Killing Off a Series by Paty Jager

book hangingI’ve been contemplating when to end my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series.

Book eight, Fatal Fall, released recently. Book nine is in the planning stages, and I feel I could get another five or six books out before the story/characters go stale.

However, I’ve already had people asking me when am I ending the series.  My comeback, “Why, are you tired of the characters?”  I’m not tired of writing about Shandra, Sheba, Ryan, Lil, and the cast of characters who live in Huckleberry and Weippe County. I do worry about the people who complain, you can’t kill anymore people off in that small area.

But really, this is fiction. Is it that hard for a reader to suspend belief that so many murders could happen in an area and with the same amateur sleuth being involved?

I have taken Shandra to the reservation a time or two and plan to have another story or two set there. She and Ryan are going to a police conference and an art show in two different books. Kind of like Jessica Fletcher moving to New York or going to book related events out of Cabot Cove. 😉

The other reason I am contemplating the demise of the series, is because I want to introduce the amateur sleuth for the next series in one of the Shandra books before the Higheagle series ends. But I want to wait until the last or next to last book.

And yes, it will be another Native American character. I am still working out the details of him, where he lives, what he does for a living, and how I can connect it to multiple murders without getting into the “too many deaths” in one small area.

How do you gauge when a series has run it’s course?  Have you read a series or two that went on too long? Do you think there is a magic number of when a series should end or is it best to leave it up to the story and characters?

I would love to hear readers and writers thoughts on these questions.

Books 1,2, & 3, Double Duplicity, Tarnished Remains, and Deadly Aim are out in audio book.

Here is the info on Fatal Fall:

Fatal Fall 5x8Book eight of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series

When the doctor is a no-show for her appointment, Shandra Higheagle becomes wrapped up in another murder. The death of the doctor’s elderly aunt has everyone questioning what happened and who’s to blame. Shandra’s dreams soon tell her she’s on the right path, but also suggests her best friend could be in grave danger.

Detective Ryan Greer knows not even an illness will keep Shandra from sneaking around, and he appreciates that. Her insight is invaluable. When she becomes embroiled deeper in the investigation, he stakes out the crime scene and waits for the murder to make a tell-all mistake.

But will he be able to act fast enough to keep Shandra or her friend from being the next victim?

Universal Link –

SH Mug Art (2)


7 thoughts on “Killing Off a Series by Paty Jager

  1. I might add that the hometowns of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are the most crime-ridden cities in the nation, although those characters manage to get out of town occasionally to find new crooks.

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  2. Paty, you have an excellent question about when to end a series. With the big publishers, many series end simply because not enough books were sold when the two- or three-book contract ran out! Too many cozy series go on forever with characters that never grow, mature or gain insights after umpteen books. I’m putting my Sandy Fairfax series on hold (never say never for another book) to try my hand at a new series and because, frankly, sales have been underwhelming. Why spend my time writing books that few readers want?

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    1. I agree with the why write books that don’t sell. That’s where I”m at with my historical westerns. I”m trying a new series, because the last one that I thought was a great series concept didn’t seem to resonate with readers. Good luck with your new series. I’ll be looking forward to reading about it here.

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  3. Nooooo! This is my favorite series! I really have never felt that a series goes on to long. I eagerly await each new book in a favorite series. I really like the fact that yours has the western, native theme it makes them stand out from other mysteries that are available. If a series has to end, I had rather it be by the author and not by a publisher and the series just ends like some that I followed that were Berkley books.

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    1. Jeannie, It is readers like you who keep me motivated to keep Shandra’s mysteries going. As well as the ideas I come up with. 😉 Thank you for voicing your concern and ideas about series.


  4. Amber, thanks for chiming in. I kind of feel the same about the way their lives grow and change that helps keep a series alive. Like I said, I have a few more books sketched out in the series and hopefully can tie in the next series towards the end.


  5. I would think the hardest series to keep going is one in which the amateur sleuth is solving murders. But you have Ryan, a detective, so it’s not purely a matter of an amateur getting involved in crime-solving. There is plenty of room to grow. I like your idea of a series that branches off from the current one and still has the element of Native culture. That way your readers would be eager to stay with you. I have never felt that a series I followed went on too long, but that may be because there are so many that I stopped reading for other reasons. I followed James D. Doss’s Charlie Moon series until the end, and I knew Doss ended it because his own life was ending. I’m still following the Navajo mysteries, 18 by Tony Hillerman and 3 by his daughter Anne, and the way the characters’ lives change over time keeps it real and engaging–as well as the plots and setting, of course.

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