Saturday, February 7, 2009

They're Back?

So by now you may have heard that some crime fighting favorites are returning soon. Despite his previous insistence otherwise, Dennis Lehane has revealed that he is writing a new Patrick Kenzie novel. And at the end of March Harlan Coben is releasing his new novel that brings back Myron Bolitar.

I know many people have loved these series (and I count myself among those folks) and they have clamored for their returns; however, I can't help but wonder if there will be some negative fall out. Here's why I wonder this: both Lehane and Coben are different writers now. They are both extremely wonderful writers and I'm sure that whatever they produce will be good, but will it be what people are expecting?

With someone like Robert Crais or Michael Connelly who have written the same character very consistently over the years, you've watched the character change and evolve with the writer. Elvis in CHASING DARKNESS is not the same Elvis from THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT. If you read those two books back to back, you definitely see that difference. But if you read the series, you see MONKEY'S Elvis become DARKNESS Elvis. And that is part of the beauty of those kinds of characters.

Dennis Lehane, himself, has admitted that he's a different writer now. Anyone who's read one of his early Patrick Kenzie novels and something like MYSTIC RIVER, SHUTTER ISLAND, or THE GIVEN DAY can see that. And when I listen to people who "really want" a new Patrick Kenzie novel, I wonder if they'll actually want the Patrick Kenzie that comes from today's Dennis Lehane or are they actually clamoring for the past?


Corey Wilde February 7, 2009 at 9:36 AM  

Good question, Jen. My recent experience with Thomas Perry bringing back his Jane Whitefield character tells me that a good writer who understands his character, who also manages to have the character 'grow' over the missing years without losing the original voice of the character, can succeed at resuscitating a series. I think Lehane can do it, and probably do it so well we'll all praise him for the time off from the series. Coben -- I have my doubts, but then I'm not a fan.

Kay February 7, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

You raise some interesting thoughts, Jen. I love Myron Bolitar, but I, too, wonder how he will come out. I love reading series because of the character development and that is also why I really try to read them in order. Things change. Sidekicks change. Sleuths develope and grow. I like that. I'll be looking forward to another visit with Myron, regardless of how he has changed since we last met.

Oh, and the question you posed yesterday about reading in public. Count me in as one of those people. In fact, I'm shopping for new purse today because the one I've been carrying is not big enough for a paperback. I've missed it!

Jen February 7, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

You go, Kay! Big enough to carry a book is a prereq for my purse choices, too! :) The new Myron Bolitar comes out on my birthday!!! Think Harlan did that just for me?

Corey, I totally agree with you - I think Lehane is a brilliant writer and could do just about anything when it comes to writing, and I'm looking forward to whatever he releases - unless maybe if he started doing graphic novels...but that's neither here nor there. I don't know about praising him for the time away, though. I've heard so many folks talking about how they didn't like Mystic River or Shutter Island or both. I can't fathom that, but that's just my opinion - which really doesn't count for anything! LOL

Sam Sattler February 7, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

Those are great points, Jen.

I'm one who has been hoping for Lehane to go back to that first series but I do wonder a bit whether or not I might be setting myself up for a huge disappointment.

Not only is Lehane not the same writer he was, I am not the same reader...

Terri February 26, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

I have missed Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie specifically but missed Lehane's books generally. I did like Mystic River but didn't like Shutter Island and really enjoyed The Given Day. I am looking forward to Kenzie's reappearance and what Lehane does with the character(s).

Just discovered your blog--really like it!

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