Oline Cogdill


Long-running series will, naturally, have a slew of characters who come in and out of the novels. Some will be in for the long haul; others will be in only one or two books before vanishing.

It's hard to remember everyone.

Take the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Haven't you always wanted a guide to every character (human and nonhuman), and term used in the books?

Maybe a Sookie Stackhouse family tree? A sort of Sookie encyclopedia? Or maybe a map of Bon Temps.

Although the Sookie novels could never be confused with culinary mysteries, Harris does feature a lot of delicious sounding dishes in her books.

And for true fans of Sookie, and the Showtime series True Blood, there is nothing like trivia to pique your interest.

All that, and more, are in the fan-friendly The Sookie Stackhouse Companion. Harris has even written a novella "Small Town Wedding" featuring Sookie, Sam and Quinn.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, edited by Harris, gives readers a closer look at the novels and the characters. Alan Ball, creator of the Showtime series, talks about True Blood; Harris answers just about every question in an interview pulled from fan questions. And the Companion is as delightful to read as is Harris' series.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion recently was nominated for an Agatha Award. Harris will be the guest of honor during Sleuthfest, March 1-4, 2012, in Orlando. (Yes, it's still time to register).

In the Sookie Stackhouse series, Harris created a new mythology of vampires -- funny, sexy, living side by side with humans.

Look behind the supernatural and you will see a story about survivors, characters who can withstand a lot and yet still soldier on.

Certainly this is true of Sookie, the telepathic Louisiana barmaid who runs with vampires, werewolves and assorted creatures.

Sookie made her debut in 2001’s Dead Until Dark. Since then, mystery ficton hasn't been the same.

A guide about a long-running series makes sense and seems to be a mini-trend.

Mcfarland & Co Inc. has several literary companions, including ones on Dick Francis and Scottish politician, statesman and thriller writer John Buchan. The latest is Ed McBain/Evan Hunter: A Literary Companion edited by Elizabeth Foxwell, a short story writer and editor of eight anthologies. Foxwell also is Mystery Scene consulting editor, and a cofounder of the Malice Domestic Convention

Evan Hunter published more than 120 novels under a variety of pseudonymns as well as teleplays and screenplays, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, and the 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle. As Ed McBain, he wrote the long-running series about the detectives of the 87th Precinct.

The Ed McBain/Evan Hunter guide details the author's works, characters, and recurring themes.

The Complete Patricia Cornwell Companion contains book-by-book synopses, character portraits, a profile of the author, and more.

Several guides are available for Da Vinci Code fans, including the The Unauthorized Dan Brown Companion.