about reading in order as myself must admit it is not necessary with James as far as continuity goes. You can see development in his writing and plotting, though, which start out top-notch and just get better.

By the way, he has a website ( and there's a good page on him at Tangled Wed (


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