I may write a more in depth review about her books later, but this is for now about the author herself.
She has a magnificent series called Mistress of the Art of Death set during Henry II time. Four books so far… and that’s all we’re going to get since she passed away in January 2011 at the age of 77.
Now, I’m very sad that she passed away; I really enjoyed her books, setting, and characters. What I do not enjoy, was the fact that she caved to the lure of cliffhanger endings, where on the last page of book 4, a character gets shot in the leg and is bleeding profusely… and we don’t know what happens to said character.
And now we will never know.
Look, I know cliffhanger endings are fun for the writer and all, ’cause what better way to get readers back than to put a really big “OMG WHAT NEXT” ending? And, haha, boy it’s fun to imagine their frustration as they get to that last part. But then life/shit happens, and now the readers are stuck never knowing if they ever get off the island, or what happened when they got sucked into a black hole, or if some major character died.
It’s a little different if you have a finite plan of where this series is going. Like GRRM. He has seven books planned, and that’s it. It’s one big epic story. If he dies (about which many people are extremely paranoid, with good reason), yeah… that would really suck, but in a different way. It would be unavoidable (except the man could write faster. Just sayin’…).
With mystery series, there’s not really an overarching plan. Each book is self contained. There’s a mystery. It gets solved. Maybe some slight character development, usually some romantic drama. But it’s slight, and not a big deal.
When you have one of your main characters shot and dying, and then end the book, that’s KIND OF a BIG DEAL. It is immensely frustrating. It often ruins whole books for some people. Just wrap up the story and end it. If you want to put a teaser in, then that’s a little different, which is how Franklin’s book 3 ended. I don’t know why she suddenly decided to go whole hog with a cliffhanger ending.
Anyway, that’s my two cents on cliffhanger endings. RIP Ms. Franklin. You and the prickly, yet loveable Adelia will be sorely missed.