Desperation In Death comes out shortly. As always, I enjoyed spending time ( a lot on this side of the page!) in that world, with the characters who inhabit it. And hope you will, too.
Whenever we announce a new In Death, there’s excitement and speculation. There’s also—inevitably—a continuing complaint from some readers.
It goes something like this:
The last book (or books) disappointed me/ wasn’t up to par because —name a favorite reoccurring character or characters —wasn’t in it/them or wasn’t in it/them enough.
It’s difficult to address or explain the reasons for this in a two sentence reply on Facebook, so I decided to address and explain here.
First: Trust me.
If you’re invested and attached to these characters, it’s because I created them. I know them—and yes, gentle reader, even better than you because they came from me.
It’s my job to write the best book I can. To do that, I have to respect and honor the story, and the people in it. It’s simply not possible to craft the best book I can if I try to shoehorn every character—even your personal favorites—into every single book in the series.
When a recurring characters shows up, it’s because it fits the story, the scene, the tone, the purpose. When they don’t show up, they didn’t fit.
It’s my job to craft the story.
Trust me to do my job.
If I wrote thinking: I have to squeeze Mavis into this, and Bella, and Louise and Charles, and Nadine, Feeney, and so on, the story would suffer for it. I’m not going to do that. Not ever.
Let me add an aside. I absolutely love writing scenes with Bella. I find her a joy, and find more joy in seeing Mavis’s evolution as a mom. But the books aren’t about Bella, Mavis and motherhood, or Eve’s often baffled reaction to both.
When they do come in, it’s for a purpose. To further the story, to lighten or darken the mood, to provide information, to interact in a way that makes sense in the storyline.
I’ll add in the In Death world very little time spans between stories—much, much less time than the six months span in which they’re published. How would it make sense for Lt. Eve Dallas to interact with all the recurring characters every few days when she’s pretty busy investigating murders? It just doesn’t.
Connected to the above complaint is: There wasn’t enough Roarke—which I firmly believe a good portion of readers expressing this actually mean: Not enough sex with Roarke. (Hard to blame you!)
But the same reasons apply. I’m not going to shoehorn sex scenes in either. They, like any scene, either flow into the story, for a purpose, or they don’t. Also, Roarke’s pretty busy running his empire, and while I have crafted ways—that make sense to me—to have him on the page, contributing to the investigation, even just as a sounding board—he and Eve have their separate careers and duties to them.
Roarke doesn’t work at Central, or in the field. He’s evolved into a consultant—officially—because it made sense, and opened a way to give him more page time, and added to his understanding of and respect for what Eve does.
There are books in the series where nearly everyone finds a way onto the page—for a purpose. And there are books where hardly anyone outside the main characters show up. Because they don’t fit in that storyline.
Trust me to know when they fit, when they don’t.
Since I’m devoting a blog to this, let me address a couple more questions/hopes.
I have no idea—none at this time—if/when Baxter will enter into a serious relationship. I have no idea—none at this time—if/when Morris will find another love. The purpose of the series is clear in the name. In Death. It’s about a cop investigating murder. Each time, every time. That comes first. The primary purpose is not to hook up every character in a romantic relationship.
The secondary purpose is, absolutely, the connections—emotional connections, the evolution of long-standing characters, and/or the introduction of new ones. But the purpose is not romantic relationships for all. And for me, and I do know them, many of the characters are perfectly content with their lives as they stand.
I had no thought to write Nadine into a serious relationship. Until Apprentice In Death. It flowed out—from the scene where Jake first appeared because it fit, it made sense, and Jake’s character worked. The chemistry worked, a nice surprise for me.
The same thing may happen for one of the other characters in an upcoming book—as yet unwritten—or it may not. Ever.
And yes, Mavis is still pregnant, and will be for several more books. That’s how the timeline of the series works, it’s the way I structured it a couple decades ago. Decades for you and me, about three years for the characters in that world.
Some people may just be tired of the series, find themselves burnt out on it. That happens, and it’s okay. Some cycle through disappointment in a book or a couple in a row because they didn’t get to see their favorite(s) play a part.
I can only say to that: Trust me. They’ll be back when they have something to add to the story.
Again, I hope you enjoy Desperation In Death. And can happily tell you, Mavis, Leonardo and Bella all appear in this one. Because they fit.