Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Debate

In Sickness and In Death, the third installment of the Broken Vows mystery series, releases September 2011.

Here’s the cover blurb:

“Jolene Parker isn't sure what to think when her police deputy husband, Ray, unexpectedly brings home a new foster child. The impulsive son of a jailed car thief, twelve-year-old Danny has talents that include picking locks and hotwiring cars.

Following Danny's brief joyride in the car that he says is his dad's, a horrific surprise turns up in the trunk: a woman's arm. While Ray hunts down the victim's identity, Jolene tries to determine whether Danny's father did the deed. And it drives her straight into the killer's sights.”

The Broken Vows mysteries have an underlying story arc involving family relations that hangs in the balance from book to book. Those of you who read the first book in the series know it had a happy ending for the protagonist. Book two, not so much. I debated with book three. It could have easily gone either way and the mystery would not have lost any of its punch. I had a perfect moment and a perfect line for a happy or a bittersweet ending.

I debated whether readers who now have a vested interest in the family saga would tolerate two unhappy endings in a row. Is that too much of a downer? Are most readers like me, preferring the “happily ever after” ending? Of course if they are like me, they write that ending in their own heads and wait to see if that’s what occurs in the next book.

So, when you’re vested in a character and a series, do you prefer a happy ending or doesn’t it matter? Does your answer depend on whether the series is more of a cozy or not? Whether it’s the last book in the series or not?

(Psst…In Sickness and In Death is available for pre-order. Pass the word, please.)


Dru said...

I love the cover.

I've read the first two books in this series and Jolene needs to be happy.

I like a satisfactory endings or at least the promise of one.

Darrell James said...

I'm with Dru on this one. I can take a down ending only if it promises some good will come of it.

Beth Groundwater said...

I prefer happy endings, but what I most require is an ending that's logical and follows from the prior events in the book. In other words, an ending that makes sense.

Kathleen Ernst said...

I do respect authors who are willing to take chances with things like that. With a series, I'm fine with so-so or not-so-much endings, because I'm in it for the long haul. And I love series that have a family/personal arc that stretches over more than one book, even though the mystery itself is completed.

I like Dru's comment about : "at least the promise" of a happy ending. We come to care about a protagonist, and want to believe in at least the possibility of a positive outcome.

I look forward to seeing which way you go!

Alan Orloff said...

I suppose I prefer a happy ending, but I agree with Beth. As long as it makes sense, I can deal with it. It's those crazy deux et machina endings that drive me nuts.

Alice Loweecey said...

I agree with Dru as well, but I can also deal with a less-than-happy if it makes sense for the characters. Alan, deus ex machinas bother me, but not as much as post-modern "endings" that resolve nothing and leave more questions. When that happens: Book, meet wall.

David said...

happy ending of course, though a fair ending will keep your readers wanting for more, then it would apply for series only, happy ending will always be satisfying..

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