In the February 2024 newsletter, we asked readers what book series they have read that have never dropped in quality.

Here are the responses:

B: Top of mind, the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. And, despite the series having officially ended after 10 books in 2019, it’s back! I can’t wait until Sep 3 when “What Time the Sexton’s Spade Doth Rust” drops.

Other series that I enjoyed every book:

Department Q by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Dave Gurney by John Verdon – it just seems to be getting better and better with each book.

The Boogeyman series by Richard Chizmar. Although only 2 books published so far, I’m anxiously awaiting #3.

Penn Cage by Greg Iles

Elvis Cole by Robert Crais

John Corey by Nelson DeMille

Smiley by John le Carre

Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French

D D Warren by Lisa Gardner

IQ by Joe Ide

Kenzie and Gennaro by Dennis Lehane

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Nathan Zuckerman by Philip Roth

Mexican Cartel by Don Winslow

Sue: I have read all the Patricia Cornwell book series, the newest stand-alone of James Patterson I did not enjoy.
I think the David Baldacci book series it’s the one I look forward to finding the newest book coming out.
I am pretty sure I have read all of JD Robb books.
I have not started I have tried owing all of the books is Kathy Reichs series so hope to start that series this year and Harlan Coben series.
I also have read the Debbie Macomber series not my usual reading but I have enjoyed all of them.
I have to read new books by Nick Petrie, and CJ Box books I enjoyed both these authors.

Jenny: I have been pondering this months question “What’s a book series that you have read, that has never dropped the ball in terms of quality?”. I just started the new book Ghost Orchid and it hit me. Staring me right in the eyes. I have read all of Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series and enjoyed them all!

John: There are a few series that have never let me down! Two of the authors are obvious, and probably the majority of your followers feel the same. The first would be Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The innate humanity of the protagonist carries the story and provides thoughtful context to the brutality of the crimes. The second is Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series. The background characters and the intriguing setting of the village of Three Pines always makes me feel like I’m returning to a favorite vacation hideaway. Finally, I’ve got to include Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. Combine everyday Good Guy with Psychopathic-Loveably Sinister Win, and it’s like catching-up with some dangerous old buddies. Always glad to see them again! That’s it for me. If I’ve piqued someone’s curiosity, I would recommend reading them chronologically, because as with all great series, the characters undergo a subtle evolution. Stay safe, everybody!

Christine: For me, I loved each and every one of the books in Her Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen. It is such a fun series that has some real-life historical aspects to it with some very fun and interesting characters. It’s a nice light-hearted read, and I look forward to each new one as it comes out.

Bette: I have several authors whose book series are perfect in my mind; I may have had to reread some chapters just to make sure I understood the premise or the happening, but that didn’t make the whole book weak. I’m sure there are a couple in my list that people will think I’m a little nuts but I thoroughly enjoyed every book in each series.

J.A.Jance: Both the Beaumont and the Brady series. Part of the enjoyment for both series is their location – I spent time in the Navy in the Seattle area; I live in Arizona and have been to Sheriff Brady’s area on several occasions.
David Rosenfelt: the first 28 in his Andy Carpenter series and looking forward to numbers 29 and 30 which will be published this year.
Michael Connolly: Mickey Haller series, especially “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I have reread (which is very unusual for me).
David Baldacci: Amos Decker series.
Alex Kava: Her “Creed” series is great; yes, she also has the O’Dell series but there were several in that group that just didn’t quite hit the mark in my opinion.
Margaret Mizushima: Her “Timber Creek” series is super; this series should be read in order because of the characters added that change the dynamics of each story.

Theresa: For the most consistent reading pleasure, I have found that Louise Penny never disappoints. I have read each of her books and she is the most thoughtful, thorough writer I have found. Only competition is author Minette Walters – no series there but still, stunning depth with a perfect touch to scenery so you feel as though you are on the street, standing there, talking to the other person.

Donna: Really like Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. Enjoyed the Sandman Slim series. Wanting to reread them AFTER I finish my 5 books lying on my bedside table. Lol

Tipton: I’ve truly enjoyed every book in these series 🙂

Chee/Leaphorn – Tony Hillerman
Cork OConner – William Kent Krueger
DCI Alan Banks – Peter Robinson
Doc Ford – Randy Wayne White
Horse Racing – Dick Francis
Bernie Gunther – Phillip Kerr
Inspector Rostnikov Novels – Stuart M. Kaminsky
J..P. Beaumont – J. A. Jance
Joanna Brady – J. A. Jance
Mortimer Angel (Gumshoe) – Rob Leininger
NO. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
Posadas County Mysteries – Steven Havill
Sheriff Dan Rhodes – Bill Crider
Stephanie Plum – Janet Evanovich
V. I. Warshawski – Sara Paretsky
Walt Longmire – Craig Johnson

Louis: Morning, Graeme: I have several: Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block. Robert Parker’s Spenser series and dating myself a bit, the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain.

vhreads: Perfect series – Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Although Butcher himself says you can start the series 3 or so books in, I loved it from the get go. The first two are more setting up the world and getting a good feel for Harry Dresden. From there Butcher builds more and more of the story line that is projected over a 20 to 24 book arc. I eagerly wait for the next one. I was upset when there was a five year break, even if it was for personal and health problems that made it difficult for him to write. Some of the books have more impact than others, but I rip through each one within a week of when it reaches my hands.

Rosemary: Two series that I have thoroughly enjoyed are:

Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny

Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters

I love mysteries and these two I can listen two again and again. I am also a fan of all things Egyptian history and archaeology, so the Amelia Peabody series satisfies both.

Rosaria: I have read all of Michael Connelly’s books and have never been disappointed, even as he is aging with aches and pains (so am I).

Kathy: I have read all the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith. The writing is wonderful, the characters are great and the stories are clever and leave you wanting more. Crime writing has never been so good. After reading these books it’s hard to find another comparable.

Joanne: I love two series with not a weak link in the bunch.
Simon McCleave’s series Ruth Hunter is just terrific. It’s a British setting about a detective.
Patricia Gibney’s series about Lottie Parker is an Irish series. Lottie is a detective with all the problems normal people have. Two wonderful series.

Jessica: I have to say Steve Berry’s books are always good. Right now I’m listening to The Last Kingdom. It’s getting really good. I started listening to his books because Scott Brick does the books so well.

Although I haven’t finished the Burglar series by Lawrence Block, I have to say he hasn’t disappointed me yet.

I also haven’t finished the alphabet series, but Sue Grafton’s books didn’t disappoint me.

I also didn’t finish the Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, she didn’t disappoint me either.

Hollins:Gary: I agree 100% with your choice of series and in fact have just begun starting Alex Berenson again from the start.
ANOTHER AUTHOR I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED OVER THE YEARS IS JEFFREY ARCHER. NOT CRIME OR THRILLER UNTIL RECENTLY BUT ALWAYS HOLDS MY INTEREST.

Evelyn: I have several series that I have enjoyed all the way through:

The Narnia Chronicles CS Lewis

The Circle Series Ted Dekker

The Dune Trilogy Frank Herbert

The Inheritance Series Christopher Paolini

The Harry Potter Books JK Rowling

The Foundation Series Isaac Asimov

This is just off the top of my head. Thanks for asking.

Penny: A friend recommended an author I can’t get enough of: David Rosenfelt – Andy Carpenter series! I don’t remember you recommending him but I highly do! He is a defense attorney who tends to solve the crimes Perry Mason style (in the courtroom) but not all the time. He has a golden retriever who is sometimes a part of solving the mystery. I am on #10 of the series and absolutely love it! There is a lot of good humor (sometimes laugh outload).

Jeannine: Alex Cross, Michael Bennett- James Patterson

FBI/ Dillon Savich- Catherine Coulter

Will Trent- Karin Slaughter

Taylor Jackson, Samantha Owens- J. T. Ellison

Dr. Evelyn Talbot- Brenda Novak

Harry Hole- Jo Nesbo

Tracey: The book series that never disappoints- the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. Every book is hysterical. Such a fun, easy, enjoyable read that will lighten up your mood no matter what. Don’t waste your time with the one movie they have made so far of her books though, it was not good!

Rhea: The perfect series that never disappoints me is the one by Karin Slaughter. So the name of the series has changed over the years from the Grant County series to the Sara Linton series to the Sara Linton and Will Trent series to the will Trent series, I have never read one book in this entire series that didn’t live up to the last one. as long as this author keeps writing this series, I will keep reading them.

Rachael: As for series without any weak links I just read the 4th book of the Stranger Times series by CK McDonnell and it was great. Only 4 books so far but they’ve all been a blast to read. I don’t know if anyone will ever top F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series. It’s been my absolute favorite for years and every addition has been fantastic. Each book has it’s own plot but always adds to the big secret history of the world. Just a perfect story!

Phil: Hi Graeme, To answer your question, “What’s a perfect series that you have read with no bad or weak books?”
The Owen Allison series by John Billheimer. Compelling mysteries with a dash of humor. All of these books are excellent.

Mark: Four come immediately to mind:

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey – nine mind-blowing novels, plus a book of related short fiction. Perfection from the first word to the last. Even the one book in the middle which went more into the four main characters’ backstories, rather than furthering the main plot line, was superb. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the whole series is read by Jefferson Mays, and his reading is so much in tune with the books, that I can now no more imagine these books without his reading than I can imagine Alice in Wonderland without the Tenniel illustrations.

The Black Company by Glen Cook – created the military fantasy subgenre; as with the Expanse, perfection from the first word to the last. In this case, literally, as both the first and last sentences of the 10-volume set are memorable.

Harry Potter – ’nuff said, eh?

Discworld – yes, all 41 books. Probably the most amazing literary feat of the last half-century. Book 5 (“Sourcery”) is good; the other 40 all range from great to off-the-charts-fantabulous.

Kat: i like all the jack reacher books!

Donna: Two authors whose series/books I have read all of and who have never disappointed me are J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter and Deborah Crombie with her detectives Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid. Just wonderful!

Christina:,/strong> Series that have never let me down: Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware books. Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar (and Win!) books. Many more, but these two were the first I thought of.

Chrisse: You can’t beat the 87th Precinct Series by Ed McBain.

Bruce:
Graeme, this is an interesting challenge that you have put forward this month, thinking back over my years of reading I have followed and read many authors and the first I can remember the quality being consistently good was John D McDonald, and while the books were short reads they filled my reading needs at that time.

Over the past 15 plus years the authors I know will not let me down have been Ken Follett, Daniel Silva, C J Box and Michael Connelly, it is nice to know that when you have picked up a book at the store that you are going to be rewarded with relaxing and engrossed quality reading.

It certainly will be interesting to see other readers choices, thank you for all your efforts.

Brenda S: Perfect series that never let me down from first to last book:

Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series and Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series

Brenda: There are 88 series I currently follow and 55 that have either ended or I gave up on. Many of them I love, so I decided to be very precise in the meaning of “perfect.” Only three have attained the highest possible rating for every book. They are Michael Robotham’s Joe O’Laughlin series, Paul Cleave’s Theodore Tate series, and Belinda Bauer’s Exmoor trilogy.

Bev: As to series that always wins — I could probably recommend all of J. Robert Kennedy’s books, but lets go with the James Acton series. Acton is an archeologist who can’t go to a dig with getting into loads of trouble. His exploits will keep you on the edge of your seat from book 1 through to the current one. The Heretics Bible was just released, and I can’t wait to dig in (pun intended, after I finish another series I’m currently in). Also by Kennedy is the Templar Detective series, if you like some historical, no-tech, intrigue. Personally, I can’t think of a failure by Kennedy, but will only mention the two series here.

Barb: 3 of them
Louise Penny – Inspector Gamache series – have so fallen in love with the characters and the town of Three Pines.
CJ Box – Joe Pickett series – can’t wait to see what happens next
Archer Mayor – Joe Gunther series – love all the settings in New England where I am from as well as the major characters.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Series That Have Never Dropped In Quality

7 Responses to “Reader Mailbag: Series That Have Never Dropped In Quality”

  1. Chrisse Roccaro: 4 months ago

    I agree with Susan E. George’s Thomas Lindley books are fab and “What Happened Before He Shot Her” is dreadful.

    Reply

  2. Donna Rietveld: 4 months ago

    I missed getting a response in on time but agreed with many of the choices. Just want to add the ones I didn’t see….James Clavell, the Shogun Series; John Jakes, The Kent Family Books; and Jefferson Bass, The Body Farm Series. All great books! So many books to read, too little time!

    Reply

  3. Douglas: 4 months ago

    Great book series to read and never a weak link?
    Top Five
    Ed McBain-87th Precinct/Matthew Hope Series;Sue Grafton-Alphabet Series; W.E.B. Griffin-Badge Of Honor Series; J.D. Robb-..In Death Series; James Patterson-Women’s Murder Club/Alex Cross/Michael Bennett Series;
    Next Five
    Lilian Jackson Braun-The Cat Who..Series; Stuart Woods-Will Lee/Stone Barrington/Holly Barker/Ed Eagle Series;J.A.Jance-JP Beaumont/Joanna Brady/Ali Reynolds Series; CHristopher Newman-Lt. Dante Series; Janet Evanovich-Stephanie Plum Series.
    Thanks for your time,
    Douglas

    Reply

    • Joan Giguere: 3 months ago

      Thank goodness, another Stone Barrington fan. I love them. Over 60 books, on my 3rd time around reading them.

      Reply

  4. Fran: 4 months ago

    Sorry I missed the deadline, but I must, must, must say Bernard Cornwell. I’ve read all Richard Sharpe, Saxon Tales, Grail Quest, Warlord Chronicles, etc. He never, ever dissappoints. Thank you!

    Reply

  5. Elliott Saunders: 4 months ago

    Have you noticed that all of the authors in Notable Books? are female. As the father of three outstanding daughters, I certainly applaud all female achievements, but few female Cop stories are realistic. I read most e.books that are available from my public library and almost all feature female authors. Recognizing that most readers seem to be female, most male authors now concentrate on female themes with silly themes.
    It would be nice to see some more traditional cop books.
    In reply to authors who should have quit while they were ahead, John Sandford must leave the list. All of his books since Lucas left State employment are unreadable. Shame.
    Thanks for this opportunity to vent.

    Reply

  6. Susan Ervasti: 4 months ago

    I am surprised no one mentioned the Inspector Thomas Lindley series by Elizabeth George. Great series with the exception of one book—“What Happened before he Shot Her.”

    Reply

Leave a Reply