Shannon Stacey

Does this book stand alone?

It’s a question I see asked quite frequently of an author who’s releasing a book that’s part of a series. “Does this book stand alone?”

The funny thing about that is the author is probably the worst possible person to ask that question of. I’m going to go ahead and use myself as an example because No Surrender (releasing August 11th, just so you don’t forget *g*) is the third book in the Devlin Group series.

I can’t tell you if NO SURRENDER stands alone. I think it does. I tried. But my immersion in the series is so complete it’s fairly impossible for me to separate the third book from the other two.

My editor might be a better judge but, because she’s very thorough, her familiarity’s going to be almost as complete as mine. Probably the first unbiased judge of standing alone is the final line editor. I remember two distinct references to something that occured in the first two books, and she questioned one from 72 Hours.

I think the change I made was subtle: changing “thing” to “mission” or something like that. It didn’t expound on the situation from the first book other than to make it more clear it was a previous job because one of my personal pet peeves reading series is dialogue expounding in great detail on an event both characters were present for. And, as a reader, I know if I jump in on a series, there are going to be references to previous books I might not get if I haven’t read them.

There’s also investment in the characters. Carmen plays a small role in 72 Hours and she’s only mentioned in On the Edge, but Gallagher plays a big role in both so you get to know him a little better if you’ve followed along.

That being said, I think NO SURRENDER stands alone pretty well. But I also think you might enjoy it more if you’ve read the first two books in the series, honestly. (So you should go buy them right now.) (See, another reason the author’s not the best person to ask.)

I’m also a bad person to ask in general because I can’t jump into a series. I can’t tell you how many books I have lying around waiting for me to hunt down the backlist titles in the series. How about you? Do you jump into a series if a book releasing grabs your interest or do you have to read a series in order?

2 comments to “Does this book stand alone?”

  1. Donna
      · July 13th, 2009 at 10:14 am · Link

    …one of my personal pet peeves reading series is dialogue expounding in great detail on an event both characters were present for.

    :gaah: Personally, this makes me want to spit nails too. I can’t effin’ STAND IT. As a writer, I understand the need for exposition sometimes. As a reader, nothing reminds me more efficiently that I’m reading an exchange between two characters instead of a real conversation.

    To me, it all depends on whether it’s a loose series with the same characters but no intertwining plot, or if it’s the progression of an overall arc. I’m pretty easy about loose series.

  2. Michelle (MG) Braden
      · July 13th, 2009 at 3:11 pm · Link

    While I can’t comment on No Surrender (yet, but I will), I thought the other two definitely stood alone. If No Surrender is like the others, I’m sure it will too. I can’t wait, I cant’ wait! :woot:

    I have to read series from the beginning. That being said, if I’m given a book and start to read it (possibly unknowing that it is a series), if I like it well enough I will go back and get the previous books.

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!