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Is it really necessary to read a series in order?

The RetroReview

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I am currently writing the third book in my DCI Dani Bevan series of detective novels. Before penning this latest instalment I’d just completed the sixth novel of my Imogen and Hugh Croft Mystery books. As I was tapping away on my laptop this afternoon, I spent a little while considering how the tone of a book can vary greatly from one story to the next. Even if the characters remain the same, their circumstances change and hopefully, they learn some lessons from each new case they solve. But things change for the author too. I tend to find that if I’ve just completed a very action packed novel, my next will be more contemplative, perhaps focussing on the personal lives of the protagonists to a greater degree.
Does this mean it is essential to follow a series religiously from start to finish? Actually, I don’t think so. Each book…

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