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Happiness is finding a Great Series to Read

I am a voracious fiction reader and particular joyous moments in my reading life is when I find that great series. The experience of enjoying a good engaging story, with characters that grab you from the beginning and then to know that you can meet them again in another book is a particular delight that readers know. I am definitely not alone in this joy as some great series have been made into television series (Wallander), movies (Harry Potter) and translated into many languages as the story and characters take hold of our imaginations and do not let go. And the best part of a series is knowing you have another great book that you can read and stay in the world created by the author that bit longer.

Recently I have found some series from authors that were not well known to me and I thought would be worth sharing. These are adventure / thrillers in the vein of Ian Rankin, a bleak John Le Carre, and are not your typical crime novels. Dark noir is what I love to read and these have that darkness, are complicated mysteries with family connections, and a slow reveal of the characters.

The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May features police detective Finn Macleod who is sent to the Isle of Lewis, where he grew up, to investigate a brutal murder. Lots of back story, bad weather, old secrets and complicated relationships, with a real hint of danger. What’s not to love! All three novels were good reads and for me the second and the third novels just got better and better. Definitely kept me up at night to read just that extra chapter. The final confrontation had really bad weather and life threatening danger — of course! Dark, emotionally draining, with characters facing up to poor past choices and hidden violent presents. Recommended reads.

The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French is, according to Bookriot, the perfect binge read. And I certainly did binge read it! Each book brings a member of the Dublin Murder Squad to the fore and we get to see the hidden, human and unlikable parts of them all. Challenging situations, confronting crimes and with ethical questions about undercover police work, brutal choices and family complications these are totally unputdownable. Very dark, creepy and with endings that are challenging to say the least, all the novels I found great to read with the writing a pleasure to indulge in. They can be read out of order as each is a novel in its own right. But if you can read them in order then I would though I see that this reviewer is recommending a quite different order. And remember, some of these characters are of the in your face kind. Another recommended binge read.

Slough House series by Mike Herron is the spy series to read if you love John Le Carre. Darker, bleaker Mike Herron brings together a bunch of British misfit spies who have screwed up in some way and are exiled to Slough House, as you definitely cannot fire a public servant and a spy. Wickedly, cuttingly funny these five novels are totally worth locking yourself away and reading. Jackson Lamb is their leader, with no leadership qualities worth noting, except he will not let anyone else mess with the heads of his disparate, bitter, emotionally damaged team. I know it sounds terrible but you must read it! You get hooked immediately even though you really do not like anyone, except maybe River Cartwright. Because he does try very hard and he is nice to his grandfather. And the story is made up of many different strands that come together at the end in very surprising ways, and yes, Jackson Lamb is very, very clever while being very, very unlikable. And here is one review which agrees with me so my description should not put you off. The writing is crisp and wonderful too. You really will enjoy them.

The Belltree Trilogy by Barry Maitland is a great Australian series featuring Harry Belltree, a Sydney homicide detective. Obsessing on his parents’ death in an accident that also blinded his wife, Harry gets involved with violent bikers, corrupt politics, and follows a twisted path to get to a truth that endangers all around him. I listened to all three novels as audio books and found myself enjoying the gravelly Australian voice of actor Peter Hosking on my daily commute as he and I immersed ourselves in the darkside of Sydney crime. Again the second two of the trilogy were the best out of the three with the final violent confrontation and final truth stunning in its simplicity. Greed, lust, power and corruption all feature here. Totally recommended read, not least because they are deeply Australian in nature, language and story.

Happy reading!

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Librarian, interested in libraries, digital disruption, startups, Australian politics

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