How much is too much?

Some novel series go on forever and ever

How much is too much?

Cameron Bolton, Staff Reporter

Earlier this year, RB alumnus Rachael Sammons announced that she was self-publishing a novel with a synopsis on the back suggesting it would be the first in a series.

It led me to think.  How many installments will there be?  Will it fall into the curse of never-ending sequels?

Take James Patterson’s Alex Cross for example. The series follows an African American Detective/Psychologist Alex Cross as he solves cases often involving unknown killers and very brutal murders. The entire series is huge! There are twenty published novels. The first two, Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls, were made into film adaptations starring Morgan Freeman and a more recent reboot starred Tyler Perry that (loosely) adapted the twelvth novel in the series, Cross.

Over the course of those twenty novels, Alex Cross has caught kidnappers, caught killers, dealt with issues at home with his family, briefly dated a few women, became engaged, had that engagement blow up, dated more women (he has a really bad track record with women), joined the FBI, solved his wife’s murder, became a psychiatrist full-time, rejoined the police department, finally got married in book 17, defeated not one but two arch-nemeses, and caught more kidnappers and killers.

And book 21 is supposedly coming out  November 25, 2013.

I don’t know about you, but I just have to say come on!  Where can you possible go from here? I admit I actually really enjoyed Alex Cross, Run, the latest novel in the series, but also really haven’t found myself that into one of the novels since the second book. All the others I have either said that was okay or gave it a mild really good.

This brings to mind the issue of when people just start milking a series. That’s also the problem with a lot of movies too.  At some point, it starts becoming less about the quality and more about just making a quick buck. It’s horrible because I understand the appeal of continuously making a lot of money, but still, I find anyone who chooses to start a series should know when to end it.  Quit while you are ahead.

Darren Shan’s Saga of Darren Shan was originally going to be have twenty-something installments, but luckily he had the good sense to just end it all at book twelve. Aspiring RB authors should keep Shan in mind.