Sometimes you stumble upon a series so good you wish the author would keep adding to it forever. These five series have high un-put-down-able potential: with interesting settings, compelling characters, and plots that keep you turning the pages, the author leaves you dying to find out what happens next—over and over and over again.
I'm recommending this second installment in French's Dublin Murder Squad series because it stands just fine on its own, and her popular first novel In the Woods, while no doubt riveting, gives me the heebie jeebies. This police procedural revolves around detective Cassie Maddox, who takes on a downright creepy undercover assignment to solve a perfect crime. She’s a pro who knows how to keep her distance, but this time she lets herself get in too deep. This psychological thriller has great characters, F-bombs galore, and kept me glued to the couch for two days. While the series needn't be read in order, or completely, if you hurry you'll have time to catch up before book #6, The Trespasser, hits shelves on October 4. More info →
In this murder mystery, British detective Cormoran Strike and his trusty sidekick Robin Ellacott investigate a supermodel's suspicious suicide. I found the plot compellingly twisty, the characters interesting, the rapport between the two investigators my favorite part. For Harry Potter fans, there's good news and bad news: Rowling (under the pseudonym Galbraith) still has the touch, but there is nothing to remind you of Harry in these stories. The third (and grizzliest) book Career of Evil, published October 20, 2015, ended on a massive cliffhanger, and readers are impatiently awaiting book 4, which Rowling promises will begin right where she left us hanging. First-rate murder mysteries; highly recommended for Louise Penny fans. More info →
This is the first installment of Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, which will hit 12 books when her much anticipated A Great Reckoning hits shelves August 30. These mysteries are unlike anything I'd ever read: the whodunit plot lines are just an excuse to explore human nature, granting them a depth and psychological astuteness I never expected from this genre. (Note: if I thought Three Pines was a real place, I'd move there in a heartbeat. Imagine the cozy feel and quirky characters of Stars Hollow, with fewer teenagers, more murder, and a smidge less levity.) You don't have to read these novels in order, but I recommend it: you'll miss the richness of her plot lines and characters if you jump in midstream. Recommended reading for Deborah Crombie fans. More info →
If you're all caught up on Penny and Galbraith novels, try this engaging series of Scotland Yard police procedurals. This first installment reminds me of Dorothy Sayers: detective Duncan Kincaid happens to be vacationing at his posh cousin's time share when a body is found in the resort pool. The local detective rules suicide, but Kincaid is certain there's more to the story. As the series progresses, the police work is only half the content: in addition to their cases, Crombie devotes considerable ink to her detectives' personal dramas and romantic entanglements. Get caught up this summer so you're ready for book #17 Garden of Lamentations, though its release date has (sniff) been pushed back to February 17, 2016. Highly recommended for mystery-loving Anglophiles. More info →
Each book in the YA fantasy series The Lunar Chronicles puts a new spin on an old fairy tale. In this first installment, Cinderella becomes a kickass mechanic, despised by her mother and stepsisters because she’s a cyborg. Admittedly, it sounds cheesy—and that, combined with the terrible cover, kept me from reading these for years. I'm so glad I finally took the recommendation of a wide range of readers and gave these a try. The series' satisfying fifth and final installment Winter came out last November, and the related short story collection Stars Above was published in February. This is the gentlest series in this category by far; I wouldn't hesitate to hand these off to older tweens. More info →