Serials are back, not that they’d ever gone far, but their popularity has certainly ratcheted with the advent of Kindle Unlimited which features low-priced short stories, novellas and novelettes (aka, low word count).
I was on the fence for a long time. Not many can pull off a proper short story—you know the kind, complete with beginning, middle and end. A microcosm of perfection that stays with you a long time because it’s possible to recall each and every nuance, to savor those tasty bits that were shorn of fat and tenderized to succulent perfection (I like to cook, shoot me).
Be that as it may, when it comes to serialized fiction, too many of the jump-on-the-bandwagon hipster authors rely on teasers and cliffhangers to suck you into a narrative flow that may or may not make sense, but you keep going because you think the pot of gold is just around the corner. By the time you realize you might be wasting time and money, you’re already invested. At that point it’s a guilty pleasure. Modestly satisfying, like most junk food, but it doesn’t last.
Reading, like junk food, can be addicting. Even the marginal stuff. And if you are with the KU program, you can indulge endlessly for a mere ten bucks a month.
That’s what got me hooked. KU, Amazon… I blame you.
I will admit to having my passions fully engaged now. And there are three authors of merit, currently writing serialized/episodic fiction, you might want to consider slavishly following.
Caution: these are all in the homoerotic lit category so if that’s not your thing… nothing to see here, move along.
Favorite #1 is Brandon Shire. He has a body of work that elevates prose with its audacity and style, that leaves you breathless and enraptured. Recently, Mr. Shire debuted The Love of Wicked Men, a serialized expose that “…is an erotic journey into the underbelly of the legal profession, the corporate culture of profit-at-any-cost, and the secret world of industrial espionage.”
I’m reviewing each of the episodes on GGR-Reviews: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four.
Were I a procurer of content for cable TV, I’d be all over this. So should you.
Favorite #2 just entered the fray last night, Aleksandr Voinov—a new author to me. I picked up Dark Soul (Vol 1) as a freebie. This one dives headfirst into the dark underbelly of the mafioso with sensual prose, powerful writing, and scenes that quite literally blew me away with the tension—that skin-tingling promise and execution of violence. This ain’t your Quentin Tarantino sledgehammer approach. Dark Soul bristles with the kind of restraint that delivers and fulfills your darkest desires.
What I especially like about Dark Soul (Vol 1) is that in the unlikely event I don’t continue (impossible!) this episode has a standalone quality—a surprising completeness to the story and character arcs that speaks to a quality of execution I’ve rarely found anywhere else.
There are at least three additional titles encompassing 3 episodes each (I love Amazon’s one-click).
Favorite #3 is Kol Anderson and his Broken Series which is now into Season 2. The writing style is raw, perhaps even uncultured, yet it is at times mesmerizing, with characters who repel and attract in equal measure. Good and evil vie for center stage, happy endings are only for those with delicate sensibilities, and there’s more to torture than meets the eye.
Mr. Anderson also has a standalone, Control, I recently read. This is a chilling look at the downward slide of hero worship by a pain slut into the ethos of a serial killer mentality. It is at once distant, intense and unapologetic.
So there you have it. If y’all have suggestions for other authors, other serials worthy of my strangling wallet, leave a comment.