Twenty years later.

December 20, 2006

In 1987, Sue Grafton started her “alphabetical mystery novel” series…A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar…and so on, and she has now come to the letter S. I purchased S is for Silence (the 19th book in the series; I’ve read them all) with not a little anticipation.  Nineteen books, one book a year=twenty years.

I feel I know the main character, Kinsey Millhone. I have a picture in my head of what she looks like, and I can hear her voice when I read these books.  When I spied S is for Silence in paperback at Costco, I was game.

So it was with surprise that I did not enjoy this book. What happened? Same character, basically same style.  What’s happened is that it’s twenty years later, and I’ve changed so much in those twenty years that I no longer really like this kind of writing.  The series was great when I was younger, but it is too simplistic and trite to work for me now.  What was once comfortable has become, well, too comfortable.  Yawn.

I realized this with a bit of regret.  I like being devoted to a particular author and series.  But…if the author, the author’s writing, and/or the series don’t evolve with you…if the characters don’t “grow up” as you mature, it becomes stale.

Note to my writing self: real people change, fictitious people need to change, too.

My recommendation: read it if you’re a long-time Grafton fan.  Otherwise, take a pass.

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