On Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman and crime series

Read Streeter Patrick Lackey has a guest post today on whether it's wise to jump into the middle of a book series. I was thinking about the same issue, because I recently started "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," the third in Stieg Larsson's acclaimed crime trilogy. I haven't read his first two books, so I'm not sure how they relate to one another, but the opening chapters of TGWKtHN seem to include a whole lot of catching up. Sort of a print version of: "Last week on 24 ..." Here's Patrick's post:

I recently read my first Michael Connelly crime novel, "The Scarecrow." It made occasional reference to the killer in a previous Connelly novel, "The Poet." Having been immensely entertained by "The Scarecrow," I soon read "The Poet." It's also a terrific book, but the ending was partly ruined for me because I knew from reading "The Scarecrow" that "The Poet" couldn't possibly end in the way the author was leading the reader to believe. In short, by reading the books out of order, I killed some of the suspense in the second one read.

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The moral of my tale is that suspense writers' books should be approached in the order they were written. Also, suspense writers should understand that their books might not be read chronologically, so they shouldn't give away too much about previous books. The list of other novels by a writer should be in chronological order.

I discovered suspense writer Laura Lippman about four years ago and have since read all her books, not always in the order she wrote them. To my knowledge, she has never revealed anything in one book that lessened the suspense in a previous one. Actually, the more of her books you've read, in whatever order, the richer the one you are reading will seem.

Lippman proves that new books needn't kill the suspense in previous ones. When half the enjoyment of a book derives from its suspense, lessening that suspense is a crime.

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