Endings


With the release of a new book, I always think about endings that have come before it.  How were they received?

I now have 3 books with… unsatisfactory endings.  I know it.  My readers know it.  They tell me about it, sort of.  I know that everyone’s least favorite book in the Dreams & Reality novels is Mercurial Dreams.  I know the second least favorite is Butchered Dreams.  Those two endings get mentioned to me.

In my defense, it would get old if Aislinn Cain killed every serial killer at the end of the book.  By book seven, as a reader, you’d be saying “Well, I know how it ends, she kills him.”  However, I knew when I wrote those endings that the readers would feel… disappointed.  I know because I felt disappointed.  Aislinn Cain felt disappointed.

But that’s what the reader is supposed to feel.  They are supposed to be as miserable as Aislinn when the book ends. They are supposed to be as pissed off as Aislinn with those finales.  Since they are, I feel I’m doing something right.

As I have finished with Summoned Dreams (another unexpected ending that has left the readers screaming BRING ON #8), I know that number 8, which is in the very early stages of progress (stupid Percocet), I know that the ending will have to be satisfying, gratifying, and make Aislinn feel like she accomplished something… so that the readers will feel it too.  No spoilers on the ending of Summoned if you please… Just know that there is a #8.

The ending of Explosive is not gratifying in the way that Elysium or Cannibal was… It was satisfying, but the victory belonged to Gabriel and Malachi, my leading men.  This lessened the disappointment for the readers, but not for Aislinn.

However, not every real serial killer goes out in a haze of bullets.  One was brought down when he couldn’t restrain a victim.  One was pulled over in a routine traffic stop and gave up the ghost, so to speak.  Yet another, really did accidentally kill himself with one of his torture devices when he stepped on the wrong spot.

Part of what makes this series a success, is it’s realism.  I’m not being narcissistic or arrogant here.  I see the sales climb every month (currently in the UK, thank you across the pond… I appreciate the support).  Tortured will never make the NYTimes best seller list, but it isn’t a flop either.  Well, Tortured might be a flop, but Elysium makes up for it, if you can convince yourself to buy the second in the series.

Uh, where was I?  Oh yeah, realism.  My greatest strength as a writer has been the creation of characters.  My serial killers can’t be the exception to the rule.  A reader should be able to read them and go “whoa, that’s terrifying, he could be my neighbor.”  Some go on for years as suspects without evidence to convict.  Some go unidentified for decades.  Some put a body in the trunk and then run a stoplight and get pulled over and arrested when the cop finds the dead body in the trunk.  Some get caught just because they lack the ingenuity to actually get away with it for very long.

So, as you continue to read the series, don’t be too disheartened by the “disappointing endings.”  Other endings will be contain hails of bullets; macho bullshit fights that include Aislinn or some other member of her deadly team (one is already planned in which a beloved member of the team takes out the killer and then makes a joke about Ace being a bad influence); and at least one includes saving the victim, something that Aislinn will take very personally.

As for her baggage, which she refuses to deal with… It will get dealt with, in Aislinn fashion… in book 8.  🙂  Good luck deciphering what that means.

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t need Aislinn to kill the serial killer in every book – for me the fact that Aislinn survives to live another day with everything that can and does go wrong as they apprehend so many killers is what’s important and having had the opportunity to beta read Summond Dreams – all I will say is that there are plenty of scenes in the book where Aislinn gets to “one up” someone in a very satisfactory way…..lol

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