I met a woman in Raleigh, North Carolina who was outraged - Outraged! - that "some
guy" was going to continue The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series created by the
late Steig Larsson (the guy's named David Lagercrantz, by the way). Clearly, she
wanted me to be outraged, too, and since there was free Bourbon involved I tried
to go along, but my heart wasn't in it.
Truth is, I didn't care and I haven't cared since I learned at a tender age
that the Hardy Boys had dozens of fathers, all going by the name Franklin W.
Dixon - and that Nancy Drew had many mothers (and a few fathers) that called themselves
When I was a kid reporter for the Albert Lea Evening Tribune in southern
Minnesota I met a guy who worked on the Nick Carter - Spymaster series. Except,
he never actually wrote an entire book. Instead, he told me that he and a couple
of other writers would be assigned chapters according to their particular skills:
one guy did the sex scenes, another the action scenes, and so on, each following
an outline that they received - and these chapters were later reconciled by an
editor. He didn't even read the books; just his chapters.
These days, at least, no one is trying to fool anyone. When he finished Poodle
Springs back in the day, the cover read "by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker."
Granted, things might be getting a tad out of hand. Kyle Mills is continuing
the Mitch Rapp series started by Vince Flynn; Raymond Benson, among others, has
written James Bond novels; both Ace Atkins and Reed Farrel Coleman are channeling
Parker for the Spencer and Jesse Stone books respectively, Eric Van Lustbader and
now Jamie Freveletti have taken on Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne and even Adrian
Conan Doyle tried his hand at writing his old man's Sherlock Holmes stories -
My answer to all this - despite my left-leaning Independent politics - let the
free market decide. If I may paraphrase the late great Yogi Berra: "If people
don't want to read the books, you can't stop them."
e-mail David Housewright