Every month in our monthly newsletter(subscription link to the right) we pose a question to the readers. We get a lot of great responses – too many to include in the newsletter, so we post them all here.

In October, we asked readers if they have ever given up a book series because of the drop in quality. For example – I gave up on the Alex Cross series and the Womens Murder Club series due to how poor I felt the books were getting.

Here’s the feedback we received:

Brenda: Well I was certainly glad to hear I wasn’t the only one that gave up on Alex Cross, so tired of the story line I got part way into Hope to Die & realized this is going to carry on through all 400 pages I can’t take it anymore & put it on the shelf.

The other story I have no idea why everyone is gaga over is The Girl on the Train what a stupid story about a drunk, sorry I must be past these rookie story lines, love murder mystery mayham but this was just crummy in my eyes.
Love the Sanford Prey books amazing. I have a number of books on preorder looking forward to their arrival.
Like the newsletter first time reading

Carole: I quit reading the Janet Evanovich books book after about 18. At first, I loved them and they were lots of fun but after a while each one seemed like the last one. I can only read so much about Grandma, the parents, etc. I know she is writing with a new author but have so many other books to read I am being very selective.

Laurie: I, too, used to read James Patterson religiously. I stopped when I met him – quite the arrogant SOB. I also found I was tiring of the stories. When he decided he had to have the all time record for having the most books written/published ever, I was done with him. Also, he began having other people research for him so he can sit and write out whatever story in a week.

Mitch: I loved Anne Rice and followed her Vampire Chronicles, Witches and even her erotica under a different name. Gave up when she started saturating her books with Catholicism, somewhere around Cry to Heaven and when her husband died. Hated the Wolf series and just can’t bring myself to try again.

Russell: I have given up several very popular authors who still put their names on the books, but the writing is actually done by a “co-author.” Or maybe a college literature class. Your newsletter is great.

Marianne: i have always enjoyed daNIEL SIVa’s series until i read the last book. as i read i kept thinking that i had read this or something similar before so i have given up on this series. another series by donna leon began to seem repeitive so i gave up on her series as well.

Ron: I have stopped reading the John Sanford Prey series. I think he made a mistake in naming all of the books with PREY! I can’t remember which ones I have read so I just quit reading them. I DO however still read the newer Virgil Flower series. He is starting to become one of my favorite protagonists.

Phyllis: There are a few series I have given up on. The Hannah Swenson mysteries, by Joanne Fluke, started to get old, so I stopped reading them some time back. Hannah was getting to be quite condescending, and that whole love triangle thing was beyond ridiculous. I should have given up on the Stephanie Plum series, but I started checking the audio books out of the library. The narrator is so entertaining, giving a separate voice to each character, that I have kept with it, just to listen to her. I recently gave up on the Josiah Reynolds series, by Abigail Keam. The books kept getting shorter, and Josiah has become unlikable, at least in my eyes. I gave up on the Deadwood series and Jackrabbit Junction series, by Ann Charles because they were very similar, with only a location and name changes. I also stopped on the Bree McGowan series by Kate George, and actually will never read another book she writes. In the third book of the series, she apparently got tired of all the animals she had written about in the previous books, so she killed them off at the end in a fire. The whole fire scene was very poorly written and was actually very sickening. Someone told me she rewrote the book with an alternate ending where none of the animals die. I don’t care. I am finished with her. I will say that I do love series, and have many series that I continue to read, because the authors continue to write great books. That’s all I ask. :-)

Barbara: I an no longer reading the Dr. Kay Scarpetta Series by Patricia Cornwell. Dr. Scarpetta has become a whiny brat. Nothing was ever satisfactory and she became very judgmental of all and of everything in her life. It became very tiresome.

Jeanne: Yes, I gave up on the fourth or fifth of the books by Kate Furnival. She slips her politics into each and every book. I pride myself about not giving a hoot regarding another’s politics. Her major females all look alike. I feel like she is describing her personal intimacy. But on the other hand John Grisham seldom turns out an attention grabber anymore but I will continue to read him. I dearly love Alexander MCall Smith, I know his characters, his writing is technically perfect. He simply does not write anything bad or boring.

Brenda: It might be hard to believe, but there are five popular authors/series that I gave up on:

Patricia Cornwell – Kay Scarpetta series. Read 6.
Kathy Reich – Temperance Brennan series. Read 4.
Jeffery Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme series. Read 4.
Linda Fairstein – Alex Cooper series. Read 3.
Daniel Silva – Gabriel Allon series. Read 3.

There are several reasons for quitting a series. The books were too similar, the characters became boring or I just didn’t like them, the stories lost their mojo. I have absolutely no interest in picking up any of those series again.

Diane: Believe it or not I gave up on Game of Thrones. It just got unbelievable and nearly every character I loved got killed off!

Rhea: I used to be an avid fan of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. From the beginning, I couldn’t get enough of them. I remember going to several book readings, getting to meet her and ask her questions. But something happened after the author moved to New York – she was receiving a lot of negative attention regarding her personal life which I felt was unfair and inappropriate. Then suddenly, her writing changed. The characters in her novels became angry and even violent. The whole mood changed as did the writing. I remember reading what was my last one of her books though I don’t remember which one it was now – I began hoping all but one of the characters would be killed off. You know it’s bad when you don’t care if the major characters live or die. So I stopped reading the series which was very hard for me.

Last month, I got Ms. Cornwell’s last book on sale and gave it a try. I was glad to see her writing had reverted back a bit to what it was and I kind of enjoyed the book, though I still don’t care if [removed due to potential spoiler]. Will I buy her new book out this week? No, but maybe a year from now when it goes on sale for $1.99….

Order of Books » Newsletter » November 2015 Newsletter Mailbag
  • Mongoose218

    I couldn’t read, in fact couldn’t tolerate, the Linda Fairstein series, or anything by Jeffrey Deaver, or James Patterson….TRIED to like them, but failed!!!

    I would like to recommend some lesser known writers/series: Laurie King best known for her Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell series, has a BETTER series, 5 books only, with a SF cop, Kate Martinelli….excellent and keeps you turning the pages!

    Also recommend JJ. Salked who has two series, the Lakeland Murders and the Border City Blues; Harry Bingham’s Fiona Griffiths series, Bruce Beckham’s Inspector Skelgill series; Martin Edwards’ Lake District mysteries; Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series; David Marks’ Sergeant McAvoy series; Tana French’s The Dublin Murder Squad series…..all of the above are set in Great Britain……

    For some “older” but still worthwhile series: Reginald Hill’s Dalziel series, about a cop in England and his partner.

    Going back in time: Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael series about a monk in Wales in the 12th century; and Margaret Frazier’s overlapping series about a nun in the 15th century in England, the Dame Frevisse Series, and an interrelated series about a spy/ traveler/ actor: Joliffe, in the Joliffe series set in the same time period….both series are so accurate historically and tie in with the true events of the times, but are not at all dry….they are highly recommended but must be read in order (as most series should be!)

  • Mongoose218

    I TRIED To read the latest Scarpetta book by Patricia Cornwell, but OMG!!! It was SO BAD! I had to leave it unfinished, a rarity for me!

    NO ONE talks like people talk in that book; or act like that…..the series has been going since 1990…..TIME for it to say goodbye!

  • Mongoose218

    To Ron, above, PLEASE, use “order of books” to get the “Prey” series of books in the right order….don’t give up on them! Also the inter related Virgil Flowers series is EXCELLENT as well!

  • pam bufford

    Highly recommend Tess Gerritsen’s new stand alone thriller called Playing With Fire. It will keep you turning the pages deep into the night. Going with the series many I’ve put down have been many of your suggestions: Kathy Reich, Patricia Cornwell, Jeffrey Deaver and James Patterson. The only series I continue to read is Alex Cross.. That is because he solely writes it himself. I don’t know when the guy sleeps. I appreciated Laurie’s comment that he was arrogant. He completely ignores my attempts @ reaching him to come to our library for an Author Request. Maybe I should just forget it.
    Don’t give up on Daniel Silva. He’s still got a great series to me. Happy Fall Reading to all of you!!!!!!!!!!!

  • James North

    Why do they change the titles of some books(Jussi Adler-Olsen) when they come out in Europe and then are next released in the U.S.? Almost ordered 3 by Jussi Adler-Olsen under titles I didn’t have but luckily discovered I had already read them under different names. Also, when do we (the U.S.) get something new from Jo Nesbo?

  • Mongoose218

    I too have given up on the Dr Kay Scarpetta series by P. Cornwell! It’s just SO repetitive now, and the plots are dumb and dumber!

    STILL love James Patterson, both his Prey series and his Virgil Flowers series! To Laurie, above, he’s certainly NOT the only best selling author to work with a co-writer! MANY do it, and some (unlike him) don’t even tell you! Generally, if a fat book comes out YEARLY there is someone helping in either the research or the actual writing!

    I do like, very much, the older Reginald Hill series, a police procedural series, but with funny, quirky characters, but not a “funny” series, just the two men, Dalziel and Pascoe, are! Because Hill has died, its harder now to find his books and the vast majority are NOT on Kindle! A real shame!

    Also still enjoy Anne Perry’s two series, Thomas Pitt, and William Monk….both are separate series but both deal with crime and policing in the 19th century in England……Very worthwhile reads, again, need to be read in order!

    Louise Penny’s series is excellent……

    Also, the Timothy Wilde police procedural series by Lindsay Faye, set in 1840’s NYC! Its excellent!

  • mermaid

    This is an intriguing discussion! Though I have not read the authors you have mentioned, I enjoy listening to different authors. The Mrs. Pollifax series is quite lively, and I love her character.

    I first discovered the “Cat Who” books by Lillian Jackson Braun, as audio cassettes at a library sale. I LOVE listening to these books narrated by George Guidall. Her last book in the series is not as well-written, but she died at 98 — so that can be forgiven! There is so much humor, and obviously Ms. Braun researched many subjects for each book. Guidall’s narration, with his variety of voices is a delight!

    Discovered the Shirley Rousseau Murphy “Joe Grey” cat mysteries, and find them intriguing and great to listen to. There is humor and mysticism, and wonderful characters. My only problem is that I tend to stay up all night to listen to them!

    I have not seen Walter R. Brooks’ series about Freddy the Pig listed on your site, but I read many of these books as a young girl. I never forgot them, and they were reissued around 2000. They are even better as books to be read as an adult. Brooks was a writer and editor at the New Yorker. These books have humor, satire, great plots, and originality. Whether you read them or listen to the Recorded Books audio versions of the books, they are terrific! Truly an American original! I definitely LOL!

    The Agatha Raisin series I started to listen to this year. At first I really enjoyed them. Penelope Keith, the British comedic actress is an excellent reader. But then I realized by the third or fourth book, that I really didn’t like 99% of the characters, including Agatha Raisin! These weren’t people I wanted to spend any more time with.

    Started reading the Harry Potter series, then listening for the last 3 books — the narrator is PHENOMENAL! In many ways, listening to his voice(s) makes some of the scenes scarier than watching one of the films. Always found it impossible not to stay up and listen all night! Another series that is fun for adults and kids.

    Thank you for listening!! I am glad that I am not the only one who doesn’t always want to continue with a series.

    May everyone have a lovely holiday season, and a blessed New Year!