Sequels read in June

I started to blog about books I’d read this month that I couldn’t recommend, but partway through it occured to me that all of these books were sequels, and in each case I was saying “Really, you should start back here…” So these are books I read this month that I don’t recommend for a wide readership, generally because you should start earlier in the series.

Making money by Terry Pratchett:  Now, Terry Pratchett’s a genius, and his books are exceptionally funny fantasy-comedies. In this case, though, I think you should read the excellent Going postal first.  This book’s effectively a sequel, and although the story (sort of) stands alone, it is far stronger if you’ve read the previous one.

The two books, and a rumoured third, are about a conman called Moist, who is sentenced to death. He finds, to his great surprise, that the despotic ruler of his city has other plans for him. He is given a choice: to return to the gallows and die properly this time, or use his skills at flummery, obfuscation and the earning of undeserved trust to rebuild the postal service and, in the new book, the city’s bank and mint.

Mr Monk and the two assistants by Lee Goldberg: This is based on the Monk TV series (DVDs of the first 5 seasons are available from the GC Library Service).  The author tries to mend the hole in the series’s continuity when Bitty Schramm, the actress playing Adrian Monk’s assistant Sharona, suddenly left the show. The next episode her character had remarried her ex-husband and moved away, and Monk had a new assistant, Natalie. The book is clever in places, finding in-story reasons for compromises made to due real-world factors (for example, why are both the assistants single mothers with children the same age?).

It’s a worthwhile read if, like me you are a fan fo the television series and have some sort of emotional investment in the characters. As a puzzle, it is weak. Part of the plot involves a novelist being called in to help solve a murder. Possibly this made it weaker, for me, because I’m also a fan of a new TV series called Castle, which treads some of the same space. Also, I often dislike books where authors write about authors doing unlikely things…like, say Stephen King who does this a lot. So, I might have a personal peeve there.

Also read: Last Watch: which is brilliant. Kerry1 has posted about the series here.